As you've likely already heard — or seen — Jeffree Star has weighed in on the Tarte Shape Tape controversy. Some have observed that there are problems with Star claiming to "start the conversation" about diversity and inclusion in beauty, as people of color have been having that conversation for years. Others have said that Star's newfound wokeness doesn't seem to apply to the other diversity-deficient foundation lines he promotes on his channel, or to the brands —like Benefit, which does not make deep complexion products — that he partners with.
Those are all important things to note, and as a public figure, Star should be prepared to accept and address that criticism.
But there's something else going on in his review, which is that he seems to use it as a platform to take shots at former friend Nikkie Tutorials.
After spending six minutes telling Tarte to do better with its shade range (which it should!), Star then starts to talk about Nikkie's now-deleted Shape Tape review.
Quoted verbatim from his video:
"Another thing that was a little controversial the last two days is that beauty YouTuber NikkieTutorials deleted her entire Shape Tape review! And I was like, whoah, what is going on? After digging in, I found out that she deleted the video because people were really going in in the comments [...] But I think that it IS important that, when you have a huge platform like Nikkie with over 8 million subscribers, [...] you do have a choice to really talk about something and bring it full forward."
"Yes, girl, [Tarte] may have had your shade, but half your audience? Didn't have their shade. So me? I know I don't have as many subscribers as her, but I would like to be one of the people to go on record and start the conversation, which the conversation's already started, the whole internet is uproared, angry, and upset. And I just think that people with a bigger audience should speak up about it."
Jeffree then pulled up Nikkie's apology tweet, and continued to talk about why her response wasn't enough.
Nikkie's tweet, which she sent after deleting her Shape Tape review, said "I am putting my Shape Tape video offline. Thank you for showing me the importance of showcasing my voice.. The Tarte shade range is an absolute mess and I should have spoken up about it more than I did."
Star continued to go in on Nikkie.
"My problem with that is that, you've been on YouTube eight years. You know you have a voice, girl. You live your life online, you saw the shade range, you didn't really acknowledge it. So here I am, I would LOVE to acknowledge it, and start the motherfucking conversation."
The criticism he's leveled at Nikkie is valid. Online personalities with big audiences should definitely be mindful OF those audiences, and use their public platforms to do good.
Unfortunately, Star's feedback seems to be aimed at Nikkie IN PARTICULAR, not at the (many!) other beauty YouTubers who reviewed the Shape Tape foundation, often without sufficient comment on the limited shade range.
This itself is also a problem, because it's shifting the focus of the video from the massive issue of racism in the beauty industry BACK to Jeffree's fight with Nikkie. If Star wants to use his sizable public platform to talk about a issues of discrimination, perhaps he shouldn't use it as an opportunity to dunk on his former friend. It lessens the impact of the important statement Star seems to be trying to make.
Jeffree then went on Snapchat and his public Instagram Story to talk even more about Nikkie.
"If you are a beauty guru and you are speaking up about the Tarte foundation controversy, props to you," he said. "If you want to disregard it because you got a foundation in a PR package, that's not cool [...] The moral of the story is that brands need to put out more shades."
He continued to say "Just because it's coming from me, people want to make it a thing. Bitch, I am using my platform to talk about a very important subject. I went full on and I discussed it [...] I do want to go on record and say that I have no beef, drama, or ill-will towards Nikkie. I have not even seen her since last April. No, we are not friends. No, we have not spoken. But there is no drama, hate, nothing. I don't care. I was talking about she handled the situation."
"Girl, it's not drama," he concluded. "It's called talking about a subject. When there's drama, baby — you'll know it."
Someone could look at a situation like this, where a prominent internet personality spends a lot of time calling out ANOTHER prominent internet personality and conclude that this is, indeed, drama.
But who knows?
Here is Jeffree's full review with all the comments about Nikkie, if it's the sort of thing you'd like to watch.
If not, here's Jackie Aina and Alissa Ashley's EXTREMELY excellent video on the Shape Tape foundation failure.
Here's to hoping that all of these voices lead to ALL beauty brands looking at how they include — or exclude — people of color from their product lineups.
Because it's NOT just about makeup. And it's about time big beauty brands realize that.