When I began Shade Court, I did so because I wanted to provide a public service and to preserve the good name of shade. There was a brief moment when I worried that perhaps I would do my job too well and shade would cease to be inappropriately invoked by the masses. Fortunately—or unfortunately depending on how you look at it—there seem to be plenty of people who still have no idea what they're talking about. And so we continue in this, the ninth gathering of Shade Court.
This week the royal couple makes another appearance as does Hollywood royalty Jaden and Willow Smith, Nicki Minaj shades with the best of them and our President truly shows us how it's done.
The Case: During a visit to a charity that supports homeless youth, Prince William spoke to a hairdresser trainee and made A VERY UNFORTUNATE joke about his wife's hair. The future King of England reportedly suggested that the young hairdresser try working with Kate's "nightmare hair" if they were really up for a challenge.
The Defendant: Cosmopolitan
The Deliberation: I need to start off by addressing William directly: Homeboy, what the hell is wrong with you?
First of all, under absolutely not circumstance should you be publicly cracking jokes about your wife's hair. I don't care if she walks out rocking a purple mohawk with extensions down to her ankles. You keep your goddamn mouth shut. Secondly, Kate Middleton's hair is resplendent so you don't even know what you're saying. I assume you meant that it was a "nightmare" to keep up but yeah, human beings who have to take out the trash and drive carpools aren't able to achieve hair as shiny as Kate's. Her nightmare hair is a privilege and you better recognize. And William, frankly, are you really the one to be talking shit about other people's hair? JUST A THOUGHT.
Ok, down to the shade aspect. LOL obviously this is not remotely in the realm of shade.
The Ruling: Not shade.
The Case: In the lyrics to Nicki Minaj's "Want Some More" off of her latest album, The Pinkprint, the rapper claims to be throwing shade at an unspecified group of dudes.
The Defendant: Nicki Minaj
Ain't got nothing for me, these dudes is funny
That's why I'm throwing shade like it's sunny
Who had Eminem on the first album?
Who had Kanye saying "She a problem"?
Who the fuck came in the game made her own cologne?
Who made Lil Wayne give 'em five million?
Why the fuck I gotta say it, though?
You niggas don't know it yet?
The Deliberation: I'm a big fan of shade that comes in the form of a question because you can act like it was genuine question while playing dumb about your masterful shade throwing.
When Nicki calls these dudes "funny," she really means that they're insecure man-babies who don't give her the respect she deserves. That line serves to modify the ones that follow as she's already started a baseline level of condescension—nothing complimentary could possibly follow.
She proceeds then to tell these dues how dope she is and how dope they are not by asking a series of shady ass questions, the answers to which can only make you look like a fool in comparison. I like to think that each question is aimed at a particular unnamed individual who has tried to level that specific piece of criticism against her.
She loses a few points for directly addressing her shade, which makes it a little too on the nose, but overall, I'm on board.
The Ruling: Shade
The Case: Among the sea of offensive shit said by Sony executives that was reveled when they were hacked by North Korea includes a shot taken at the progeny of Will and Jada Smith. Sony chairman Tom Rothman sent a link to the Smith children's eccentric interview with T Magazine writing: "1 Read this. 2 they r homeschooled: don't let this family date your movies!!!!"
The Defendant: Vibe Magazine
The Deliberation: A central aspect of shade is that the person being shaded has some knowledge of what's going on. They might not necessarily pick up on the fact that they're being shaded, but it is important that they're somewhat aware of what's being said.
You could argue that the Willow and Jaden certainly know what Rothman said now, but it obviously wasn't his intention that they ever read this email. Further, Rothman's comments were rude as hell and not nearly as clever as he undoubtedly thought it was.
The Ruling: Not shade
The Case: President Barack Obama was asked about Sony hack and the The Interview cancellation debacle in a press conference Friday. While discussing the topics, President Obama of course had to mention the film's stars Seth Rogen and James Franco.
The Defendant: President Obama
The Evidence: While he was able to eek out Seth Rogen's name without any hiccups, President Obama accidentally (???) referred to James Franco as "James Flacco."
The Deliberation: Barack Obama is a shade master. Part of the reason he's so good at throwing shade is because he's generally smarter than 99% of the people he's in the room with. Can you imagine how many Republicans have had conversation with him and not realized until they were driving home that he had said something shady directly to their face two hours earlier?
Some might argue that the President simply misspoke—a twist of the tongue, if you will—but those who have been paying attention know better. You know good and goddamn well he knew how to say James Franco's name correctly and being that he is the most annoying of the two, Obama was like: Fuck it. These idiots and their stupid movie are the ones who got us into this whole mess in the first place and now I have to deal with this bullshit and I haven't even done half of my Christmas shopping yet.
The Ruling: Shade with a Presidential seal of approval
Images via Getty. Top image by Tara Jacoby, featuring the shade artist at a young age.