- As social media reacts to the killing of George Floyd and the ongoing protests in nearly every major US city, makeup influencers have started creating controversial looks in support of Black Lives Matter.
- Famous beauty gurus including Nikkie Tutorials, Patrick Starrr, and Alissa Ashley have since spoken out about the looks, which have included partial blackface and writing “I can’t breathe” with makeup.
- Most of the accounts facing backlash are micro-influencers, and many of the women being criticised have since apologised and taken their posts down – but others are receiving support.
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Support for Black Lives Matter has compelled influencers of all stripes to either support the cause or stop posting on social media entirely, and the beauty community is no exception. But some makeup influencers are using the ongoing protests over the killing of George Floyd to create controversial Black Lives Matter-inspired looks, prompting criticism from major beauty YouTubers.
One 16-year-old Austrian and German-speaking makeup micro-influencer who goes by “catharinas_beauty” and has fewer than 10,000 followers did a half-blackface look on TikTok that instantly received widespread condemnation. She has since removed the TikTok and issued multiple apologies, but the original video, which featured her painting half her face to the “This Is America” TikTok sound, has been viewed nearly a million times on Twitter.
“Catharinas_beauty” didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment, but she stated in apologies that she did not know what blackface was or that it was offensive. “I only wanted to send a message against racism, but I did it wrong,” she wrote on Instagram. “I’m only 16 and have to learn much more about the world history.”
She’s not the only person who seemed to misstep while trying to send a message about Black Lives Matter with makeup, and some famous beauty gurus are critiquing the mostly white, female micro-influencers making the looks for trying to make police brutality about them and their art.
“Raising awareness isn’t using fake blood to appear beaten up. It’s not using a darker shade of foundation to show your solidarity,” Alissa Ashley, a beauty YouTuber with more than 2 million subscribers, wrote on Twitter. “Black peoples trauma/reality isn’t a makeup trend. Like y’all can’t possibly be this dumb.”
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Ashley was responding in particular to another example of the Black Lives Matter makeup trend that featured what appears to be a white woman again using partial blackface, fake blood, and quotes (including one from Martin Luther King Jr.) written on her face and chest with black makeup. That Instagram user, “lisyprbeauty1111,” has fewer than 5,000 followers and has since put her account on private. She didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
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Another viral tweet collected four examples of women’s Black Lives Matter makeup looks, along with the caption “what is up w you white b—-es man.” All four looks were since taken down from Instagram, one person wiped their account entirely, and another deleted their account entirely.
One of the women featured in the tweet, Ashley Richter, has over 16,000 Instagram followers and told Insider she deleted her post after listening to how she could be a better ally.
“I made this post on Instagram thinking I was spreading awareness, however, I was quickly educated on how/why my post was offensive and tone deaf and deleted it immediately,” Richter wrote in a statement to Insider. “If you are thinking of doing a makeup look, PLEASE PLEASE reconsider and use your time better to donate, sign petitions, uplift Black creators and take action. I am deeply sorry to those I offended with my ignorance and will continue to do better to become a better ally.”
As the tweets criticising the looks picked up steam, other major beauty YouTubers like Nikkie Tutorials and Patrick Starrr spoke out about the trend.
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” […] drawing ‘I can’t breathe’ on your face is NOT it,” Starrr wrote. “I know other influencers have mentioned it, I’m here to echo it again for you. STOP. Please sign petitions and DONATE.”
But not every influencer who participated in the trend received criticism and took down their post and/or account. Amelie Zilber, a model, influencer, and youth UNICEF ambassador with more than 2 million TikTok followers is the daughter of Christina Zilber – the founder and CEO of Jouer Cosmetics. Zilber posted her own Black Lives Matter-inspired look to TikTok, which included writing the words “I can’t breathe” on her neck with makeup, but the response has been largely positive.
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Some influencer commentary accounts, including “hereforthetea2,” pointed out that micro-influencers who did the same thing were heavily criticised, but Zilber was mostly praised. Zilber didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment, but her TikTok has more than 800,000 likes.
- Read more:
- YouTuber David Dobrik donated $US50,000 to organisations helping the Black Lives Matter movement
- Louis Vuitton artistic director Virgil Abloh is being criticised for flexing a $US50 donation to a bail fund
- People are urging influencers and celebrities to support Black Lives Matter online or stop posting entirely
- TikTok apologised for the glitch affecting the ‘black lives matter’ hashtag after accusations of censorship: ‘We know this came at a painful time’
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