YouTuber James Charles is, once again, in hot water thanks to a recent video. The beauty influencer shared a video of him doing an impression of Rosa, an original character created by TikTok star, Adam Martinez, better known as Adam Ray. Both Adam and his alter ego Rosa have a Latino accent, which James tried to reproduce in his video. Which didn't exactly end well.
James Charles posted an impression of one of Adam Ray's videos of Rosa.
For those of you who never met Rosa, here's a run down of the character. She's a loud, unapologetic, and rather foul-mouthed teenager. She rocks a completely unblended contour, highlighter that looks like a disco ball, fake nails that are usually falling off, and huge and improperly applied fake eyelashes. She only made her debut in Dec. 2019 and, with her, Adam has already racked up 2.8 million followers.
And it looks like she can count James Charles among her fans. James shared a Snapchat of him doing an impression of one of Adam's Rosa videos. In Adam's videos, Rosa is usually talking to the camera as if she was talking to another person. In this video, she's talking to her eighth period partner after finding out that he's gay. James uses the same language in his video that Adam uses in his, but James appears to be talking to someone in the seat next to him in the car.
For reference, here is the original TikTok that he's mimicking.
The internet is divided on whether or not James should be able to impersonate Rosa.
It's clear in the video that James is putting on a similar accent that Adam has in his videos, but what's unclear is whether or not he should be allowed to do this. As a Caucasian man, some people believe that James putting on any accent is inherently racist.
Especially considering that the influencer has had a few instances in the past where he's been called racist. Earlier this year, he posted a video in which he appeared to sing the N-word. In 2017, he joked about how he was afraid to go to Africa because of ebola. He later apologized for him joke...in a statement where he called Africa a country.
I feel uncomfortable when I see white muas try to talk like Rosa *cough cough* james charles *cough cough* thomas halbert— 🥀sad girl og 🥀 (@neongutzzz) March 2, 2020
I can’t watch the video of James Charles doing a Rosa Hispanic accent without thinking of his “Ew you’re Mexican” tweet ALDNDKSMDNFJE— Uriel 🌊 (@LionTrashCan) February 25, 2020
Saying James Charles isn’t racist for doing the Rosa impersonation just because he has “Mexican friends” is equivalent to white ppl saying “iM nOt RaScIsT mY FrIeNdS aRe BlAcK” I’m so tired— s (@_selz_) February 26, 2020
Others called the impression problematic, but for a very different reason. Some believed that James didn't really put on an accent and that he just sounded "white". By doing an impression of Rosa but changing her ethnicity, some called it gentrification.
However, other people came to James's defense. Well sort of. The general consensus of most people is that they aren't fans of his, but they don't think we should be calling someone racist for doing an impression.
This is an impersonation of Rosa on tik tok and 10 out of 10 LEMME TELL YOU. I am not offended. I dont speak for everyone and sure James Charles is... well james charles lmao and I'm not a fan but I don't think this is racist, he's not talking like that for no reason. IMO https://t.co/WAkhCKyljm— crust (@ChristyAlexiaS) February 25, 2020
Literally why are people mad ab James Charles remaking a Rosa video when plenty of white people have recreated it like shut up lol there’s other things to be mad ab 💀— jay 🧸 (@MrCaserole) February 26, 2020
James responded on Twitter and it didn't go over well.
Due to all the backlash for the video, James took it down. But he also addressed the comments online saying, "I get that a lot of people don't like me. I've learned to accept & understand it – but the extent to which the people on [Twitter] are willing to go to ruin my life is truly sad. I hope one day people find a way to feel validation without having to bash others for likes."
Immediately, the 20-year-old was inundated with comments saying that he shouldn't be making himself the victim.