If you’re a person who even vaguely frequents the internet, especially within the last week or two, chances are you’ve stumbled upon the name James Charles. Perhaps without knowing anything else, you can glean that he’s found himself in trouble and everyone has a lot to say. The recently turned 20-year-old makeup guru, influencer, and self-proclaimed “so famous” person (it’s truly a long story) has found a home in the spotlight of not only the Youtube community, but having recently attended the Met Gala, mainstream media alike since becoming the first-ever Cover Boy at age 17.
But as they say, with great power, comes great responsibility. Charles was just at the center of a major controversy involving vitamins, interpersonal-turned-public relationships, and (as the kids would say) a whole lotta tea. A seemingly public betrayal led to a raging battle of he said-she said in the form of the parading a “receipts,” virtual witch hunts, and a lot of feature-length Youtuber monologues in the form of apology videos. (They seem to be a right of passage within the community at this point).
I am so deeply fascinated by this world and the grasp that it has on people. Public opinions can sway in the time it takes to tweet a screenshot and mob mentality is as pervasive as ever. I won’t waste your time with the details on the aforementioned , because it seems all parties involved have appeared to let bygones be bygones. Trading their insults and subtweets for promises of healing and mental health breaks, we’ll honor that and do the same. (Also the fact that this has been covered a plenty).
Prior to the Sugar Bear Hair Instagram story seen ’round the world (this truly is a niche and alienating story), Charles announced he’d be embarking on The Sisters Tour – a 24-city stop promising “an evening full of beauty, music and personal conversation with James.” Upon announcing this, his first tour, Charles found himself at the helm of some controversy, as fans and bystanders alike criticized the $500 Sisters VIP package (though ticket prices did go as low as $52.50 for General Admission). Nonetheless, his tour was almost completely sold out, and despite his plummeting subscriber count following the airing of Tati Westbrook’s “Bye Sister” video, Charles showed no sign of slowing down.
However, on Friday evening, Charles went on Instagram to officially announce that he would be cancelling the tour. “As many of you guys know, a few weeks ago we announced the official, first-ever, Sisters Tour, which was a 24-city tour all around the United States of America with music, and makeup, and memories and games. It was just going to be such a fun and exciting thing that I’ve literally wanted to do since I’ve first started on social media,” he told his 15.3 million followers. “Tour has been such a huge, huge dream of mine, and the fact that it was becoming a reality and that it was almost completely sold-out is, like, still so mind-blowing to me and I’m so grateful.” James vaguely alludes to “a lot” going on in the last couple of weeks has led him to the decision to ultimately cancel the tour. “I do want to make it very, very clear before the media and drama channels take this and run, because I’m sure they will… I made the decision to pull the tour,” he continued. Charles makes a point to say that no brands or venues had pulled out in light of the scandals dominating the social scape, and less than 1% of ticket purchasers requested a refund.
He goes on to discuss the emotional toll that his “cancellation” has taken on him, though the public perception seems that his active status online seems to indicate happiness. He is quick to say this is not the case, though he is working on it. James concludes the story by saying he wants to focus on reinstating his Youtube channel as a place for creative, positive expression. “The main reason I’m deciding to pull the plug on tour is the next few weeks – and few months, honestly – I said that I wanted to take time for myself.” Additionally, he sites logistical issues as another reason to halt (postpone perhaps is more appropriate, as he says it eventually will happen) the tour as he and his team is behind on planning, merchandise and goodie bag production. Refunds for those who did purchase tickets will be automatic and being processed within the business week. Charles says he himself will be responsible for any “refund or restocking” fees.
My sisters and I – some makeup enthusiasts, some Youtube fanatics, and some always on the hunt for a good story – had purchased tickets to see the tour live in action. Despite his controversies, I have previously been impressed with Charles’ self-awareness and desire to improve himself and the perception of influencer representation. While it’s evident spotlight and praise (and conversely, criticism) come with a public-facing career, I have a hard time believing anyone, dreams and desires or not, is truly equipped to deal with an onslaught of commentary at any given moment of time. Surely, he is not perfect, and I do hope this newly-found free time gives him space to grow.