Beauty YouTuber Kameron Lester Speaks Out Against Jeffree Star for Treating Him Like "the Token Black Kid"
Photo credit: Getty / Instagram
After many people in the beauty and fashion industry feel empowered by the Black Lives Matter movement, they feel inspired to tell their own stories about discrimination. Beauty influencer Kameron Lester shared some of his own experiences last week. In an emotional Instagram Live, Kameron explained why "he will no longer support Jeffree Star, Jeffree Star Cosmetics or Shane Dawson".
In the video, Kameron tells the whole story of his relationship with Jeffree. Even though he had once modeled in a campaign for Jeffree Star Cosmetics, the influencer said he felt like a token and that many of Jeffree's promises to support his career were not kept.
"I just felt that it was never a friendship, it was never a friendship at the beginning, it was always something like me like a black child," he said.
From then on, their relationship became uncomfortable for Kameron. In a situation he described, Jeffree asked about his affiliation with James Charles - this was only months before the public feud between him and Tati Westbrook took place.
"There was a case where [Jeffree] asked me whether I like James or not. And I was just so shocked - he just said 'do you like James?', How 'do you like him' and I was just like that shocked and uncomfortable because he was such a big powerhouse, "Kameron told the audience. "I felt uncomfortable, there were people around me and he was so dull - just out of nowhere asked me 'do you like James?'"
"James helped me in my career when I first came to the beauty area and told my HIV story - he was very supportive," continued Kameron. "And I thought 'I have no problem with him. Do I agree with everything he does? No. But I have no personal problem with him.' He did so much for me, so why should I go against him? And [Jeffree] said, "Well, you don't owe him anything forever."
The next day, Kameron said he witnessed a FaceTime call between Jeffree and Shane in which Shane "cursed" about James.
"I remember Shane calling Dawson and he went because of James Charles and ... just like cursed James. And I was just taken back because I had never seen Shane Dawson like that and he just kept going James" said the beauty boy. "From there I knew that Shane Dawson wasn't really the person he was perceived to be online."
After this experience, Kameron felt that Jeffree and Shane no longer wanted to work with him and had conspired to keep him calm. In his next campaign, Jeffree occupied Cameron's ex-best friend instead of him.
"I felt like he was trying to send the message that I was interchangeable as a black boy," he said. "I felt that this was a game. Even when Shane Dawson posted me on his platform [last week] - I was grateful, but I felt that it somehow silenced me as if we were still breadcrumbs to you and hang you on a string and manipulate you so you can stay calm. 'I always felt silenced. "
Kameron says he has never spoken about the experience out of fear. "I'm afraid for my life. I was so paranoid and so scared of this man," he said, talking about Jeffree. "In the future, I will no longer be just the black person. I will no longer be just the black boy who is there for you to look good or speak for yourself because it will not be returned."
Neither Jeffree nor Shane commented on this.
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