Beauty Guru Thomas Halbert on Racism in the Beauty Community and Being A Better Ally

The YouTube beauty community has been somewhat of a dumpster fire recently. It has been one scandal after another with users exposing former friends for racism. You know the drill. It gave us the iconic apology video from Laura Lee, which is now just a really weird meme. One of the most controversial people in the community is Jeffree Star. His career is not only confined to YouTube where he boasts a large subscriber base with over 10 million subscribers, but he also owns his own independent cosmetics company. Star has been a hot topic for some time because of his past behavior and use of racial and misogynistic slurs, as well as instigating fights over social media with fellow YouTubers. Most notably, his spat is with black beauty guru Jackie Aina, which started when she posted an Anti-Haul video and vowed never to purchase any of Star's products because of his racist past. In response, he called her "a rat." 

via Teen Vogue

Despite his aggressive nature, he was given a redemption arc in Shane Dawson’s The Secret Life of Jeffree Star series which portrayed him in a sympathetic light. He claimed his rocky past had led him to adopt a controversial persona, and that he was not inherently racist. Umm, sure Jan. 

via Tenor

Despite the positive light of Dawson's docuseries, many of us who follow the community cannot forget his past behavior. After the series was uploaded, Star’s former wig stylist shed light to text messages from one year ago where he allegedly used racial slurs and referred to arch nemesis Jackie Aina as a "gorilla."

Thomas Halbert, a Youtube Beauty Guru, has been on the road to self-improvement and trying to right his wrongs. Halbert was once a critic of Star but the two eventually made up.

via YouTube  

In a post uploaded October 12, 2018, Halbert prefaces the video by saying that the world is catered to him to some extent as a gay, white man, therefore he needs different perspectives on social issues. He goes on to say that he visited someone’s house which is heavily implied to be Starr’s residence. He wanted to know his stance on racism after all these years of controversy. Halbert alleges that Star said that “we’ve all said the n-word.”

And it is said Star did not say ‘the n-word’, but rather the uncensored version of the word. That in itself is racist, although people like to justify it by saying that rap and hip-hop is riddled with that word. The only thing is that there is no proof to these claims, so whether you believe his story is up to the viewer. What we cannot ignore is the fact that Star's notoriety is rooted in his controversially racist statements.

After this encounter, Halbert finally understands that he did not act how he should have in the situation because of his privilege as a white man.

On believing Star had changed his ways and repented for his racist past, Halbert said, “White privilege and racism can’t be unlearned over night, can’t be undone over night […] It needs to be a conscious effort on a person’s behalf. And I didn’t realize that. I didn’t realize that because of my privilege.

Of course, Halbert has had a somewhat problematic past and being unapologetically confrontational. However, his use of white privilege in this video is something we should all strive for. We can ignore our privilege, or use it to improve the situations around us. By standing up and admitting his evasion to hold fellow whites accountable for their racist action is one step in the right direction, and I hope he keeps moving forward. 

His video is not only a call for white people, but also non-marginalized people to stop ignoring the racism and discrimination that the people around us face. Just because we don’t experience it does not mean we should let all of this injustice slide past us. Halbert was courageous for posting this video, knowing full well that Jeffree Star has die-hard fans that will drag any critics through the mud. More non-POCs should acknowledge their privilege and past mistakes to try to better themselves as well as the sociopolitical climate surrounding racism.

 

UPDATE: Star has responded to these claims