Black Femmes Owe You Nothing: Why Jeffree Star Needs to Leave Jackie Aina Alone!
By Monica Mutale Bwalya
On Dec. 3 Jerrod Blandino, co-founder of Too Faced Cosmetics, hosted a pre-birthday celebration for his other co-founder, Jeremy Johnson. Blandino posted a photo of himself and Johnson at the event with a cake that reads, “Rich Lives Matter.”
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Does #JerrodBlandino, co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of #TooFacedCosmetics, seriously think it’s OK to post a picture of a birthday cake titled “Rich Lives Matter” and mock the #BlackLivesMatter movement in an insensitive, tone-deaf manner? We don’t think so. The Black Lives Matter movement focuses heavily on economic justice, and his socially-detached bourgeois attitude is disgusting and highly upsetting. 😡#UglyInside #OwnYourUgly #BoycottTooFaced #EsteeLauderCompanies
Instagram user @EsteeLaundry reposted the photo to their 34.5K followers and said that Blandino displays a “socially-detached bourgeois attitude” that is “disgusting and highly upsetting.”
Many fans commented back stating their disappointment and that they would be boycotting the brand.
Blandino later gave a written apology stating that a partygoer brought the cake and that although he doesn't approve of its message, he's sorry for posting it.
But the drama didn’t end there, on Dec. 7 the very controversial Jeffree Star tweeted this:
Star's fans replied to his tweet with a flood of tea-sipping GIFs, telling him to end “her” career.
“Exactly if people wanna only speak up at certain times it just shows what type of person they are,” said user @LeviLucas5221.
“. . . As long as Too Faced is lining her pockets, the moral compass won't swing that way when it suits her,” said user @kbdeffenbacher.
Some have speculated that “her” is Jackie Aina, a popular YouTuber who called Star out for his racist past. She also recently collaborated with Too Faced Cosmetics on the color expansion of their Born This Way Foundation.
Aunty Jackie, as she is affectionately called, respectively remained unbothered. She issued no reply and uploaded a makeup tutorial the night of Star’s tweets. Aina doesn’t owe anyone anything, especially in this situation.
Blandino, a wealthy white man, uploaded this photo on his own platform without sponsorship from Aina. Despite his apology, a black woman is somehow made to bear the blame.
Although she is outspoken on topics such as colorism and racism online and IRL, Aina shouldn’t be made the spokesperson and neither should any other black femme. Must she and others in similar positions, such as Franchesca Ramsey and Kat Blaque respond to every sign of injustice?
We do black femmes a disservice when we require them to safeguard the humanity of their entire race in addition to tackling the other forms of oppression they face, such as misogynoir, colorism, transphobia, classism, etc. Besides this, we should be allowed to exist without constantly having to be political.
Instead of taking care of herself, Star and his energetic posse expect Aina to hit pause on her life and speak out on an issue that has nothing to do with her. For Star to create space for his fans to mock and degrade a black woman with depictions of wig snatching and “Give us the tea, sis” GIFs is an act of violence and racism.
It’s racist because it sets up a situation for a black woman to be inundated with hateful comments that among other things, express a desire for her career to end. Likewise, GIFs that depict a metaphoric Aina (a black woman) getting her wig snatched by Star (a white man) are racially insensitive and distasteful.
When Aina expressed concern over Star’s past use of racial slurs it was extra, but now that the target is someone else, Blandino, she should raise her voice higher?