Jackie Aina’s newest palette included a shade called “Wiggalese” — which many believe is a just playful reference to wigs — but backlash, and then heated backlash to the backlash, quickly ignited.
A popular beauty guru on YouTube who’s known for advocating for makeup visibility for people of color is now at the center of a heated and convoluted debate about racism after she released a new eyeshadow palette
Jackie Aina, who has more than 3.1 million followers on her MUA channel, was accused of being racist for how she named one of the shades. But now those critics are being accused of racism in what has become a giant mess online.
Are you following? We’ll attempt to break this down further, if you dare to proceed…
On Monday, after the collaboration with Anastasia Beverly Hills was unveiled and made available for purchase, an initial group of Aina critics called attention to one of the shades named “Wiggalese.” They believed the term was a direct wink to “wigger,” a slang word used against white people.
People were initially offended because they believed the word Wiggalese “is just racist AF when u remove the ‘lese’ from it,” as one person wrote.
“Shame ABH included a word with a slur in it,” another user said.
Others then chimed in to suggest that the term is simply a cheeky reference to wigs — or a play on “wig language” — and that the attacks against Aina are misinformed and problematic. Soon, supporters of Aina were accusing her critics of racism for reaching so far to make the accusation.
“Racists hate Jackie Aina so much they’re jumping through hoops talking about she used a ‘slur’ in one of the names of the shadows (Wiggalese) for her palette,” as one person put it.
Then, it seemed the larger conversation shifted and those who had even questioned Aina’s palette and/or character were also swiftly being labeled as racist.
“Just because I am not a fan of Jackie Aina & will not buy her collabs does not make me racist,” a woman named Allie tweeted on Monday.
“Yes it does,” another user promptly responded.
Allie, who wished to only be identified by her first name, told BuzzFeed News she thinks Aina is a “divisive personality,” but she’s ultimately “happy to see a woman of color achieve what Jackie has.”
She was, however, offended and surprised to be called racist by legions of fans online when she posted her criticism.
“I’m from a mixed family, so it’s that much more offensive and outrageous to me when I’m called racist for not being a fan of hers,” Allie said. “I don’t know why the reaction is so vitriolic from Jackie and her followers — I tend to think it’s out of anger and frustration, which I do understand, but it’s a disproportionate reaction.”
Others claimed they too were personally labeled as being racists after criticizing Aina and the new product. Some also noted that they’re being harassed and threatened online for saying anything at all.
But many people online are now growing frustrated by how far the accusations have escalated — and all over one shade of a makeup product.
Others are urging Aina to step in to corral her charged fans.
Aina did not immediately respond to requests for comment.