'Alicia Keys can do whatever the f*** she wants', say fans after James Charles shades her, he apologizes

After e.l.f. Cosmetics announced that it will be launching a lifestyle beauty brand in collaboration with the multiple Grammy Award-winner, the beauty YouTuber made a snide remark at the famously no-makeup advocate

                            'Alicia Keys can do whatever the f*** she wants', say fans after James Charles shades her, he apologizes
James Charles, Alicia Keys, and Ammy Mua (Getty Images)

American singer, songwriter, and actor Alicia Augello Cook, known professionally as Alicia Keys, has become the latest celebrity to enter the beauty industry. On Wednesday, August 5, e.l.f. Cosmetics announced that it will be launching a lifestyle beauty brand in collaboration with the multiple Grammy Award-winner. The company described the line as “groundbreaking”, and said it would allow Keys to “further explore conversations about inner beauty, wellness, and connection”. The line is expected to launch in 2021.

“We are beyond thrilled to leverage our strengths to help realize Alicia's vision, as it not only aligns with our mission to make the best of beauty accessible but infuses it with an even deeper dimension,” Tarang Amin, e.l.f.'s chairman and CEO, said in the statement. “As a brand builder, I'm excited and very energized about the opportunities for us to reach new audiences in creative ways and to continue to lead in category innovation.”

After the announcement, beauty YouTuber James Charles wrote in a now-deleted tweet, “People who do not wear makeup should not be coming out with makeup brands but that's just my opinion.”

Makeup YouTuber Manny MUA also in a now-deleted tweet, made a similar comment: "Does anyone else get slightly irritated when celebs come out with entire makeup lines? Especially when those celebs don't even wear makeup."

He later added “See with Rihanna and Kylie [Jenner] I get it though. They’re glam girls! They wear makeup, they’re known for their makeup so I can see that.... But some other people, I’m like HUH?”

Both these comments were possibly directed towards Keys, who has famously been an advocate for not wearing makeup. In 2016, Keys wrote a personal essay about her no makeup journey, where she said, “Cause I don't want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing.”

Even her songs have a “no makeup” theme. In ‘When a Girl Can't Be Herself’, a section goes: “In the morning from the minute that I wake up / What if I don't want to put on all that makeup / Who says I must conceal what I'm made of / Maybe all this Maybelline is covering my self-esteem.”

But she isn’t anti-makeup either. 


Following the deleted tweets, Charles on August 6, issued an apology. He wrote, “Yesterday, I posted a subtweet about how I thought some celebrities shouldn't launch makeup lines. It was about @aliciakeys. A few years ago, she announced that she no longer would wear makeup, so I was bothered because many celebrities come into the beauty space as a cash grab without any actual passion and then leave.”

He then acknowledged he deleted the tweet a few minutes later because it was “childish to indirect tweet someone” and because he was “not the gatekeeper of makeup”. He said, “Anyone should be able to secure their bag and it's not up to me which brands people should or shouldn't support.”

He also said that he was glad he deleted the post because, after reading further, he learned that Keys' beauty line is for skincare. “This was my mistake and I should've read more before tweeting because literally who BETTER to talk about keeping your skin clear without makeup?” he added. “Regardless of my intention with my tweet, it ended up being a microaggression against someone I respect, so to @aliciakeys I owe a direct apology -- I'm sorry. It wasn't my place to gatekeep this industry. I can't wait to support and try out the products, and I know the brand will be worth a billion in a few years.”



Mua, too, made a similar but shorter apology, saying, "I get defensive of the beauty community because so many celebrities only come out with cosmetic lines as a cash-grab, but I shouldn't have jumped the gun. And regardless, I know that I am not the be all end all voice of makeup."


But even before they apologized, there was a ton of backlash from her fans, especially Black men and women. One fan wrote on Twitter, “Alicia Keys can do whatever the f*** she wants.” But the apologies were not spared either. “These white, annoying a** YouTubers have some literal nerve coming for ALICIA KEYS. it must be worms on the brain,” wrote another fan.


Another wrote, “Re: James Charles shading Alicia Keys. Why would someone with a streamy award feel threatened by someone with 17 NAACP awards, 15 Grammy awards, 9 billboard music awards, 4 American music awards, 4 MTV video music awards, 1 world record for replacing themselves at no. 1 on the chart.”

One fan pointed out, “Alicia Keys ain't say one goddamn word about how only singers should sing while James Charles was bussing out them tone-deaf a** vocals, he got some nerve. Worrying about the wrong keys sir.” Another noted, “So Alicia Keys is trending because of some white YouTubers and social media personalities trying to dictate to her the rules of putting out a makeup line?


If you have a news scoop or an interesting story for us, please reach out at (323) 421-7514