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

Citizens, let me remind you that even your own Judge Brown is not immune to her civic duties. I spent the morning at jury duty unable to try these important shade cases until later than usual. But I have returned and am back to slowly cranking this equally important wheel of justice.

In this week’s Shade Court, Sean Spicer gets owned, Madonna shows some restraint, and how are we still talking about Remy Ma and Nicki Minaj?

Shade Court Docket #2017JZ000045

Images via Getty.

The Case: Good lordy lord how are we still talking about this? You know the story. Remy Ma dropped a murderous ether on Nicki Minaj who didn’t seem to care too much while she skipped around Paris Fashion Week. What seemed like months after Remy’s initial diss track, Nicki released a new single that predictably took aim at her now-enemy.

The Defendant: Complex

The Evidence:

The Deliberation: This almost isn’t even fun because their heart truly isn’t in it. I mean, “Nuclear Shade bomb,” really? That’s it? Even the blonde guy who pulled the short straw seems to know this is just sad.

Even when certain publications or people completely desecrate the sanctity shade, at least they do it with a bit of flair—some really ignorant pizzazz. Come on guys, put your back into this embarrassing misuse of slang! Sheryl Sandberg that shit and lean in to a bad idea that’s not going to work anyway except to enrich yourself and your brand.

On one hand, terrible shade usage does spike my blood pressure and shaves about 7.8 seconds off my life with every occurrence. Still—and I may regret saying this—I think I prefer the more vivacious errors to the boring ones. I also predict I will completely regret saying that in 72 hours or less.

The Ruling: Not shade

Shade Court Docket #2017JZ000046

Images via Getty and Twitter

The Case: Sean Spicer, of the Washington DC Liar McLying Motherfuckers, recently called ProPublica, the nonprofit investigative journalism publication, a “left wing blog.” ProPublica responded by throwing down every last one of the receipts they had about the deception, incompetence and corruption of the Trump Administration.

The Defendant: These people

The Evidence:

The Deliberation: Truly, has there ever been a better example of a flat-out read in this courtroom? ProPublica showed up with diagrams and links and full-on investigations. I’m so unsure how a living person could consider this shade to the point that I’m legitimately worried about those who did.


No one with even a cursory understanding of shade would label this as such, so I’m forced to assume someone told these people shade means the exact opposite of its real definition. WORDS MATTER AND THEY MEAN THINGS, CITIZENS. The definitions of words are not some sort of of a sarong that you can tie into a million different looks, be it strapless dress, halter dress, a skirt, a simple shawl or whatever the hell those sarong-wrapping wizards are able to concoct.

Shade, when we’re not talking about a simple lack of sunlight, has a meaning. That meaning means something and is a real thing with meaning that means something. How could I possibly be more clear?

The Ruling: Not shade

Shade Court Docket #2017JZ000047

Image via Getty, Screenshot via Pepsi

The Case: By now you know all about that inane Pepsi commercial starring our sister in resistance, the Reverend Kendall Jenner X Jr.


Following the backlash against the ad and Pepsi’s subsequent decision to pull it, Madonna tore herself away from a Malawian orphanage to post this on Instagram:

The Defendant: People magazine

The Evidence:

The Deliberation: Oh Madonna, you are so thirsty but sometimes you do get it right.


She smartly decided against some longwinded caption considering those haven’t always gone well for her. No, she kept it simple and was even willing to post a rather unflattering picture to get her point across—that’s dedication. At the end of the day, it’s still a petty attention grab—but at least it’s a petty attention grab that also managed to be shady.

In the interest of mercy, I’m ignoring the Instagram Madonna posted before this one where she directly calls out Pepsi and reminds us all that they pulled her ad from the air in 1989 due to controversy.

This would have been much better had she simply posted her little Coke picture and kept it moving, but this is Madonna we’re talking about and I am unable to reside anywhere other than reality. This is as subtle as she was gonna get.

The Ruling: Shade

Shade Court Docket #2017JZ000048

Images via Twitter

The Case: This is one is a bit involved so stay with me. A dweeb named Andrew Bowen was a columnist for Arab News. The publication fired Bowen and explained his departure with this statement, pulled by GQ:

The reason behind this decision is the columnist insisting that this newspaper deletes previous articles dating back prior to the recent US election where he was in favor of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Bowen, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, has repeatedly requested the removal of these articles stating that this is needed for him “to be cleared” for what he claims to be a possible job with the new Donald Trump administration’s State Department.

The statement ended with:

We wish Mr. Bowen the best of luck in his job application.

The Defendant: GQ

The Evidence:

Arab News Fired a Columnist Who Wanted to Work for Trump with the Most Delicious Shade Imaginable

The Deliberation: I love the tone of the Arab News statement: Oh we’re just doing our due diligence and explaining to our readers in a very professional manner why this dude no longer works here. Nothing special! Just pointing out how his crushing hypocrisy complete lack of morals got his ass bounced while simultaneously undermining his ability to secure his next position. That’s all!


This is just so rude and casually petulant I’m going to forgive the fact that they removed it from their site.

Of course, Bowen will probably get the job anyway because when has the Trump crew ever cared about ethics and consistency? This is obviously not “the most delicious shade imaginable” but you take any victory you can get these days.

The Ruling: Shade