Image by Tara Jacoby, featuring the shade artist at a young age.

Apropos of absolutely nothing, I’ve been having an extremely frustrating denim experience. I recently ordered a new pair of jeans in the same size and cut that I’ve purchased three previous times. When they arrived, the jeans didn’t fit. I returned them and reordered another pair. Then I ordered a second pair and decided to compare the two and return one.

WELL, when I finally got both pairs neither of them fit the way I wanted to. Now I’m going to simply go to the store and buy another pair that I had tried on before which is what I should have done in the first damn place. Mostly, this is just bitching about a very trivial problem but if you can take anything from these story let it be this: Don’t make life harder for yourself. It’s annoying and robs you of the joy of finding perfectly fitting denim.


In this week’s Shade Court, Drake tries his hardest, #brands #are #fighting and the final word on Pete Souza’s Instagram.

Shade Court Docket #2017JZ000054

Images via Getty.

The Case: After some strenuous few years of weightlifting, touring, recording, thirst trapping, duck lip facing and dating every woman he wrote about in his diary when he was younger, Drake is taking some much-deserved R&R.


His first stop was the obscenely expensive Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic. The only reason this matters—and even then, I’m using “matters” very loosely—is because Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez also stayed at the resort recently.

If you’ll remembering Drake and Jennifer “dated” when she wanted a bit of extra press ahead of the second season premiere of her show Shade of Blue and Drake needed to make sure he could get that sample of “If You Had My Love” cleared for he latest album.

While on vacation, Drake posted this to Instagram:

The Defendant: E! News

The Evidence:

The Deliberation: Okay, I’m going to address the first piece of evidence even though it’s not really the case at hand. The first article from E! News is a sort of guide to shading your exes using Drake’s actions as examples.

Look, I enjoy me some Drake but I refuse to believe a group of some the baddest women to ever walk this planet are crying about or could possibly be shaded by Drake. Rihanna is fucking Rihanna. End of story. Serena “23 Grand Slams” Williams is in love and pregnant and has enough hardware to build Drake a Tin Man complete with a ticking heart that never gets broken. Jennifer Lopez has finally found her male equivalent and has been winning just about every day of her glowed-up life. I mean, please. There are a lot other people Drake can and has shaded but this is not the group you want to come for.

With this fact in mind, I have a hard time believing Drake is effectively shading JLo. For starters, I think the timing of their vacations was an accident. The Dominican Republic is a great place! Who wouldn’t want to hang there? Further, I’m assuming there’s a rather finite supply of extremely high-end resorts on the island that people who love ostentatious wealth the way Drake, JLo and Alex Rodriguez do would enjoy. The vacation itself is not shade.

Then there’s the post. Even if it is directed at Jennifer, I can guarantee she has no idea. It’s too vague which is a phrase not often found in Shade Court. If anything, the caption “When she asks how much fun you’re having without her...” and accompanying photo seem to suggest the individual in question isn’t having fun without her. In which case, who the hell would that be shading?


I suppose there’s a chance I could be misreading the look on Draymond Green’s face and that’s somehow supposed to depict a man enjoying his single life but that still doesn’t support a shade ruling.

There’s also the fact that there’s almost no way Drake and Jennifer Lopez were dating in a serious way, negating the entire premise of this supposed shade.

The Ruling: Not shade

Shade Court Docket #2017JZ000055

Images via Getty, Sony Music, Aftermath Entertainment, Def Jam and Atlantic Records

The Case: Chance the Rapper famously bills himself as an independent artist due to the fact that he isn’t, and has never, signed with a record label. As you might imagine he holds a lot if disdain for record labels.


During a recent performance of his song “No Problem,” (which includes the line: “If one more label tries to stop me/It’s gon’ be some dreadhead niggas in ya lobby, huh huh”) Chance confirmed his feelings with a series of spoof logos and slogans for a number of large record labels. Via Uproxx:

As Chance performed “No Problem” a series of images were thrown up onto the screen depicting a number of famous, gigantic record labels logos, but each was given a different twist. Def Jam Records, became “Don’t Join Records.” Atlantic became “Titanic.” Aftermath Entertainment became “Can’t Do Math Entertainment.” Sony became “Phony.” And so on.

The Defendant: Uproxx

The Evidence:

The Deliberation: Ah yes, the understated art of mocking your opponent via wordplay plastered on giant screens in front of thousands of people.

Now you listen to me: PUT SOME RESPECT ON SHADE’S NAME.

Allow me to present an analogy.

Imagine someone lies to you about something small—stupidly small. Now, some might argue it makes more sense to get upset if they lied about something bigger or more important. However, for me, it is the lying about small shit that irritates me the most because WHY WOULD YOU EVEN BOTHER? Frankly, I understand lying about big things—there might be a legitimate reason you don’t want to tell the truth. But if we’re talking about something small and inconsequential, it strikes me as much dumber to go through the bother of lying when it wouldn’t matter in the first place!!!!


In that slightly unhinged rant lies a nugget of truth about shade. When you’re poking at someone in small, petty way, that can have a bigger impact than a more overt slam. It’s much more frustrating and harder to respond a petty dig or “was that really directed at me?” Instagram post than clapping back at someone who is screaming at you.

All that to say, this shit ain’t shade. Not remotely.

The Ruling: Not shade

Shade Court Docket #2017JZ000056

Images via Balenciaga and Ikea

The Case: Balenciaga is selling a $2,000 tote bag that looks an awful lot like Ikea’s ubiquitous $0.99 shopping bags.

Images via Balenciaga and Ikea

In response to this hilarious and grotesque display of opulence and unoriginality, Ikea released an ad pointing out the differences between the two products:

The Defendant: Refinery29

The Evidence:

Writes Refinery29:

And, sorry, but they’re right on all counts. The shade here is blinding, so if we could add a fifth pro-tip to the ad, we’d say “It doubles as a shade cover as well.” IKEA: 1, Balenciaga: 0.

The Deliberation: I mean, why are they even wasting my time like this?

The Ruling: Not shade

A Very Special Word From Judge Brown Regarding Former White House Photographer Pete Souza’s Alleged Shade

Images via Getty

Take a stroll with me down memory lane back to the days when the realities of a Trump presidency were somehow both more and less terrifying.


Now out of the job, former White House photographer Pete Souza fired up a new Instagram account dedicated almost solely to the beautiful nostalgia of the Barack Obama White House. When he started, Souza was much more sly with his intentions. Keen followers noticed how Souza’s posts seemed to perfectly align with what was going on in Trump’s administration but his choices usually weren’t obvious at first glance.

When Donald Trump wasn’t even able to book a Bruce Springsteen cover band to perform at his inauguration, Souza posted this:

Rumors started to swirl that Melania Trump wasn’t even moving into the White House with her husband and he throws down this little memory of Michelle Obama traveling to Prague with President Obama.

These were good—even I approved! For the most part, you had to take a second to figure out what he was reference and isn’t that “Ah Ha!” moment so perfectly sweet? Still, if there’s one thing we should have learned by now is nothing good lasts forever.


Somewhere along the way Souza took a turn. Perhaps he realized it’s damn near impossible to shade a buffoon like Trump. Maybe he, like many of us, simply got too upset to keep up the charade of civility. No matter the reason, at some point, Pete Souza started wildin’.

Things began to shift around the time President Bannon was trying to pass his healthcare plan. Souza—god love him because he probably just couldn’t help himself—began composing long-ass captions fully explaining how he felt and the differences between these two men.

What is subtle about that? NOTHING, THAT’S WHAT. That’s a long-ass Instagram caption.

Even when the captions weren’t long, they were so pointed as to leave no room for interpretation about what he’s trying to do.


At this point, Souza is openly mocking the Trump administration and yet you people still won’t stop.

From New York magazine:


People magazine:


WOULD YA JUST STOP ALREADY? Yes, in the beginning, Pete Souza was throwing what could reasonably be considered shade. But just like our sanity and sense of safety, those days are gone. Only a fool would continue reading these very obvious jabs as shade and you are not a fool, are you?


I already told you this was over. Enough is enough. Come up with better headlines and have some goddamn respect for the true, untouchable magic of real shade.