Does anyone else find it amazing that, after 19 weeks of Shade Court, there's still an enormous group of people who are still out there embarrassing themselves? I'm just kidding, that's not surprising at all. In this week's Shade Court, Matt Lauer tries to get back at Ellen, Drake's fans go H.A.M. on Chris Brown and Business Insider needs to stay in their damn lane.

Shade Court Docket #2015JZ000035

The Case: Ellen DeGeneres in her graphic artists' unlimited genius pulled a mighty good prank on Today's Matt Lauer a couple weeks ago, by taking the footage of him interviewing Fifty Shades of Grey stars Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan and doctoring it to make it look like he was wearing bondage clothing. It was pretty clever, we all had a good laugh. Naturally, Matt Lauer went on Ellen's show to beat the joke completely into the ground.

The Defendant: People

The Evidence:

The Deliberation: I'm going to be honest, I don't even know what part of the interview this misinformed People writer is trying to brand as shade. Matt makes a number of polite, joking-esque comments (I am not calling those robotic attempts at humor "jokes") but nothing that is anywhere near the same solar system as shade.


But, because I take my job seriously, I really did comb through the interview for any whiffs of shade. I tried to think like someone who doesn't know what the hell they're talking about. The only possibilities I could come up with were:

"I've made a lot a lot of new friends. Thank you very much."

"Revenge is a dish best served cold."

"When you laugh, you encourage her."


Also, he has no reason at all to shade Ellen. Not only did he get a bump in Twitter followers, but it gave him an opportunity to remind people that he does have a sense of humor and isn't just that guy who got Ann Curry fired and probably cheats on his wife.

The Ruling: Not shade

Shade Court Docket #2015JZ000036

The Case: On Tuesday, Chris Brown announced that he would be canceling two of his tour dates because the great nation of Canada denied him entry. Drake and Chris Brown had a nice reconciliation not too long ago where they made music together and pretended to forget that they're both still sort of obsessed with Rihanna. Unsurprisingly, that reunion was short-lived and now they hate each other again. Drake fans, and really anyone who likes a nice chuckle, took this opportunity to suggest that hip hop's favorite Canadian was behind Chris Brown's troubles through a slew of Twitter jokes and memes.

The Defendant: XXL Magazine

The Evidence:

The Deliberation: How many times do I have to say this: NOT EVERY INSULT IS SHADE. Talking shit about someone is not automatically shade. Making fun of someone or something is not, in and of itself, enough to constitute shade. XXL Magazine has way too many black people on staff to keep making this mistake.


Drake's fans were not throwing shade at Chris Brown. You know what they were doing? Mocking Chris Brown. Here's a good rule of thumb: A meme is almost never shade.

The Ruling: Not shade

Shade Court Docket #2015JZ000037

The Case: Lebron James has an endorsement deal with McDonalds—an endorsement deal that he seemed to forget about during a recent interview. James was discussing his lifestyle habits when he made an offhanded comment dispraising the fast food company that pays him millions of dollars.

"Ummm, 24," James said. "I ate McDonald's my first couple years in the NBA. I didn't stretch. It didn't matter. I was 18 and could do whatever I wanted to."

Reporters noted the remark and asked James when he had last eaten at McDonald's. Realizing his error, James responded coyly.

"Every day," James said. "Every day. Every day.... I had it this morning. Egg-and-sausage McMuffin. All day."

The Defendant: Bleacher Report

The Evidence:

The Deliberation: I'm a judge so I try not to harbor any bias, but as soon as I saw "Bleacher Report," I grew skeptical. This is not to say that someone who loves sports so much that they write about it for a living doesn't also love Paris Is Burning. Maybe this basketball fan also has a Southern black grandmother who taught him the ways of shade. All I'm saying is that if you're a sportswriter and you're thinking about using shade in a story, just hit me up first to be safe.

So again, here, we're seeing someone throw the word "shade" against their writing and hoping it sticks somewhere. Was the first part shady? Was it the pause? MAKE YOURSELF CLEAR.

The problem is that his first comment is pretty shady but he ruined it when he realized that he needed that extra few million for the yacht he has his eye on. I can concede that shade can be accidental sometimes, but this is almost too accidental. It was more of a slip of the tongue with a tinge of shade than an all-out shady moment.

The Ruling: Not shade

Shade Court Docket #2015JZ000038

The Case: Greece has had a lot of issues with bailouts and money and stuff. Luckily they are moving towards getting their shit in order and that includes presenting a list of government reforms between the Eurogroup. (Do I sound like I know what I'm talking about?) The European Commission was happy with the list Greece submitted. The International Monetary Fund, however, wasn't playing games. The head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, sent a letter expressing her dissatisfaction, stating:

"While the authorities' list is comprehensive, it is generally not very specific,"

The Defendant: Business Insider: Finance

The Evidence:

The Deliberation: WHY MUST YOU DO THIS TO YOURSELF, BUSINESS INSIDER??? This is what happens when swerve out of your lane and try to get too cute with it. You didn't need to do this. 85% of the people who have any interest in reading definitely do not know what shade is. And the ones that do aren't clicking on this article because of the shade part.


As far as Lagarde's comment goes, you can almost hear the Business Insider crowd hissing: Ooooh, sick burn!

This was not a sick burn, ya nerds. This was an incredibly clear declaration of disapproval.

Go home.

The Ruling: Not shade

Shade Court Docket #2015JZ000039

The Case: This case involves some Empire spoilers so be warned. On Wednesday's episode, we follow our friends at Empire records after a Lucious Lyon reunites with his ex-wife Cookie for a night of passion (sex). The problem is that Lucious is engaged to "fake-ass Halle Berry" Anika, who witnesses Lucious and Cookie getting it on.


However, Anika, being the bland but scary temptress that she is, convinces Lucious to stop seeing Cookie and instead marry her immediately. Cookie hears about this, obviously isn't pleased, and then goes forth to work her magic.

The Defendant: Cookie Lyons

The Evidence:

The Deliberation: I mean, my god, people.

"You look pretty."

"You look pretty."

"You look pretty."

It's such a simple phrase that, when put in the hands of a master, becomes an atomic bomb. Cookie straight-up gave her a compliant and it was still rude as hell. The best part is that I feel like Cookie, in a way, meant it. Sure, Anika does look pretty—and even so, Cookie STILL got her man.

You can't teach shade like that.

The Ruling: *To the tune of "Chain of Fools"* Shade, shade, shaaaaade

Images via Getty, Michael Lavine/FOX; Top image by Tara Jacoby, featuring the shade artist at a young age.