If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past month, then you have likely seen at least one news story including the names James Charles and Tati Westbrook. The two are makeup gurus and beauty YouTubers, offering first impressions and reviews of products, as well as tutorials for various makeup looks.
While they have been friends for over three years, drama surfaced when James Charles posted a social media story promoting a vitamin brand that is the number one competitor of Westbrook’s company Halo Beauty. The issue became very public, and thousands of people weighed in on the situation, offering their theories and synopses of the pair’s friendship.
So in the world of beauty, where does parkour come in? The answer is Sam Cooke.
Samuel or Sam Cooke was a busser at John Howie, the restaurant at which Westbrook and her friends celebrated her birthday this past February. In her video, Westbrook stated that Charles has used his celebrity, money, and power to manipulate the sexualities of young men who are still uncertain of their identities. Case in point was Sam Cooke, whom Charles had been eyeing throughout Westbrook’s birthday dinner. However, in his final video on the subject, titled No More Lies, which now has over 44 million views, Charles offers screenshots of conversations with Cooke, as well as clips from Cooke’s video response to the situation, indicating that their interactions were purely consensual.
Cooke’s full instagram username is sam.cookepkfr. Being the girlfriend of a parkour athlete, I recognized that the letters pk and fr stood for parkour and freerunning, so I was curious to check out his account. Lo and behold, I found a young 20-year-old training precision jumps on railings and entire lines of kongs and twists. I asked my boyfriend to check out his account, and apparently not only is he good, but he has met him before. What a small world.
So many videos and blog posts have been published online about the drama between Charles and Westbrook, and I don’t want to weigh in on it because I wasn’t there. I think it could have been, and should have been, handled offline solely between the involved parties, but instead Charles, Westbrook, Cooke, and numerous drama channels have made response videos. Who knows, maybe the spotlight on Cooke will bring parkour and freerunning more recognition.
Everyone makes mistakes, and I think mistakes escalate when emotions are involved. All the people involved in the drama could likely benefit from the wise words of David Belle: “The best part of falling is getting back up again.” I hope that the people involved all get back up and move forward, spreading positivity and continuing to contribute to the beauty community.