Kameron Lester Criticizes Jeffree Star's Tokenization of Him
15 June 2020
Beauty influencer Kameron Lester is opening up about he felt tokenized and silenced while working with Jeffree Star.
Last week, Lester took to his Instagram Live to detail why he would no longer support Star or his makeup brand. Beginning by telling the story about their relationship, Lester explained that while he once modeled for Jeffree Star Cosmetics, he felt tokenized and like Star's promises to support his career never came to fruition.
"I just felt like it was never a friendship, it was never a friendship in the beginning to start with, it was always just something like I was the kind of like the token black kid," he said, before talking about how Star once put him on the spot by asking about his feelings toward James Charles.
"I was uncomfortable, there's people around me, and he was so blunt – just out of nowhere asked me 'do you like James?'" Lester recalled, also mentioning that this occurred a few months before Charles's highly publicized feud with Tati Westbrook. "James helped me with my career when I first got into the beauty space and tell my HIV story – like, he's been very supportive of me."
However, after Lester said he didn't have a problem with Charles, Star allegedly responded by saying, "'Well, you don't fucking owe him forever.'" Lester then felt even more uncomfortable the next day after he witnessed Shane Dawson — who was working on Star's online documentary series — "cursing" about Charles via a FaceTime call with Star.
"I remember Shane Dawson called and he was going off about James Charles and... Just like cursing James out. And I was just kind of taken back, because I've never seen Shane Dawson like that and he was just going in on James," he said. "From there, I knew Shane Dawson wasn't really the person he was perceived [to be] online."
Not only that, but after the incident, Lester said that it felt as if Star and Dawson no longer wanted to work with him — something that was made all the more evident by Star casting his ex-best friend instead of him.
"I felt like he was trying to send the message in some way that I was replaceable as a Black boy," Lester said. "I felt like this was a game. Even with Shane Dawson posting me on his platform, I was grateful. But I felt like it was kind of to silence me to be like, 'We're gonna keep giving you breadcrumbs and hanging you by a string and manipulating you so you can stay quiet.' I felt always silenced."
That said, according to Lester, he was afraid to talk about what happened for so long, saying he "fears for [his] life" and that he "was so paranoid and so scared" of Star.
That said, he said that "moving forward, I will no longer just be the token Black person."
"I will no longer just be the Black boy that is there to make you look good or speak up for you," he said, "Because it's not reciprocated."
Watch Lester's video for yourself, below.
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