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

It is rather appropriate that Labor Day is approaching us, because my back is sore from the hard labor of carrying the weight of imbecilic uses of shade. There were so many horrific shade abuses this week it was truly difficult to pick only a few.

Still, I am here and I am here to serve, no matter how difficult the job gets. Please remember, as you celebrate this weekend, to honor the laborers and honor the shade.

In this week’s Shade Court, Refinery29, People Magazine and Rachel Dolezal all try to kill me.

Shade Court Docket #2015JZ000168

Images via AP and Getty.

The Case: Chrissy Tiegen took to her favorite medium for a rant about the harbinger of evil and poorly told lies that is Donald Trump’s national spokesperson, Katrina Pierson.

The Defendant: Refinery29

The Evidence: Following an exhaustive rehashing of Teigen’s tweets, they wrote this:

She ended her Twitterstorm with a clip from The Office. The clip? When Darryl tells Michael Scott, “You’re a very brave man. I mean, it takes courage just to be you. To get out of bed every single day knowing full well you gotta be you.” He also adds, “I ain’t that strong and I ain’t that brave.”

Teigen simply wrote, “Darryl says it best, @KatrinaPierson.”

Oh, the shade.

The Deliberation: What is happening? What is happening? Is all of this for naught? Am I speaking into an abyss?! At times like this I wonder if the arc of history truly does bend towards justice because it is downright unlawful for someone to look at anything about this situation and dub it shade.


Chrissy Tiegen publicly berated this woman for almost twenty minutes. And she tagged her in the tweets. You almost never tag someone when you’re shading them!!! That’s the whole point: “I don’t tell you you’re ugly but I don’t have to tell you because you know you’re ugly.”

It’s almost hard to even be upset at the writer personally because this feels like a gross failure of our education system. The children are being left behind! How can they possibly hope to be world-class divas or President of the United States if they don’t know how to throw shade properly?

We have left the children, y’all. We left them way back in a far away world where RuPaul’s Drag Race doesn’t exist and Mariah Carey doesn’t slink around in evening gowns at 2:37 pm. Think of the children.

The Ruling: Not shade

Shade Court Docket #2015JZ000169

Excellent graphic via yours truly. Screenshot via The Real.

The Case: Voldemort with a tan announced that she was invited to and will be attending a black hair rally in Dallas. Following this news, sane people everywhere assumed the designated position one must take when encountered with any information about Voldemort with a tan. Allow this emoji to demonstrate:

The Defendant: Voldemort with a tan

The Evidence:



Excuse me. I have now recovered from my stroke. I appreciate all your thoughts and prayers.

There is, of course, nothing surprising about a white woman who gets her jollies by pretending to be black misusing shade. Still, pardon me if I’m giving her too much credit, but I might argue she actually does know shade is the wrong word to use here but said it anyway because how else is she going to remind people she’s down?

That being said, ain’t nobody shaded Voldemort with a tan her in life. Since it was revealed that she is, in fact, Voldemort with tan, all the criticism leveled against her has been boldfaced and loud. Admittedly, I found Voldemort with a tan’s “natural hair” schtick pretty hilarious a year ago, but she has taken far, far too much country.


On a more serious note, let me remind you that a group of black girls in South Africa have to protest their own school to defend the right to wear their hair in its natural state. Meanwhile, this clown is still playing dress up with hairstyles for which we—actual black women—have been mocked and discriminated against for centuries.

The Ruling: Not it’s not shade, you psycho

Shade Court Docket #2015JZ000170

Images via Getty.

The Case: Jonathan Chait wrote an article for New York about Donald Trump because unfortunately this isn’t just a nightmare you had after eating a bowl of onion rings before bed. The piece included this jaunty little line:

That tension is on display in Trump’s visit to Mexico today. Kellyanne Conway, who is Trump’s campaign manager this month, promises the candidate will act “very presidential” and make nice.

The Defendant: Adam Smith

The Evidence:

The Deliberation: I’ll start with a gold star for Chait because yes, this is some rather good shade. Part of me finds it funny that anyone would bother throwing shade a Donald Trump because he’s such a blowhard imbecile you might as well play rough.


Donald Trump’s big top of a campaign has been cycling through campaign managers like I go through bottles of sauvignon blanc to soothe my nerves about the possibility of this man becoming our commander-in-chief. The line works so well because it is both accurate and rude.

Now, I hate to harp on the negative but I feel it is the only way to make this twitch in my eye go away. The phrase “subtle shade” is redundant and very bad. Before I read the article, I just assumed our friend Adam here had misused “shade” because anyone who feels the need to qualify shade as subtle probably doesn’t know what it means.

For what I hope is, but know won’t be the last time: stop goddamn saying “subtle shade.” That’s like saying an “illegal crime.” In order for a crime to even be a crime, it has to be illegal. No need for the extraneous adjective! Subtlety is in shade’s DNA, like the delicate flip of the wrist that creates the perfect cat-eye. Stop this right now.

The Ruling: Shade

Shade Court Docket #2015JZ000171

Images via Getty.

The Case: A producer for Keeping Up With the Kardashians made Kim Kardashian wear a very small dress in one of their episodes. This riled up her sister Khloé who then literally berated Kim for wearing a small dress.

“Oh my – you’ve got to get out of here,” says Khloé, 32, laughing as she eyes Kim’s skintight black minidress and choker.

“What?” Kim says as Rob starts laughing.

“Kimberly – how much are you?!” Khloé demands.

Kim, 35, acknowledges the outfit might be a little much.

“I know, the neighbor did kind of look at me like: ‘Hooker city,’ “ she admits, laughing. “I did feel uncomfortable for one second.”

“You literally look like Rob paid for you,” says Khloé. “I literally just dropped my jaw when I saw you. Wow.”

Well, it ain’t Ibsen.

The Defendant: People magazine

The Evidence:

The Deliberation: Kim wore a small dress. Khloé called her a prostitute. That’s about it!


Now, I am not at all condoning this, but if Khloé had actually wanted to throw shade, she would, let’s say, slowly and silently open her wallet and slide a crisp Benjamin across the kitchen counter, turn around and leave the room. Kim would gingerly pick up the bill, hold it up to the light and as she carefully begins to fold the cash and nestle it into her bosom—for, a purse does not really go with this outfit—a light would flicker behind her eyes. “Oh,” she’d mumble in that baby voice that has made her millions. “Oh.”

Instead, Khloé screamed.

The Ruling: Not shade