Happy Bey Day and welcome to Shade Court. We’re heading into Labor Day weekend, where we celebrate the sacrifices of the American labor movement. (Thanks Wikipedia.) I don’t know for sure whether or not judges qualify as part of the labor movement, but this sure feels like a lot of work.
In this week’s Shade Court, Cool Pope Francis is back, everyone continue not to know what they’re talking about and Tom Ford pulls us into the shady world of fashion.
The Case: Recently, Cool Pope Francis sorta of loosed the rules on the whole, “women who get abortions are banished to hell for all eternity” business. This came in the form of an official Pope decree. (Is that a thing? Good lord, I actually made my First Communion. Don’t tell anyone.)
The tragedy of abortion is experienced by some with a superficial awareness, as if not realizing the extreme harm that such an act entails. Many others, on the other hand, although experiencing this moment as a defeat, believe that they have no other option. I think in particular of all the women who have resorted to abortion. I am well aware of the pressure that has led them to this decision. I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal. […]
For this reason too, I have decided, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, to concede to all priests for the Jubilee Year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it.
This matters (to some) because previously, bishops were the only ones running the show when it came to being able to forgive women (HA) for abortions.
The Defendant: Fusion
The Deliberation: This feels like is a pretty dorky usage of shade. It’s basically a Catholic Church hierarchy dig, which, GIRL I GUESS.
This might be better if we had some evidence of Pope Francis not getting along with the bishops and therefore taking this opportunity to knock ‘em down a peg. And who knows, that may very well be true, but we have a long weekend up and this honor is not interested in digging around about the personal politics between a whole bunch of old men.
I can imagine that Cool Pope has been rubbing people the wrong way for awhile now, though, what with all his Pope chillness and introducing nuance to the Catholic Church instead of painting all issues with the same uniform brush. So maybe he is letting the bishops know that the times are changing and they need to get with the program. What I’m saying is I appreciate that the writer’s mind was in the right place here. This certainly was subtle, and has all the trappings of shade. She tried, and didn’t embarrass herself, so I’ll be kind.
The Ruling: Shade
The Case: Dear god, by now you know painfully well what happened. After Miley Cyrus gave one of the dumbest, whitesplain-y, tone-deaf and tone-policing interviews of all time, many were wondering how Nicki would respond.
She gave us her answer on Sunday at the Video Music Awards where she delivered the rhetorical question heard ‘round the world: “Miley what’s good?”
She also called Miley Cyrus a bitch and called her out for talking shit in the press.
The Defendant: A lot of damn fools
The Deliberation: “Does shade.” I shudder.
Immediately after the words came out of Nicki’s mouth, many people cried “scripted!” because it is the VMAs, after all. However, I’m choosing to believe that this wasn’t staged because a) I want to believe that justice was served and b) It doesn’t really change the outcome to know whether it was real or not.
Let’s say that MTV crafted Nicki’s clapback—because I hope you all know by now that that was not and could never be shade. It would be pretty dumb if Miley agreed to this because Nicki had the best lines and Miley’s response was so damn corny. But maybe Miley said yes to some one-sided skit as a way of getting back on Nicki’s good side, or perhaps the writers at MTV had something better written for her and she simply fumbled the script. I don’t know and I don’t care. Real or not, Nicki got to clap back at Miley on national television and I’ll take it.
The Ruling: Literally never
The Case: Keith Richards, who I primarily know was the inspiration for Johnny Depp’s role as Captain Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean, was talking to the New York Daily News about whatever bloopity bloop. During the interview, he went in on hip hop and current rock bands because you need at least a little relevancy to sell records.
“Rap—so many words, so little said. What rap did that was impressive was to show there are so many tone-deaf people out there. All they need is a drum beat and somebody yelling over it and they’re happy. There’s an enormous market for people who can’t tell one note from another.”
OK, whatever, old man.
The Defendant: Fuse TV
The Deliberation: To all the writers out there with some sense: Stop letting someone write these terrible tweets and headlines for you! Do not let anyone but yourself be the reason why you wind up in Shade Court.
The word “shade” doesn’t appear anywhere in the actual article, but some desperately lame social media director had to go and fuck everything up. No, Keith Richards did not shade anybody because lol @ Keith Richards.
All he did was put down the Bengay and be that annoying out-of-touch person that nobody likes. I’ll also add that dismissing an entire genre and the work of thousands of people, as well as a massive audience as tone-deaf and untalented, reads as pretty damn racist. WHATEVER KEITH. You couldn’t shade anyone if all the cocaine in the world depended on it.
The Ruling: Not shade
The Case: This case was sent to me by a reader who stumbled upon a quote from Tom Ford in the latest issue of InStyle and wondered if there was shade in them there pages.
The Defendant: Tom Ford
Tom Ford has long had an affinity for Los Angeles, its air, its light and its stars. ‘The idea of designing for celebrities was important to me, he says, “even when I was at Gucci.”
The Deliberation: The suggestion here is that when Tom Ford was working at Gucci, as much as he wanted to, he wasn’t dressing celebrities because they didn’t want to wear Gucci.
Now, Ford could just be talking about the timeline of his career—I’ve loved dressing celebrities, even back in the old days! The only real way this could be shade is if Ford and Gucci have some sort of bad blood between them. That gives us room to make some assumptions about his intent and read this line differently.
Again, it’s almost a holiday, so I’m going to rely on Wikipedia because, good enough. Tom Ford is famous for turning the Gucci brand around after they had been flailing for years.
“By 1999, the house, which had been almost bankrupt when Ford joined, was valued at about $4.3 billion. When Ford left in 2004, Gucci Group was valued at $10 billion.”
Ok, ok. So the notion that nobody (aka celebrities, because they are the only ones who matter, obviously) wanted to wear Gucci until Tom Ford got there is sort of substantiated here.
“In April 2004, Ford parted ways with the Gucci group after he and CEO Domenico de Sole, who is credited as Ford’s partner in Gucci’s success, failed to agree with PPR bosses over artistic control of the Group. He has since referred to this experience as “devastating” because he had “put everything into that for fifteen years.”
Aaaand there’s the nugget we needed. It seems safe to say that things weren’t exactly copacetic when Ford left Gucci, leaving room for the pettiness that his comment could suggest.
Look, I’m in a good mood. It’s Beyoncé’s birthday and I’m content with the evidence presented. I’m also proud of the reader who submitted this because Shade Court has turned you all into constantly on-edge shade truthers and I couldn’t be any prouder.
The Ruling: Shade
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Images via Getty, Gucci. Top image by Tara Jacoby, featuring the shade artist at a young age.