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Beauty Influencers Gatekeeping from Celeb Icons

The beauty industry has always been a place where many can find happiness in their passion for skincare and makeup, focusing on making one feel good on the inside and out. Yet, what is often ignored is the complex and very often problematic influencers that get caught up in new scandals. Usually leading to a clearing of their name by a simple twitter apology they made in their notes app. The issue that came about between James Charles, Manny MUA, and Alicia Keys is no different. 

James Charles and Manny MUA have been large voices in beauty communication since 2015. Sharing their very open lives with the public and connecting with their audience on their love for makeup. However, they have also been the most problematic. Some say it is because of their constant run-ins of conflict with other influencers within the community itself. Talented individuals who hold their work to a high standards, have worked to gain the success they have achieved. They have been able to collaborate with large makeup brands, such as Morphe, on multiple occasions. This amount of success can naturally come with a lot of pride and animosity against those they may feel threatened by. 

On August 5th, when the musical icon Alicia Keys announced she would be collaborating with E.L.F. Cosmetics to create a skincare line many people had something to say about it. Manny MUA took it to twitter tweeting, “Does anyone else get slightly irritated when celebs come out with entire makeup lines? Especially when those celebs don’t even wear makeup”. This created a stir in wondering who exactly he was talking about. He clarified that celebs like Rihanna and Kylie Jenner were “glam girls”, and they were positioned in a different jurisdiction. His opinion towards celebrities who didn’t wear makeup led to him, and other influencers, feeling a little disrespected. James Charles put in his opinion tweeting “I’m sick of people who have no business coming out with makeup brands coming out with makeup brands”. He later then sub-tweeted after some believed he was talking about his famous TikTok creator friends who had come out with their collabs. He clarified by saying that “people who do not wear makeup should not be coming out with makeup brands but that’s just my opinion”. Making it clear that he was talking about celebrities such as Alicia Keys. 

Alicia Keys decided to go natural a couple of years ago, hence why many influencers didn’t understand the point of her wanting to get involved in the beauty business. Even though she remained silent about the whole situation, many of her fans did not. Keys has been in the public eye a lot longer than the both of these two combined, her journey of fashion and beauty allowed her to pick what was best for her. So, when making the lifestyle choice to not wear makeup it was a decision by her, to feel free in her own skin.

After the immense amounts of comments attacking Manny MUA and James Charles’ music career, they both came out with apologies directly to Alicia Keys later that week. A set of long paragraphs apologizing for feeling the need to gatekeep a community that means so much to them. They soon found out that she was focusing on making an affordable skincare line for the public. Similar to most twitter apologies, their fans showered them with love and support commending them on recognizing their wrongdoings. 

For the most part, young influencers get caught up in their world of fame. They may feel entitled to enforce rules and regulations in the public eye. As they get older and wiser they soon learn the importance of when to keep their opinions to themselves. Leading by example, Alicia Keys during this whole ordeal held no comments and kept on with her life.

Nia Tate

Hampton U '23

Hi, girlies! My name is Nia Tate and I am a Junior Health Sciences Major and Sociology from Seattle, Washington. I aspire to work at a non-profit organization that works towards equity in the health care system. A lot of my hobbies include yoga/meditation, kickboxing, trips to the lake, and upcycling old clothes into creating something new. I also aspire to travel the world and experience all different types of cultures and fashion. Some of my dream destinations I hope to visit include Japan, Brazil, and Greece!
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