Shade Court is in session and I am very much ready for this ridiculous week to be over.
Before we get started, I want you all to know that there will not be any mention of the Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift fiasco in today’s Shade Court. If you didn’t know, I also moonlight as a celebrity fight referee and covered the all that messiness here already.
In this week’s Shade Court, we have two Queens (Mariah and Elizabeth), One Direction goes in a shady direction and Drake is forced to respond to his coworker’s loudmouth boyfriend.
The Case: One Direction’s Liam Payne got self-reflective on Twitter as he looked back on the group’s five glorious years of driving teenage girls to manic fits. As part of that beautiful moment, he gave all the “boys” a shoutout, but something was a little different for one of the “boys.” As you’ll recall, Zayn Malik left the group earlier this year because he was tired of that shit and just wants to get his Justin Timberlake on.
The Defendant: Liam Payne
The Deliberation: So, you may think I’m being finicky, but if we here at Shade Court can’t get a little persnickety over seemingly unimportant minutia, then what’s the point of America?
The way I look at this, Liam’s lack of capitalization of Zayn’s name can have two explanations. One, he deliberately didn’t capitalize Zayn’s name in order to symbol not only Zayn’s literal and figurative otherness from the rest of the group, but also a lack of respect—a diss, as the youth say.
Alternatively, Liam’s phone autocorrects the names of all the other “boys” except for Zayn because Liam doesn’t even talk about Zayn anymore.
No matter the explanation, there’s shade in them there tweets.
The Ruling: Shade
The Case: Queen Elizabeth and Kate Middleton are apparently having a bit of a fashion showdown over wedge heels. Kate likes ‘em, the Queen hates ‘em, what is a “royal” family to do?
“The Queen isn’t a fan of wedged shoes,” a source close to the palace recently told Vanity Fair. “She really doesn’t like them and it’s well known among the women in the family.” Come to think of it, we haven’t seen Kate wear a wedge in quite some time.
The Defendant: Elle
The Deliberation: Elle, what in the high holy fuck? What single word in that statement made you think that any of it constitutes shade? Simply not liking something IS NOT THROWING SHADE.
Perhaps if the Queen had waved her Queeny scepter and issued a formal decree banning wedge heels, you might have gotten away with calling it shade. If we had some video footage of Queen Elizabeth shadily eying Kate’s shoes, that MIGHT be grounds for usage of the word. But that weak-ass statement from a third party ain’t gonna cut it. If anything, the fact that Kate keeps wearing wedge heels even though the Queen hates them is her throwing shade at the Queen. MY GOODNESS.
I find this particularly offensive because look at Queen Elizabeth.
This old bird looks like she can throw some expert shade when she wants to and you pin this sad-sack nothingness on her instead. Stop using words you don’t know the meaning of, Elle.
Somewhat relatedly, this is the accompanying photo used by Elle.
This has nothing to do with shade, but there is a very big difference between a cork wedge and a wedge of just about any other material. Cork wedges are atrocious and I understand why the Queen hates them. But the wedge heel itself is a miracle of cobbler-ing that allows women around the globe to enjoy a bit of height without having to worry when trekking through grass or maneuvering pesky cobblestone streets after three glasses of wine. This is an important distinction that always needs to be made.
The Ruling: Not shade
The Case: Katy Perry attended Queen Mariah Carey’s Las Vegas extravaganza this week. Katy Perry wore dark hair and a purple fur throw to the performance. The below video tells the rest of the story.
The Defendant: Mariah Carey
The Deliberation: I want to make sure everyone picked up on exactly what happened here. First, let’s take a moment to appreciate the sheer number of suited men that are flanking her like a phalanx of man servants.
Second, notice how Mariah initially has her arm outreached to the crowd and then immediately drops it as she nears Katy, only to reach out the second she passes her to the adjacent audience member. And there’s Katy’s little arm, all stretched out, fingers a-wiggling hoping for a bit of contact with Mimi.
There’s a chance that wasn’t deliberate, but that’s only if Mariah Carey’s entire life didn’t exist. To be fair, Mariah did snap this awkward photo with her biggest fan after the show but the shade was already in the air.
That’s one of the amazing things about shade from Mariah Carey. She’ll throw it on thick but do it with a smile or follow it up with a no-hip-contact hug to confuse her target. Mariah Carey is the most beautifully vicious creature I’ve ever seen and I wouldn’t want to live in a world without her.
The Ruling: Shade
The Case: Nicki Minaj’s boyfriend went on a Twitter rant about Drake, his girlfriend’s friend and coworker, after he found one of Drake’s old T-shirts in Nicki’s drawer, probably. It’s worth noting that Meek Mill publicly talked shit about Drake not tweeting any support for Meek Mill’s new album. [INSERT SNIDE COMMENT ABOUT HOW BITCHES JUST BE TRIPPIN’ ON SOME PETTY SHIT HERE.]
Among the stupid shit Meek Mill tweeted was the accusation that Drake uses a ghostwriter for his raps. Meek Mill “proved” this by tweeting the name of a rapper who is already listed as a cowriter on Drake’s songs. Meek “Sherlock” Mill, everybody.
The internet waited patiently for Drake’s response on Twitter, which unfortunately never came. However, if you were paying extra close attention or are an active Drake stalker, you saw that he responded in his own stealth way.
As Noisey notes, Drake sent a direct message to that was later leaked by the receiver which is easy to read as a response to Meek’s rant.
Looking in the more subtle shade throwing areas of the internet though, we can see Drake has responded to Meek in the most Drake way possible: a passive aggressive ‘like’ on Instagram and a leaked DM. Holy shit!
The other supposed shade came by way of an Instagram “like” by Drake on a video that shows someone covering up a magazine with Meek Mill on the cover.
The more interesting response comes in the ultimate form of shade – a like on an Instagram post. In the video above Krept and Konan can be seen replacing Meek Mill’s recent Fader cover feature with Skepta’s. Drake then liked the video. That’s a whole new dimension of shade. It’s the most subtle shade ever recorded. It’s how shade would shade shade if shade could shade.
The Defendant: Noisey
The Deliberation: Ok, we’ve got some good stuff to work with here. Obviously Drake is not a “shade master.” That is absurd. He’s had his moments, but please. Don’t say that again.
That first example is not shade—it’s a pretty pointed response to Meek’s bullshit.
And this is just so, so bad:
That’s a whole new dimension of shade. It’s the most subtle shade ever recorded. It’s how shade would shade shade if shade could shade.
No, nah, never. Drake has actually done this exact same thing before when he went around “liking” a bunch of Blac Chyna’s pictures on Instagram to get back at her ex, Tyga. So no, this isn’t new ground and it’s certainly not shade that should go down in any recorded history of the magnificence that is shade.
In many ways, this move is extremely subtle, but it’s also not that damn subtle when you’re one of the most popular people on Instagram. The only reason Drake does shit like that is because he knows that it’s going to be highlighted. Duh. It’s less of an Easter egg than you think.
The Ruling: Half shade
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Images via Getty.