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

First of all, a huge shout out to all the non-Trump related shade sent to me this week. Communication is the most important part of any relationship; you guys listened, and I thank you for that.

In this week’s Shade Court, Katy Perry needs to work on her jokes, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar throw some *fire emoji* flames and Chris Christie sucks.

Shade Court Docket #2017JZ000020

Images via Getty.

The Case: Young Katy Perry attended the 2017 Grammy Awards and she showed her devotion to the gatekeepers of relevancy by speaking to Ryan Seacrest.

“It’s called taking care of your mental health,” Perry told E! News’ Ryan Seacrest when he inquired after her recent recording hiatus, before later adding, “I haven’t shaved my head yet.”

She later added:

“It’s like the last color in the spectrum that I can do,” said the newly blond Perry. “I’ve done all of them, and the only thing left to do is shave my head, which I’m really saving for a public breakdown.”

The Defendant: The Los Angeles Times

The Evidence:

The Deliberation: Katy was, of course, referring to her pop superior Britney Spears’ infamous nervous breakdown in 2007 when she shaved her head in front of a crowd of paparazzi.

I want to like Katy Perry, I really do. She is Taylor Swift’s enemy—which is a good enough reason to like anyone as far as I’m concerned—and she’s friends with Rihanna which means, at the very least, she’s a lot of fun after three margaritas and a couple hits from the blunt. Still, come on, woman.

Here Katy revealed an interesting gulf between celebrities and the rest of us. It would be one thing for me to make a Britney Spears head shaving joke. Sure, it’s mean, but it would still be an instance of a woman who is not a multi-millionaire pop star with 100 million albums sold making fun of Britney Spears. Womp. When Katy Perry does it, however, she looks like kind of an asshole who couldn’t think of something actually clever to say. Not only was the joke not funny, but it damn sure wasn’t funny enough to repeat.

Further, if I have a nervous breakdown one day, no one will know about it. If Katy Perry does, they’re going to be pulling up that quote while a CNN helicopter follows her SUV en route to a rehab facility in Utah. This could come back to haunt you, girl.


More to the point, however, in no possible way is this remotely close to shade. Dumb, rude jokes are not shade, people!

The Ruling: Not Shade

Shade Court Docket #2017JZ000021

Images via Lionsgate and Getty.

The Case: Ball of the baskets legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has taken his talents to The Hollywood Reporter as a contributing editor. One of his first orders of business was an article about La La Land titled: “How ‘La La Land’ Misleads on Race, Romance and Jazz.”

The Defendant: Vulture

The Evidence:

The Deliberation: Kareem straight up told you what he was about to do with that title and that is: read the fuck out of La La Land.


On a brief, serious serious note, he did an excellent job laying out the arguments for why many find this film naggingly irritating, particularly because black Americans were the architects of jazz music but haven’t shown up in a meaningful way in directer and writer Damien Chazelle’s recent films about jazz. ANYWAY.

I’ll say this: the lines pulled by the author here aren’t bad. In fact, they’re excellent—excellent burns. I mean, when you’re willing to throw down passages like this:

Mia also sings this about her aunt: “She lives in her liquor / And died with a flicker / I’ll always remember the flame.” Sure, you’ll remember the flame because you’re too blinded by your own ambition to see the real moral: She died with a flicker because she was an alcoholic burnout!

Throwing shade is not on your mind.

Shade cannot even exist in an environment this hot. Those white hot burns suffocate the shade with their intense, place-putting heat and the poor defenseless shade dies a fiery but necessary death.


Ironically, for a man who mastered a game, Kareem was not playing with you fools.

The white guy wants to preserve the black roots of jazz while the black guy is the sellout? This could be a deliberate ironic twist, but if it is, it’s a distasteful one for African-Americans.

This was a dressing-down. A loud proclamation that no room for interpretation on his feelings about the film. All read, no shade.

The Ruling: Not shade

Shade Court Docket #2017JZ000022

Images via the Phillies and Getty.

The Case: Chris Christie recently appeared on a sports people show and attempted to deliver a series of jokes/insults that one of his aides told him were “totally funny” and “yeah, yeah, you’ll look very chill, but manly-like” because that person is a true patriot who is doing his or her duty as an American to help highlight what an idiotically pugnacious man Chris Christie is.


On the show, Christie said a bunch of rude things about Philadelphia’s baseball team because New Jersey is governing itself, I suppose. In response to Christie saying the Phillies “suck” and their fans are “angry” and “bitter,” the Phillies Twitter account dropped this:

The Defendant: The Washington Post

The Evidence:



You almost had it. Why the hell did you have to throw in those quotation marks? They killed what would have been a simple, satisfying, shady tweet with extraneous punctuation.

I don’t even want to dignify the suggestion that Chris Christie was “trying to throw shade.”

Why must this goddamn newspaper continue doing this to me? Go get a scoop! Report on some massive government conspiracy—there are so many to choose from these days! You’re The Washington Post. You don’t need to do this, particularly when you’ve proven yourselves to be inept shade interpreters time and time again. Keep shade out ya ink, you hear me?

The Ruling: Not shade are you kidding me?

Shade Court Docket #2017JZ000023

Images via Getty.

The Case: Ah, we were so close weren’t we? So very close. Anyway, here’s some Trump shit.


Justin Trudeau came down from his utopia of freedom and democracy up in the clouds known as Canada to mingle with us suffering sad sacks in the United States. While here, he met with our “president” because Steve Bannon was too busy drafting battle strategies for the upcoming race war. While meeting with the “president,” Trudeau explained that his country plans on exercising actual humanity when it comes to Syrian refugees.

The Defendant: Deadline

The Evidence:

The Deliberation: Deadline, who the hell do you think you are? I come to you for up-to-date scoops on Hollywood business deals and casting notices. Nobody needed your dip into the shade pool.


I might be more perturbed if their attempt to make this story editorially relevant wasn’t so hilariously stupid.

That said, Trudeau did throw some shade at Trump, if ever so gently by Love Actually standards, when he said Canada hopes to set a positive example to the world about embracing Syrian refugees.

Love Actually? That’s the best angle you could come up with? That movie includes a few scenes between the fictional leaders from the United States and England! Not Canada! If you’re gonna reach, at least reach in the right direction.


What was also left out of this sad shade discussion is the fact that they were specifically being asked questions about Syria. Had Trudeau just pulled that out of nowhere, I could potentially entertain the idea of shade. But they were being asked point-blank questions and Trudeau gave the answer he’s been giving for months.

His answer was such a pointed contrast to Trump’s hatful buffoonery that I’m sure even his not-paying-attention-Tang-flavored-ass picked up on it.

The Ruling: Not shade