Shade court is back in session and I'm feeling especially judge-y today. This week we welcome into our shade chambers a mouthy six-year-old (a youth after my own heart), some classic southern lady shade and a special bonus ruling that I had to hand down to keep the republic in order.
Shade Court Docket #2014JZ000013
The Case: This case was submitted by a reader named Melissa. Years ago, Melissa was a student at a wealthy private college in the South. Having been given a full ride due to both merit and financial need, Melissa found herself feeling out of place amongst the kids who thought they were rich because their parents were.
She describes a visit from an old family friend who grew up in the college's town.
The Defendant: Melissa's frenemy
She picks me up from a cab and I'm talking about how out of place I feel having to work and, you know, not getting bottle service and shit and she goes "Yes, I guess you are a tad... eccentric for [school name]."
I always thought eccentric meant weird in a good way, but now I'm thinking she may have meant poor.
The Deliberation: Yeah, I'm thinking she meant poor too, Melissa. I feel like there are few cases where "eccentric" is meant to be a compliment. This reminds me of when I started wearing my hair natural and my grandmother said: "Oh, your hair looks... different."
The fact that this woman said you were eccentric for a specific place as opposed to just an eccentric person in general kind of seals the deal here.
The Ruling: Shade. Powerful shade too, because you remembered.
Shade Court Docket #2014JZ000014
Image via Getty.
The Case: Usher told one of those kids say the darndest things stories about his six year-old son, Nayvid. Nayvid is marginally aware that his father makes a living as a musician, but Nayvid finds the whole situation very questionable.
"He doesn't care about what I do as much... He's like, `I'm the star. Who are you? You sing?'" Usher said in a recent interview.
"He told me the other day, he says, `You're not a great singer,'" Usher, 36, continued with a laugh. His reply to his son: "What? I'm a great singer!"
The Defendant: Huffington Post Black Voices
The Deliberation: This is a tricky one. "You sing?" is most definitely shady and is particularly disheartening coming from a child, because it's not like their standards are particularly high. I also love the visual of Usher holding a microphone or sitting in a recording booth as his son raises an eyebrow and expresses faux-surprise at his father's occupation.
You mean your singing career actually puts food on our table?
However, he follows that first comment up with an outright insult against his father's singing abilities, which we all know by now is not shade.
The Ruling: Not shade, but I have the utmost faith in Nayvid's shade-throwing future
Shade Court Docket #2014JZ000015
Image via NY Daily News.
The Case: Sophia Loren recently shared the story behind that infamous photo of her giving some extreme side-eye to Jayne Mansfield. Loren explains:
"I'm staring at her nipples because I am afraid they are about to come onto my plate," the 80-year-old film icon explained to Entertainment Weekly. "In my face you can see the fear. I'm so frightened that everything in her dress is going to blow—BOOM!—and spill all over the table."
The Defendant: Elle Magazine
The Deliberation: I know everyone thinks that the photo itself is evidence of shade, but really it's how Loren explains the story that the shade comes out. I love how she chalks it up to concern and fear. "Oh, I was so worried about her nipples." No one is ever truly worried about the well-being of another person's nipples unless they have recently been born and need them for sustenance.
This is a great trick by many master shade throwers: the feigning of earnest concern. It's a perfect tactic, because no one wants to be the asshole accusing you of being disingenuous. You can get away with a lot of shady shit by cloaking it in genuine worry for the other person. Throw in an understanding shoulder pat and you might as well be in Paris Is Burning Part 2.
The Ruling: Shade, glamorous shade
Shade Court Docket #2014JZ000016
The Case: A reader named Natalie describes the wedding of a friend who was under a tight budget. Because Natalie wears makeup and her friend does not, Natalie offered to do her makeup for the big day. In an important note to the court, Natalie explains that she's not some sort of Kardashian contouring addict: all she wears regularly is eyeshadow, eyeliner and mascara.
The Defendant: Natalie's friend's brother
[...] the night of the rehearsal my friend mentions to her brother that I'm doing her makeup the next day. He then looks at me and says "we don't need a bride with a smoky eye" and walks away.
The Deliberation: You know when someone is trying to say something witty but they don't know what the hell they're talking about? Yeah.
Generally, men know absolutely nothing about makeup. (I'm going to go ahead assume that the young man in question isn't a makeup artist or else he'd be doing the makeup himself, wouldn't he?) Guys will run around saying that they love that you don't wear makeup when you've got foundation, bronzer and mascara on. They are clueless.
The brother revealed his ignorance with that snarky "smokey eye" jab. He obviously thought he was being clever but he was just throwing out the only makeup term he knew. I get what he mean to say: Please don't do her makeup the way you do yours. However, he blew it by trying to be too much of a smart-ass.
The Ruling: Shade in intention; not shade in delivery
Shade Court Docket #2014JZ000017
I was only going to do four rulings today, but Erin just sent me a request for an emergency Shade Court ruling and I am here to serve the people. (I am also aiming to produce enough verdicts that they will ask me to replace Ruth Bader Ginsberg when she steps down.)
The Case: In an act of obvious irony, The Advocate has named Vladimir Putin as its Person of the Year.
Image via The Advocate.
The Defendant: The Star Observer
The Deliberation: As a general rule, when you decide to draw a Hitler mustache on someone, you're probably not going for subtlety.
Look, we all know Vladimir Putin sucks. Truly, he's awful. However, comparing someone to Hitler is not so much shade as it is grossly offensive. Much like nothing but actual slavery is slavery, no one is Hitler but Hitler. You don't have to compare someone to Hitler to make a point about how horrible they are. Comparing Vladimir Putin to Vladimir Putin is really all you need. We get it.
The Ruling: Not shade.