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

A new month is upon is, I can almost smell the warm summer air and yet for some reason, retailers are trying to sell me velvet sundresses. Now that we’re on the subject of ridiculous things, let’s go to court.

In this week’s Shade Court, there’s an airline showdown, the Washington Post is giving me a headache, and we’re introduced to something new in Court.

Shade Court Docket #2017JZ000043

Images via Delta and United

The Case: A United Airlines employee on a power trip refused to let three girls board a plane due to their offensive decision to wear leggings. Drama ensued and the internet weighed in, including Delta, who spotted an opportunity and went for it.

The Defendant: Everyone

The Evidence:


The Huffington Post:

The Deliberation: I think you know where we’re going here. Had they simply tweeted: “Flying Delta means comfort” and called it a day, they’d be enjoying a positive return on their Shade Court experience.

Instead, some eager social media manager really, really wanted to make sure everrryyyybody got the joke. They might as well have said: Flying Delta means comfort....Get it? Because United won’t let you wear your comfortable leggings.............................................................................................................................................................................................................................GET IT?

It’s almost cute when airlines try to act like they’re not all garbage corporations who will soon be charging us a fee just to breathe the recycled, coffee-scented air they circulate onboard.

Subtly is not a quality possessed by many corporations and I’d expect nothing less than a valiant attempt to do something cool and then an immediate undermining of that coolness.

Good burn, though.

The Ruling: Not shade

Shade Court Docket #2017JZ000044

Images via Getty and the Washington Post

The Case: Donald Trump is a terrible president and the polls are representing as much—this idiot is just hit a new low with a 36% approval rating. The failing Washington Post reported on the fact that everybody fucking hates Donald Trump.

The Defendant: The Washington Post

The Evidence:

Since you can’t spell “schadenfreude” without “shade,” Trump-haters on social media are gloating about the latest daily polling released from Gallup. Last week, they were celebrating Trump’s reaching 37 percent, a low for his presidency that was already lower than the lowest Obama ever got. After Trump recovered somewhat, another plunge: Gallup now estimates he’s at 36 percent.

The Deliberation:

Since you can’t spell “schadenfreude” without “shade,”

Since you can’t spell “schadenfreude” without “shade,”

Since you can’t spell “schadenfreude” without “shade,”

Since you can’t spell “schadenfreude” without “shade,”

WHYYYYYYY? Why why why why why why why why why?

Again, I ask: What the hell is the Washington Post doing? Is this supposed to be funny? Hip? Seriously what do these people think they’re doing? Is this some weird ploy to increase their millennial readership? Is Regina George’s mother now the editor of the Washington Post? Does a single soul employed by the Washington Post actually know what shade means?


Allow me to go on a brief semi-tangent. Every once in a while, when I’m cleaning out files on my computer, I come across essays I wrote in high school. Obviously they’re pretty terrible, but they’re good for a high schooler, I suppose. As I’m reading, I’ll come across a particular sentence or a title that is embarrassing clunky, prosaic or plain stupid and I’ll hate for myself for a minute before I remember: Oh yeah Kara, you were 16. People give you money to write now. It’s fine.

All of this to say, that introduction is markedly worse than the beginning of my 10th grade essay on Othello, which read: “Human emotions can be wonderful and dangerous.”

The Ruling: Not shade

Amicus Briefs

This is new, right?

When I opened the doors to my hallowed chambers it was with the intention of bringing justice to shade—specifically, cracking down on the many publications who misuse shade. It was a noble cause and a good cause and one I will continue to pursue. However, the times are somewhat different. Unfortunately, I continue to find myself with plenty of cases against writers and editors who have lost their damn minds. I have also seen an increase in solicitations from the general public who turn to me for their shade conundrums.


They generally are not bringing a case against anyone, merely wondering whether or not what they’ve just witnessed or read is, in fact, shade. These questions aren’t suitable for trial in Shade Court but have found a home in a new section of Shade Court devoted to amicus briefs which will discuss such matters.

No. 17-001

Image via Twitter

Visit Oakland vs. the Oakland Raiders

The Question Presented: Is this shade?

The Case: A group of rich old white men who profit directly off of the excellence of black men voted to move the Oakland Raiders of the NFL from Oakland to Las Vegas.


The next day, Visit Oakland—some sort of marketing organization for the city of Oakland—posted this on Instagram.

The Argument: Here’s the funniest part about all this: Visit Oakland probably had this planned for some time now considering they were promoting something called “A’s Spirit Week.” It’s very possible this wasn’t at all intentional but rather, a happy coincidence.


However, intentional or not, this is rude as hell. It’s really the #RootedInOakland hashtag that brings this home. Oakland’s NFL just bounced and the Athletics would like to remind you at they, by the way, are here and don’t plan on going nowhere.

The shade lives nestled cozily in the almost possibility that this was all planned well before the Raiders move became a reality—giving everyone involved plausible deniability. Still, whether this was masterminded or a complete accident, they made their point.

The Conclusion: Shade

No. 17-002

Images via Getty.

Alec Baldwin vs. Jeff Richmond

The Case: Alec Baldwin wrote his own Vanity Fair cover story which included an anecdote about meeting Tina Fey’s husband for the first time.

When Lorne finished giving his notes after the dress rehearsal, I asked Marci Klein, who coordinated the talent, if Tina was single. She pointed to a man sitting along the wall. Or maybe he was standing? This was Jeff Richmond, Tina’s husband. Jeff is diminutive. Tina describes him as “travel-size.” When I saw him, I thought, What’s she doing with him? With his spools of curly brown hair and oversize eyes, Jeff resembles a Margaret Keane painting.

The Argument: Though it’s probably quite obvious, I’ll note that Tina Fey’s husband, Jeff Richmond is indeed rather short.


Is anyone really surprised Alec Baldwin doesn’t know when to quit? He ran into the same issue as Delta wherein they had the shade right there in the palm of their hands, yet they let it slip away because they just couldn’t fucking help themselves.

Still, I do understand why Baldwin had to expand on his little quip because he’s telling a story and need to, you know, tell the story. For that reason, I’ll allow the bolded sentences to exist in sort of a vacuum. The fact is, even when the extra wordage, the shade breaks through. It’s one thing to call the man short—it’s something entirely different to say he’s so short you couldn’t tell if he was sitting or standing.

I also love how he presented it as a question: Oh hm, am I remember that correctly? Yes, maybe I am.


Because that line is somewhere between a dagger and the perfect throwaway I-was-just-thinking-outloud moment. For that reason, I’ll ignore the superfluous and focus on the beautiful things life sometimes throws our way.

The Conclusion: Shade