Shane Dawson has been a prominent figure on YouTube for over 10 years now. When the platform first began, it was merely a place for people to share clips with family and friends. Sometimes videos would go viral, but these usually amounted no more than videos of animals doing cute things.
When the first set of YouTubers began popping up, nobody thought they would be able to turn their presence on the platform into a career. Yet, in 2019, YouTube is known as a platform where creators can monetize their videos and earn a fairly good revenue. If you develop enough of an audience, YouTube can be your full time job.
Shane Dawson is one of those rare figures on the site who has stuck around since his start. Dawson is one of the platform's original YouTubers, posting his first video in 2007. He started making comedy skits and moved into doing vlogs. This has led him to doing the lengthy documentary-style videos he's doing now.
One of the things Dawson has done so well is keeping up with trends. His ability to tap into what is going on with internet culture and the kind of videos gaining popularity on YouTube is key to his success. It's also key to his staying power. Many creators who began at the time Dawson started aren't around anymore. The fact that Dawson still brings in a monumental amount of views is astounding.
His latest series, "The Beautiful World of Jeffree Star," was built as a look inside the beauty world. However, it has felt pretty boring, since it was mostly documenting business meetings. The meetings were for Dawson and Star's new palette, on sale today. The whole series has felt like one long commercial rather than a documentary
The beauty community has been known for their drama on YouTube. James Charles was at the center of what was arguably the biggest drama the platform has ever seen.
A creator named Tati Westbrook posted a video calling Charles out for promoting a competitor's vitamin brand. Westbrook and Charles were friends and she claimed to have felt betrayed by him. She also made allegations that he sexually harassed straight men and tried to turn them gay. Jeffree Star involved himself in the situation by calling Charles a predator and cut professional ties with him.
Charles followed these allegations by posting his own video, debunking all the allegations. In his video, Charles showed screenshots of text messages and other forms of proof that Westbrook and Star were lying. Westbrook responded claiming to stand by her video and Star threatened to expose Charles. However, when the time came to post a video, Star just said that he would be putting an end to the drama. Alas, no proof or evidence of anything was provided the way he promised.
When the trailer for Dawson's documentary series premiered, the James Charles drama was one of many things portrayed. It looked like Dawson was going to cover the situation in his series. However, after six episodes, there hasn't been a single mention of it.
Dawson may have decided to omit the drama from his series at the last minute. If that were the case, he should've tweeted about his decision and deleted the trailer from his channel. He could've even posted about his decision in a pinned comment or in the video's description. Otherwise, it just feels like a misleading way to get more views. However, there is still a chance the series isn't over and the drama will be covered in a future episode.
What I will say is, I hope he covers the topic fairly if he decides to include it in his series. From my perspective, it looked like Westbrook and Star conspired to destroy Charles' career for competitive reasons. It was revealed in the series that Charles could've had a palette coming out at the same time as Dawson's. This could've been a possible motive for Star's involvement. Again, I'm not stating that as fact, but that's what it looks like to me.
Dawson and Andrew Siwicki have proved to be a great team in the editing room. They do a great job at putting a very professional touch on what could be regular YouTube vlogs. However, in this new series, the editing can get overwhelming. They regularly show several things happening at once. They keep cutting back and forth to different scenes. Sometimes this works as intended. However, more often than not, it becomes hard to keep track of what's going on.
One of the main issues I have with what has been shown in the series, is Dawson's motives for creating this palette. When Dawson did his first series on Jeffree Star, it starts with him going to Star's home. Dawson is amazed by how wealthy Star is and his shock continues when he visits his warehouse.
It's clear that Dawson is impressed with how much money is in the makeup business. When Star proposes a possible collaboration to Dawson later on in the series, it's clear that Dawson is swept off his feet.
Money seems to be his main motive for getting involved with makeup. This is amplified by his comments at the start of this new series. Dawson claims to have never been smart with financial or business decisions. However, it was hard to feel sorry for him since he was saying all this in his new lavish mansion. A mansion he was able to buy with the money he made from his YouTube ad revenue. The fact that he had two books appearing on the New York Times Bestsellers list couldn't have hurt, either.
That isn't to say there isn't some truth to what Dawson said or that there's anything wrong with wanting to make money. However, when someone gets involved in a business venture because they see a huge payday, it feels less than genuine. Say what you want about Jeffree Star, but he seems to be genuinely passionate about makeup. It has always been part of his look. Yet, makeup was never something Dawson wore in his everyday life or seemed to know much about.
It is said in the series that Dawson has become passionate about makeup and learned a lot. He displays his skills on his cameraman and co-editor, Andrew Siwicki. It's clear Dawson has immersed himself in the makeup world and probably even enjoys it. However, his motivation for becoming so knowledgeable still seems to be financially motivated and not from a genuine passion for makeup.
The lack of genuineness is something that has turned me off from Dawson's content in the past two years. His overreactions on camera is something many called him out for in his series on Jake Paul. Dawson says he does this to make his videos more entertaining. I understand his point, but there are times it works and times it doesn't. When Dawson used to do comedic videos where he was trying to be over the top and funny, it made sense. But when he tries to pass it off as a serious reaction, it gets stale quickly.
Don't get me wrong, I wish Shane Dawson the best. Hopefully his new makeup line is as successful as he hopes it to be.
The only thing I ask of him is to change up his style and work on being more genuine. Audiences pick up on what's real and what's not. Dawson has done the impossible: maintained a steady presence on YouTube for over a decade. If he wants to keep that up, he would be smart to listen to constructive criticism.