For those of you who are following Shane Dawson’s new series: The Beautiful World of Jeffree Star, many are wondering what was Dramageddon and what can be considered Dramageddon 1 and 2, and are we onto Dramageddon 3 or was that Lipstick Gate? Let’s take a sip and find out.
So here’s the skinny, in August 2018, Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star dropped their highly anticipated docu-series: The Secret World of Jeffree Star. A few days after the last episode dropped, Gabriel Zamora posted a photo on Twitter with Laura Lee, Himself, Nikita Dragun, and Manny MUA, all flipping off the camera with a comment allegedly directed at Jeffree Star. This is significant because Jeffree Star used to be best friends with the above-mentioned quad for a number of years.
A response was made by Gabriel after the photo got some traction where he and Emma Phipps got into a confrontation where Gabriel said “Imagine stanning a racist? I could never”. This tweet was in reference to Jeffree Star and allegations of him dropping the N-word and being caught on camera ten years ago saying it in two different videos that Jeffree did with a friend of his at the time.
This led to a number of beauty vloggers being exposed for their past racist Tweets and offensive behavior – including Gabriel who had tweeted out the N-word in 2012 and looked like a hypocrite for citing the excuse that he was “only 19 or 20” at the time and “didn’t know any better”. Which is the same excuse Jeffree Star has made for their insensitive remarks. In both cases, the word wasn’t directed at a person of color (or at least in Gabriel’s case it wasn’t used in a way to demean the person he was referring to, but it was meant as another way to call this person a close friend of his).
In Jeffree’s case, the word was used towards a white woman who had insulted the beauty guru off camera. Jeffree has apologized for these two incidents multiple times citing that he was young and didn’t understand the hurt that word causes. Gabriel also used a similar excuse, which made him come off as being a hypocrite for criticizing Jeffree for using the same excuse in his apology video.
However, despite his apology video being lengthy, I felt that Gabby was being sincere in it. He does own up to his mistakes (like Jeffree has), apologizes to his fans, to Jeffree Star, to the other beauty vloggers who got entangled in this drama, and for his ignorant, racist behavior online.
For some of the vloggers involved in the scandal, like Laura Lee who is still memed to this day, dramageddon has put a strain on their legacy and has damaged their careers. In the days following the Karadashian esk photo op, followers of the rhombus proceeded to dig up old, offensive tweets from Gabby as well as Nickita and Manny.
Nikita wrote in 2012 that she “could never” imagine being black, and Manny had recently posted a Snapchat of him side-eyeing an Uber driver for not speaking English. Also in 2012, in the months following the death of Trayvon Martin, Laura reportedly tweeted, “Tip for all black people if you pull ur pants up you can run from the police faster.” (Lee deactivated her account briefly in the fallout.)
This since-deleted tweet from Laura, among others, had resurfaced before the birthday photo was uploaded, but the combination of the fallout from the Shane Dawson documentary and the photo sent Laura, Gabby, and Manny scrambling to film similar tear-filled apology videos. But despite the efforts at damage control, everyone involved saw their subscribers — and their potential income — drop.
Some other notable things happened during dramageddon, aside from the now cliche grey hoodie, teary-eyed apology video genre. After Gabriel uploaded his apology video, he announced he would be cutting Manny MUA out of his life. Which must have come as a shock to Manny since a few days before they were celebrating their birthday of their close friend and seemed to be quite chummy.
As a result, Manny MUA lost 250,000 subscribers. But some of Manny’s fans and members of the beauty community have found it hard to remember why Manny was canceled in the first place in being that he hasn’t been accused of posting any racist remarks. With one fan stating in a Reddit thread: “Tbh what with the amount of drama in the beauty community this year, I’ve kind of forgotten why he was ‘canceled’ in the first place. Was it just for trying to social climb, because that kind of seems like small fry compared to some of the absolute [redacted] that’s gone down recently.”
This seems to be why a few weeks ago that Manny announced that he was “uncanceling himself”. He seems to be gathering some support since the video and released a new palette for his brand Lunar Beauty called the Moon Spell collection, which has gathered good reviews with beauty bloggers doing giveaways in support of the palette and Manny.
In my opinion, dramageddon was sad to watch. It was the public break-up of five formerly close friends. It felt like a high school drama unfolding before our eyes. And it showed how petty internet beef can be, but it also addressed the larger issues like casual racism within the beauty community. The ramifications of these beauty vloggers’ past actions are a reminder to us all that nothing online is temporary. Online interactions can and will be documented and used against people, regardless of if we feel that this is right or wrong. I hope that the beauty community can learn from these mistakes and make greater strides to be more inclusive and to uplift members of the beauty community who are people of color. And for us all to be a little kinder to one another.