“Hi sisters!” James says as he opens each of his YouTube videos. A warm welcome indeed for his 25 million or so fans. But who is this mega YouTube star? And why does he always say, “Hi sisters!”?
James Charles Dickinson, known to fans as James Charles, is an internet personality, vlogger and beauty and makeup artist who was born in 1999, in Bethlehem, New York. One day, James decided to take his talent to YouTube and began uploading material, featuring makeup tutorials and how-to style videos. As his YouTube influence grew, so did his influence on Instagram where he currently has over 26 million followers.
At the age of 17, he became the first male spokesperson for the cosemtic brand Covergirl. Since then, he’s modeled, started a clothing line and a makeup collection. He has also began his show on YouTube called “Instant Influencer,” where young makeup artists are put to the test to see who has the most creative talent.
As James has built his platform as a gay makeup artist and business owner, he has also courted a lot of controversy, primarily surrounding realtionships, including both true and false accusations about him.
Given all of that, it’s not surprising that James’ YouTube videos not only feature his beauty line, his talent and his commenntary, but also feature controversy, innaprorpriate comments, profanity and buckets of drama.
James’ tagline is, “Remember to blend, but don’t blend in.” This message is primarily positive, as it encourages people to really be OK with who they are. And this tagline also lends itself to James’ affirming nature in some videos.
You don’t have to watch these videos long to see why controversy swirls around James. That said, we also see James as he apologizes to fans and to those he has hurt by his behavior, recognizing that he has shown himself to be desperate throughout the years. He asks for forgiveness and promises to really work on himself. It’s a big step for anyone, this kind of vulnerability, especially when it’s seen by millions of people.
It’s clear in some of these videos that no matter someone’s sexuality, everyone is searching for love and acceptance. What’s not clear though, is that this true love and acceptance can only be found in Jesus and our identity in Him.
There’s a lot of content in these videos, so buckle up.
James is a gay beauty influencer, and this means his sexuality is a hot topic. James tells fans that he came out when he was 12 years old. Drag queens are featured throughout the channel on various episodes. Men wear fake nails and makeup. A teen boy getting ready tells James that he is still in his underwear (although we do not see anything). James talks about hooking up, kissing men and other relationships. He also talks about how he was falsely accused of predatory behavior.
A beauty competition includes seeing who can make themselves into the best drag queen. A few guys walk around shirtless while putting on makeup.
The f-word and s-word are used in many videos; some are said aloud while others are edited out. Other profanity includes words such as “b–ch,” “h—,” “whore” and “a–.”
We see tweets from a 30-year-old gay male harassing a teenage boy. A woman calls James Charles out and says it’s inappropriate to manipulate a straight man into thinking they’re gay. James says this is untrue and this is supported via video. We also hear about people who’ve tried to deceive James in a misguided quest for attention and fame.
James Charles’ popular channel obviously includes some really problematic content even as he tries to offer a message of affirmation to his fans. But his massive popularity, combined with his flair for the dramatic, makes him a YouTube personality that many teen and even tween viewers have likely encountered.
Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).