A popular hair product is allegedly ruining people’s hair, Barnes & Noble pulls its Diverse Editions project after online backlash, TikTok verified a (fake) Kendall Jenner account, an Amazon Dating parody account is “selling” dates, and Starbucks employees are pushing back against the company’s ad. Those stories and more on this week’s viral list…
Influencers Are Turning on DevaCurl
DevaCurl is a hair product line that has been around since the early ‘90s, with hair stylists and customers swearing by the line for maintaining curly hair. It even once got a shoutout on Broad City. But in the last few months, some influencers on YouTube have been calling out the product for reportedly ruining their hair—most notably Ayesha Malik who posted the video “Why I Stopped Using DevaCurl” alleging that she suffers from severe hair and scalp damage from years of DevaCurl use. Previously, she’d recommended the products after paid partnerships with the company. The video has received over a million views and has led other YouTubers to go public about similar experiences using the products. Hair stylist Stephanie Mero (a.k.a the CurlNinja) started posting videos about the DevaCurl in the summer and has been encouraging her viewers to file complaints to the FDA. DevaCurl responded to the claims with a public statement saying they conducted tests on products with an “independent third-party toxicologist” who did not find any safety issues.
Barnes & Noble’s Diverse Editions Project Causes Backlash
On Tuesday, Barnes & Noble (in a partnership with Penguin Random House and advertising company WBWA) unveiled limited edition book jackets featuring characters of color on the covers of classic novels like The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, Romeo & Juliet. In honor of Black History Month, these more diverse imaginings of iconic heroes and heroines were going to be sold at their Fifth Avenue location in NYC. However, Twitter wasn’t happy about the campaign. Many users called the launch insensitive, and writers like Rod T. Faulker and LL McKinney accused the project of “literary blackface” (in a post that has 1.1K likes). Others suggested that the publisher should have instead held a campaign featuring books written by authors of color. As the backlash continued to grow this week, the bookseller announced on Twitter that it was acknowledging “the voices who have expressed concerns about the Diverse Editions project” and would be pulling the project and cancelling the accompanying event.
TikTok’s Kendall Jenner Mistake
On Monday, Kendall Jenner joined TikTok under the username “kendalljenner”—or so it seemed. The account quickly amassed half a million followers and the platform verified it with a blue checkmark. The only problem? It wasn’t actually Jenner, and the fake was deleted in less than 24 hours. The two videos posted were from the model’s 2019 Instagram Stories and merely reuploaded with different music by the user responsible for the imposter account. While the app hasn’t directly responded to the situation, their website states they only give users the coveted checkmark after they have verified “the account belongs to the user it represents.” While this particular account was not real, there has been a surge of young celebrities actually joining the short-form video platform from the cast members of Riverdale to Justin Bieber— who has utilized the app to promote his single “Yummy.”
A Parody Amazon Dating Site “Selling” Singles Causes Mixed Reactions
To poke fun at dating apps like Tinder and Bumble, animation company Thinko created a satirical Amazon Dating app with the tagline “Hot Singles Near You starting at $4.99 Prime delivery.” Their announcement post on Twitter has received over 2.8K likes and 1.6K retweets. The layout of the site perfectly mimics the original ecommerce site except instead of products, various people are featured at different price points and include descriptions like “owns every Glossier product” or “Disney+ stan.” Each profile includes faux reviews, and there’s even a fake “Non-Ghosting Agreement.” While some found the project funny, others thought it was creepy, saying that putting a price on a person—even as a joke—is problematic, especially during Black History Month. The creators of the site told Mashable, “We’re such huge fans of Amazon…and dating. So we thought, why not combine the two.” As for the real Amazon, a spokesperson told Business Insider they had “no comment” on the fake dating service.
Some Are Praising Starbucks’s New Trans-Positive Ad, While Employees Call It Fake
Starbucks UK shared a new ad on Twitter that has garnered 6.1M views—and some mixed reactions. In the 90-second spot, a trans teen named James is seen navigating his daily life constantly being referred to as “Jemma”—his former name—by his family and peers. It’s not until a barista at Starbucks asks for his name and writes “James” on the cup that someone refers to him by his correct name. While many have praised the spot (including Mermaids, a U.K.-based organized that supports transgender youth and partnered with the brand to raise money), former and current trans employees around the world are instead calling the company out on Twitter. They say Starbucks’ “publicly declared values” don’t align with how they actually treat their workers. In a post that has received over 22.8K retweets and 86K likes, @teejleaks told followers: “starbucks wouldn’t let me change my name on my login unless i legally changed it. they have also denied multiple trans employee’s request for gender confirming surgery. i have been outed by every manager about my trans identity without my consent.” Starbucks declined to acknowledge any individual allegations, and a spokesperson told BuzzFeed News they “take great pride in providing a warm and welcoming environment for everyone, and intentional misgendering is not acceptable conduct at Starbucks.”
Links We’re Passing:
#chooseone is one of the latest TikTok trends (and some are hilarious).
To All The Boys’ Lana Condor just launched a YouTube channel.
Billie Eilish is on the cover of this month’s Vogue—and one of the digital covers features a drawing of the musician by a 16-year-old artist who was discovered on Instagram.
Lil Nas X’s pays homage to popular ‘90s flicks in his new music video for “Rodeo.”
The first episode of Justin Bieber’s docuseries is the most viewed YouTube Original to date.
Selena Gomez’s makeup line Rare Beauty is dropping this summer at Sephora.
The Little Women cast took old fashioned, 1880s-style photos—and they’re so convincing.
The Academy *might’ve* accidentally tweeted out its own predictions days before the Oscars.