- Makeup artists have created looks using Black Lives Matter symbols and the phrase “I can’t breathe” in an effort to raise awareness about racism and police brutality.
- Beauty YouTubers like Alissa Ashley, NikkieTutorials, and PatrickStarrr have slammed the behavior, calling it “disrespectful” and encouraging people to donate or sign petitions instead.
- But some have defended these artists, arguing that they are voicing their frustrations through their work.
- The looks have sparked a conversation about performance activism and how to be an ally to the black community.
Black Lives Matter Makeup Looks
As people all over the world protest over the killing of George Floyd, some makeup artists have tried to show their support by creating makeup looks inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.
But several of these looks have been quickly slammed on social media, sparking conversations about how to be an ally to the black community.
One of the most recent makeup looks that sparked outrage was created by a 16-year-old in Australia who posts content in German under the name “catharinas_beauty.”
In a TikTok post, the teen is seen painting half of her face darker to the tune of Donald Glover’s “This Is America.”
After the post was hit with massive backlash, the teen took it down. She also posted to her Instagram saying she was “really sorry” and “never wanted to hurt anyone’s feelings.”
And she added that she had never heard of blackface before posting the look. “I only wanted to send a message against racism, but I did it wrong. I’m only 16 and have to learn much more about the world history.”
This teen is far from the only person who’s been slammed this type of makeup. Other artists have created looks using the Black Live Matter fist or phrase, and some have designed theirs around the words “I can’t breathe.”
That particular phrase is widely recognized as the final words spoken by Floyd as a white officer pressed his knee into his neck. They were also the last words spoken by Eric Garner, who was choked to death by police in 2014. Since their deaths, the phrase has become rallying cry used to fighting against police brutality and racial injustice.
One artist that included the phrase in her look took it a step further. As she lip-syncs over the Gotye song “Somebody That I Use to Know,” she releases a hand from her neck to show a bloody print.
These are just a few examples of the types of posts that have continued to pop up online, and in most cases, the artists end up apologizing or taking the posts down.
Beauty YouTubers Speak Out
But these posts weren’t just criticized by the general public. Several popular beauty influencers took to social media to speak out against the trend.
Alissa Ashley, for instance, said: “White/ Non-Black MUA’s, I promise painting “I can’t breathe” on your lips isn’t revolutionary like I really promise that isn’t what we mean when we say be an ally.”
NikkieTutorials addressed the looks by saying, “don’t be that person 🤦🏼♀️ it’s disrespectful and low, have some respect, sign petitions and DONATE!”
That sentiment was also echoed by fellow YouTuber Patrickstarr who said, “I know a thing or two about makeup. But drawing ‘I can’t breathe’ on your face is NOT it.”
Some Defend Artists
Still, some have tried to defend the artists, arguing that they were just trying to voice their frustrations through their art.
One Twitter user actually responded to Alissa Ashley saying, “this is why the country is as divided as it is. Why cant we just understand that raising awareness to situations are never an easy subject some people only have one voice and its through their creative sides.”
Ashley hit back at that user writing, “Raising awareness isn’t using fake blood to appear beaten up. It’s not using a darker shade of foundation to show your solidarity. It’s not writing a dying mans last words on your lips. Black peoples trauma/reality isn’t a makeup trend. Like y’all can’t possibly be this dumb”
She then dismissed responses from people who say they aren’t sure what to do, saying “TWITTER IS FREE AS FUCK. You see us tweeting the petitions to sign. The places to donate. What kind of drug do you gotta be on to be like ‘oh I know what to do. Let me go grab my darker foundation & ben nye stage blood’”
Talking about some “what else are we supposed to do”. TWITTER IS FREE AS FUCK. You see us tweeting the petitions to sign. The places to donate. What kind of drug do you gotta be on to be like “oh I know what to do. Let me go grab my darker foundation & ben nye stage blood”— Alissa Ashley (@alissa_ashleyy) May 29, 2020
Another makeup artist known as ZayBayBay argued that the makeup looks are actually triggering to black people. Someone then challenged her opinion by saying, “It can’t be any more triggering than seeing Donald Glover shoot up an entire black church choir in his music video. Makeup artists are allowed to creatively express themselves the same way. It raises awareness, which is the bottom line.”
Ultimately, she said that she is beyond her art and knowns “when it’s time to put the brush down and do something productive instead of focusing 5 hours on a makeup look.” But still, she said she respects others’ opinions on this matter.
This debate isn’t just something being discussed in relation to makeup. Nail artists have faced similar backlash for their work, with the same arguments appearing both for and against it.
View this post on Instagram
I have taken my nail art awareness inspiration post from the amazing black talented nail tech @queenofnails I saw the positive feedback she got in her comments by not just white but black people too. She inspired me to use my platform and talent to bring awareness through nail art for those who are in need. She had no comments from the black community saying that the post is insensitive. I’ve got a lot of positive feedback for using my art to support the movement (thank you 💕)but I’ve also been told by some that I AM THE MAIN PROBLEM. I’ve gained no profit from this just like @queenofnails didn’t. The nails are not for sale, they are not to be promoted, they are under no collaboration deal, just doing it purely to spread awareness. I’m now being called a prostitute and that I’m doing nails from a little corner at my mums house. Words said by those who I spread awareness for. @queenofnails didn’t get this treatment from the black community, why am I ? If I’ve offended anyone I am truly truly sorry, my intention was never to hurt you, I want to help protect you✊🏼✊🏾
And especially after #BlackoutTuesday, a lot of people have been concerned about performance activism that does nothing meaningful for the black community.
There are some people who point out that these makeup looks are coming from a good place. Others say that if done tastefully and in combination with other efforts, they can help keep people talking about racial injustice. But it seems like most people online are not on board with these types of looks and want to see action, not more awareness.
See what others are saying: (Insider) (Dazed) (Centennial Beauty)
Twitch Pulls Black Lives Matter Video Featuring Mostly White Streamers
- On Thursday, Twitch deleted and apologized for a Black Lives Matter compilation video that showcased a number of white streamers supporting the movement but featured very few Black creators.
- In fact, the nearly one-minute video only had one line from a Black creator known as Zombaekillz, and Twitch overlaid audio of DrLupo—a white creator—on top of a clip of footage from another Black streamer, BlissKai.
- A number of the streamers featured in the video have now spoken out about the criticism, with some agreeing and others disagreeing.
- This video follows backslash Twitch faced earlier in the week for an LGBTQIA+ tweet that said the G “also stands for gamer.”
Twitch’s Mostly White “Black Lives Matter” Video
Twitch has deleted a controversial complication video it posted on Thursday that was meant to display solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement; however, the video was quickly criticized as tone-deaf for featuring mostly-white creators.
The video was originally posted to Twitter with the caption “Working together to make an impact for Black lives,” according to the gaming outlet Polygon.
While that video showcases a number of white creators advocating for racial justice— including DrLupo, Jacksepticeye, CrankGameplays, AshleyRoboto, and Charalanahzard—it only features one line from a Black streamer, Zombaekillz.
“Black people don’t have the same right, and we don’t have the same power that people around us have here,” Zombaekillz said in the video, a quite ironic statement given Twitch’s inclusion of it around only white voices.
Other Black creators such as BlissKai were featured but had no lines. In fact, in the video, a clip of her is even overlaid with audio from DrLupo. In all, Black streamers only accounted for 11-seconds of the nearly minute-long video.
While the video also opens with a clip of a Black man speaking at a protest, he is not a known streamer on the platform.
Reaction and Apology
Much of the video includes streamers raising money for various Black Lives Matter-related charities. Shortly after Twitch posted it, the video was met with swift condemnation from Black streamers and BLM allies.
One Black creator, Tanya DePass, blasted the platform and accused it of silencing Black voices.
“This is a whole bucket of fail,” DePass said. “There’s a WHOLE LOT of Black Creators on here who not only speak out on this ALL THE TIME, but don’t get any credit for it. Y’all are speaking over us. Highlight Black folks doing the work already.”
Notably, some also pointed out that DePass would have been a prime candidate for the video, as she raised over $140,000 during a 10-hour Animal Crossing live stream on the platform last month. Her original goal had been $500.
On Thursday, the same day the initial video was posted, Twitch removed it and issued an apology.
“We hear you,” the platform said. “Our goal was to demonstrate the importance of allyship—a message we didn’t make clear. Only by working together can we create a positive change.”
Creators in the Video Speak Out
A number of creators featured in the video have spoken out since Twitch deleted that video and apologized, including BlissKai and Zombaekillz.
“It sucks that Twitch deleted the tweet but it had to happen,” BlissKai said. “I want to see black gamers succeed & make a difference as well. My first ever huge thing from Twitch & I’m glad I even got a opportunity to see myself up there. Disappointed but Twitch just delivered the wrong it the way.”
Meanwhile, Zombaekillz commended the video for using lesser-known Black streamers, adding, “it also celebrated the actual and very real allyship of some creators during this time. AND AND… white people listen to white people.“
While she noted that the video could have featured more Black voices, she said, “this is about incremental changes. Dismantling supremacy doesn’t happen immediately.”
“The reality is this video was about working together to uplift voices and showcasing people who are,” she continued. “People have missed the point.”
“Also, while you’re here and SO outraged over the lack of diverse voices.. make sure to go to my channel and support this very diverse voice. Put some of these words to ACTION…”
Also on Twitter, Charalanahzard said she had no knowledge of Twitch even using a clip from one of her streams until after Twitch posted its video.
“Well, I had no idea this happened until just now, but want to be clear: I had absolutely no idea @Twitch was going to use a clip of me in the #BLM video they took down and am not cool with it at all,” she said. “I guess they own all content on their platform, but I’m shocked I wasn’t asked.”
Twitch Had to Revise a LGBTQIA+ Tweet, Too
Thursday’s video is not the first social media controversy of the week for Twitch. In fact, on Sunday, it posted a video that was meant to show support for queer rights that was partially captioned, “When the G in LGBTQIA+ also stands for Gamer.”
“I don’t in any way shape or form want to take away from the amazing humans in this video, the clips are wonderful,” creator Spofie said. “But can we remove this part?”
Wow! It’s already hard enough to teach people what it stands for. Twitch come on, do better. Are there no LGBTQIA+ on their Social team? How is that possible?— ✨ Charice Gomez (@ChariceArzellG) July 5, 2020
While the platform deleted the original video and quickly posted another without the controversial slogan, it did not publicly address its misstep.
The US is “Looking at” a Potential TikTok Ban, Pompeo Says as the Company Pulls Out of Hong Kong
- Early Monday, TikTok announced that it would be leaving the Hong Kong market over fears regarding China’s new national security law, which would require the company to hand over user data.
- Later in the day, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News that the U.S. is “looking at” banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok.
- The Chinese-owned app has long been accused of giving data to the Chinese Communist Party, which it has repeatedly denied.
- If put in place, an American ban would just be the latest national-restriction against TikTok. India banned the app on July 1 over similar fears that it gave away user data to Chinese authorities.
Could TikTok Face an American Ban?
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News Monday night that the United States was “looking at” banning Chinese social media apps, including the popular video-sharing app TikTok.
When speaking to host Laura Ingraham about potential plans to restrict the app, Pompeo said, “We’re taking this very seriously, but we’re certainly looking at it. We’ve worked on this very issue for a long time.”
“With respect to Chinese apps on people’s cellphones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right too,” he added.
Despite his claims, there haven’t been any concrete efforts made public yet. Still, when asked if he’d recommend for people to download TikTok, the Secretary of State replied, “Only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”
TikTok has adamantly claimed that despite its parent company ByteDance being based in China, TikTok itself isn’t controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, nor does it have deep ties with the party.
The app claims that the executives and managers who actually make decisions about its business and make its content rules are all outside of China. The company also states that Chinese authorities have no say in what is and isn’t allowed on the app, and lastly, that user data isn’t stored in China.
American authorities doubt these claims, as the company is owned by ByteDance, which is based in China and like most large Chinese companies, is thought to have close ties to the ruling Communist Party. Adding to the fuel that TikTok complies with Chinese authorities is the fact that ByteDance also owns its sister company, Douyin, which is essentially a Chinese version of TikTok.
A U.S. ban would be a massive loss for the company, which is home to some of its biggest creators. The app has also faced hurdles in India, where a ban went into effect on July 1 that blocked TikTok and 58 other Chinese apps. The nation of over 1 billion is among its largest markets.
Australia has also floated the idea of banning the platform over concerns it inappropriately shares data with the Chinese government.
Pulling Out of Hong Kong
Aside from promising that it isn’t controlled by Chinese authorities, TikTok has also made recent moves to distance itself from the country. Hours before Pompeo spoke to Fox News, TikTok announced that it would be pulling out of the Hong Kong market over fears about a sweeping national security law imposed on the city by China on June 29.
According to TikTok, the app would be inoperable within Hong Kong in a few days. Additionally, it wouldn’t process data requests from China or Hong Kong police, although some current residents already say they can’t download the app.
Hong Kong authorities used the new national security law to release strict new rules regarding online posts. If police suspect an “electronic message” endangers “national security,” they can ask the publisher, platform, host, or network provider to remove or restrict access to it. Those who publish messages and don’t comply face a $100,000 fine and upwards of six months in jail.
Users who actually make the posts face a similar fine and up to a year in jail.
According to multiple reports, the rules explicitly allow authorities to jail employees at internet companies that don’t reply, regardless if they’re based in Hong Kong or not. It should be noted that punishment would only be applicable if one was to actually travel to Hong Kong or China, as most nations wouldn’t comply with another country claiming extraterritorial authority.
However, it still puts companies in an awkward position; comply with Chinese authorities and face backlash for caving on free speech, or disregard the rules and potentially risk employee safety and losing market access.
It wasn’t just TikTok that responded to the new rules, other tech giants like Facebook, Google, and Twitter all said they would temporarily halt data requests from Hong Kong authorities as they decide what to do in the long run. All three had spokespeople and statements that were remarkably similar.
A Facebook spokesperson told Reuters, “We are pausing the review of government requests for user data from Hong Kong pending further assessment of the National Security Law, including formal human rights due diligence and consultations with international human rights experts.”
“We believe freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and support the right of people to express themselves without fear for their safety or other repercussions,” the statement continued.
Even though at face value it may seem like a hollow gesture, considering the fact that these companies are banned in China, it’s actually a big risk to a massive revenue stream. All three of those companies have major advertiser programs in China.
While they debate whether to comply with the law or not, it’s interesting to note that TikTok went further than the rest by actually pulling services out of the city. That might be because Hong Kong wasn’t a huge market for the company.
It consistently lost them money and only about 150,000 Hong Kongers used the app. Another facet that may limit the impact of “losing” Hong Kong is that TikTok’s sister app, Douyin, is still usable and popular in Hong Kong, despite not officially being available in the city.
See what others are saying: (Wall Street Journal) (The New York Times) (CNN)
“The Rock” Surpasses Kylie Jenner as Highest-Paid Star on Instagram
- After coming in at No. 6 last year, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has now skyrocketed to the top of Hopper HQ’s Instagram Rich List, with it estimating that he earns $1,015,00 per sponsored post.
- Kylie Jenner, who he dethroned, now sits at No. 2, charging $986,000 per post.
- Kim Kardashian West ranked No. 4 with $858,000, just a day after it was revealed that she sold 20% of KKW Beauty to Coty Inc. The deal values KKW Beauty at $1 billion and makes her net worth around $900 million.
- TikTok stars Charlie D’Amelio and Addison Rae also captured attention for making it into the top 10 highest paid per post in the Lifestyle category, after rising to fame in under a year.
Instagram’s Highest-Paid Users Revealed
Kylie Jenner was officially dethroned by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as the highest-paid person on Instagram, according to Hopper HQ’s fourth annual “Instagram Rich List.”
Hopper HQ, the social media planning tool behind the list, announced its new rankings Tuesday, which estimates how much high profile figures charge per sponsored post. According to the company, it uses “publically and privately available data to create the most accurate list possible.”
Last year, Jenner topped the company’s list, with it estimating that she earned $1,266,000 per sponsored post. At the time, Johnson took the No. 6 spot, raking in about $882,000 for each of his.
Since then, Johnson’s Instagram earning have jumped by 15%, helping him snatch the No. 1 slot with an estimated $1,015,00 per sponsored post. Jenner on the other hand, dropped by 22%, earning her the No. 2 title with $986,000 each.
Jenner’s new ranking comes just a month after Forbes stripped her of her billionaire title when it accused her of exaggerating her cosmetic company’s earning. At the time, Jenner called the claims “inaccurate” and “unproven,” while her representatives said that neither she nor anyone from her team falsified tax returns or lied to claim the title.
But even without the billionaire status, Jenner is still insanely wealthy. Forbes estimated her net worth at $900 million and just a few days after publishing its exposé, it ranked her as the highest-paid celebrity with an estimated $590 million in earnings over the last year.
As far as the “Instagram Rich List” goes, celebrities that follow Jenner include Cristiano Ronaldo, Kim Kardashian West, Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez, Beyonce Knowles, Justin Bieber, and Taylor Swift, to name a few.
Is Kim Kardashian a Billionaire?
Kardashian West is another standout with her No. 4 ranking, charging an estimated $858,000 per post. That’s because the ranking comes just a day after reports that she sold a stake in her cosmetic brand, KKW Beauty, to Coty Inc for $200 million.
Last year, her youngest sister made headlines for striking a huge deal with the beauty brand, selling 51% of Kylie Cosmetics for $600 million in a deal that valued the company at $1.2 billion.
But Kardashian West’s deal is a bit different. She only sold off a 20% stake in her business, leaving her with 72% and her mother, Kris Jenner, with 8%. According to Coty, she will remain responsible for creative efforts while Coty will focus on expanding product development outside the realm of color cosmetics.
Following the news, Kanye West congratulated his wife for “officially becoming a billionaire” with a bizarre photo of what appeared to be vegetables and flowers.
However, as Forbes pointed out, this deal actually makes her net worth about $900 million and values KKW Beauty at $1 billion.
Other Standouts on the 2020 Instagram Rich List
Aside from “The Rock” and the Kardashian-Jenner rankings, there were some other notable standouts on Hopper HQ’s list.
In the beauty category, Huda Kattan of Huda Beauty made the top of the list with an estimated $91,800 per post. Far behind at No. 2 and 3 were beauty influencers James Charles and Jeffree Star, who charge an estimated $38,400 and $32,700 per sponsored post, respectively.
In fashion, model Bella Hadid ranked No.1 with an estimated $91,900 per post, with Emily Ratajkowski following at No. 2 with $78,300.
In sports, Cristiano Ronaldo maintained his top spot with $889,000 per paid post, followed by other huge names in soccer like Neymar Jr., Lionel Messi, and David Beckham. NBA star Lebron James ranked No. 5 with an estimated $307,000 for each of his.
But perhaps some of the most interesting numbers came from the Lifestyle category, which gave insight into the potential earnings of some popular influencers.
Lele Pons ended up at the top of the list with an estimated $142,80 per sponsored post. She was followed by Sommer Ray, Zach King, and Cameron Dallas.
Others who made the top ten that probably won’t come as a surprise are longtime YouTuber Felix Kjellberg, also known as Pewdiepie, who came in at No. 5 with $72,500 and Viner turned YouTuber David Dobrik who ranked No. 7 with an estimated $69,900 per sponsored post.
But some newcomers to the digital space that broke the top ten in this category are TikTokers 16-year-old Charli D’Amelio and 19-year-old Addison Rae Easterling. D’Amelio actually ranked above Dobrik at No. 6 with an estimated $71,200 per post. Easterling ranked just below him at No. 8 with $69,600 each.
The Paul brothers then finish up the top ten with Logan at No. 9 and Jake at No. 10. However, the success of the two TikTok stars is arguably the most impressive considering how quickly they’ve exploded to popularity and expanded onto other sites.
Easterling, for instance, only joined TikTok in July 2019 and is the second most followed person on the app with 48.2 million followers. Meanwhile, D’Amilio is the most followed person on the app with 66.9 million followers, and she joined in June of 2019.
See what others are saying: (Forbes) (LAD Bible) (Yahoo Lifestyle)
Correction: This story has been updated with the correct spelling of Cristiano Ronaldo’s name.