Edited by Azizi Powell
This post provides definitions of non-verbal and verbal "throwing shade". A video example of what is said to have been throwing shade (First Lady Michelle Obama rolling her eyes at then Senate Leader John Boehner) is included in this post. Also included in this post is a sub-section of a discussion thread in which a commenter is said to have thrown "world class shade".
The content of this post is presented for etymological, and cultural purposes.
All copyrights remain with their owners.
Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publisher of this video on YouTube.
for an earlier pancocojams on "reading" and "throwing shade".
DEFINITION OF THROWING SHADE (Non-Verbal And Verbal)
"Two other Google Books matches focus on the gay African American subculture from which "throw shade" in its modern sense seems to have arisen. Both articles are well worth reading at fuller length if you're interested in the subject. From Tricia Rose, "An Interview with Willi Ninja," in Microphone Fiends: Youth Music an Youth Culture (1994):
Tricia Rose, "An Interview with Willi Ninja," in Microphone Fiends: Youth Music an Youth Culture (1994):
R: Before we go, define “throw shade" for me.
N: [Laughter] Shade is basically a nonverbal response to verbal or nonverbal abuse. Shade is about using certain mannerisms in battle. If you said something nasty to me, I would just turn to you, and give you a look like: "Bitch please, you're not even worth my time, go on." All with a facial expression and body posture, that's throwing shade. If I want to be a little extra nasty I might throw in a little cough, but not so loud, just a little bit like: "You're making me choke."...
And from E. Patrick Johnson, "SNAP! Culture: a Different Way of Reading" in Text and Performance Quarterly 15(2) (1995), reprinted in Performance: Media and Technology (2003):
The nonverbal counterpart to reading is called "throwing shade." To throw shade is to ignore a person altogether, even if the person is in immediate proximity. If a shade thrower wishes to acknowledge the presence of the third party, he or she might roll his or her eyes and neck while poking out his or her lips. People throw shade if they do not like a particular person or if that person has dissed them in the past. The effect of throwing shade in this manner is also a type of dissing, because it is considered disrespectful not to acknowledge someone's presence. In the playful mode, however, a person may throw shade at a person with whom he or she is a best friend."
If I correctly understand that article, it is saying that originally Black and Latino drag queens used "throwing shade" to mean giving non-verbal put downs. However, their use of the term "shade" (and other folks' use of that term) changed over time to what Dorian Corey said was making a "more artfully executed, more dependent on constructing a veiled (or not-so-veiled) insult rather than relying on obvious crudities and innuendo. Throwing shade requires wielding your words like a rapier rather than a cudgel." [quote from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/longterm/movies/videos/parisisburningrhowe_a0b315.htm ‘Paris Is Burning’ (R), By Desson Howe
Washington Post Staff Writer, August 09, 1991]
Italics were added by me to highlight those words.
It seems to me that at this time (2016) making an "arfully executed [verbal] insult" is still the usual definition of "throwing shade". But "throwing shade" can also still be non-verbal. Take, for instance, this 2013 example in which (rightly or wrongly" Michelle Obama
Watch Michelle Obama Throw World Historical Shade at John Boehner
Mike Roda, Published on Jan 21, 2013
Here's a comment from that video's discussion thread:
Cristina Santamaría, 2015
"flawless shade right there"
Here's an excerpt of an article about throwing shade
From http://www.gurl.com/2015/03/23/flawless-examples-of-celebrities-throwing-shade-twitter-instagram-feuds/ The 22 Most Flawless Examples Of Celebrities Throwing Shade
Monday, March 23, 2015 by Jessica Booth
"One of my favorite things about social media is watching people get angry about something, then turn around and throw shade at someone in a fascinatingly epic way. Before we get any further, for those of you who don’t know the ins and outs of shade throwing, let’s check out the Urban Dictionary definition for throwing shade:
“To talk trash about a friend or acquaintance, to publicly denounce or disrespect. When throwing shade it’s immediately obvious to on-lookers that the thrower, and not the throwee, is the bitcy, uncool one”
Throwing shade can be done with an epic side-eye, by picking out flaws, or it can be done indirectly – sort of like sub-tweeting. The most flawless shade throwing moments are often the indirect ones, when you’re not sure if the person really did the shade throwing or not. It’s fun to guess! And even though celebrities usually don’t like to air their dirty laundry, many of them are still guilty of doing massive amounts of shade throwing.
The results are almost always amusing for the rest of us – except for some cases, which are just pretty offensive and will literally make you cringe."...
Here's an example of verbal shade from that same article:
"Even Madeline Albright got in on the fun!
[tweet] - 23 Oct. 14
"Conan O'Brien ✔ @ConanOBrien
I picked out my Halloween costume. I’m going as “Slutty Madeleine Albright.”
Madeleine Albright ✔ @madeleine
.@ConanOBrien I'm considering going as hunky Conan O'Brien - but that might be too far fetched."
4:26 PM 23 Oct. 2014
Here's a tweet about that exchange:
"Tony AielloVerified account
. @madeleine @ConanOBrien call 911 - tall red haired man down - speared by rapier-like wit
2:47 PM - 23 Oct 2014" https://twitter.com/AielloTV/status/525403056897527808
A SUB-SET OF A DISCUSSION THREAD IN WHICH A BLOGGER IS SAID TO HAVE THROWN "WORLD CLASS SHADE"
From http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-brown/white-commentary-on-lemonade_b_9780056.html White Commentary on ‘Lemonade’: No One Asked Us
04/27/2016 12:17 pm ET | Updated 20 hours ago Alex Brown
All of these comments were retrieved on 4/28/2016 at about 2 PM. I'm leaving the time stamps and other notations with each comment to show how that portion of that discussion thread flowed and what other bloggers thought about each comment.
I believe that the number after "Like . Reply" is the number of participants in that discussion who replied that they "liked" that particular comment.
I've assigned numbers to those comments for referencing purposes only.
1. Maui Strife · Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas
"its music,it doesnt matter the race, anyone can study and disect a song music in universal, because if it isnt,then why is she singing pop? and i dont want black woman to take over the world,in 5 years we would be living in huts just like with feminism."
Like · Reply · 1 · 22 hrs
2. Irene Lartey
Like · Reply · 42 · 22 hrs
3. Irene Lartey
"I've been trying to dissect this comment for about 7 minutes and I still don't get it. So I'm just going to write something random like the poster above.
The mailbox is universal. It will take over the world. Purple."
Like · Reply · 143 · 22 hrs
4. Jack Manley · Metadata QC Coordinator at In Demand
"Irene Lartey I may not be able to understand Lemonade due to the fact that it isn't, nor should it be, intended for me, but I do understand world-class shade. You're awesome"
Like · Reply · 71 · 22 hrs
5. Lynnette Beth Mcfadzen · Secretary, Board of Directors at BiNet USA
"Irene Lartey lol..what? lol"
Like · Reply · 1 · 21 hrs
6. Tanya Mlcm
"Irene Lartey ROFL"
Like · Reply · 8 · 21 hrs
7. Terrell Anderson · CEO/Founder/Owner at Get Versed
"Irene Lartey lmaaoooooooooooooooooo"
Like · Reply · 7 · 21 hrs
8. Coco Ochwada
"Irene Lartey OMG!!!! I'm glad Prince's decades of shade lessons have paid off for the black community. *dying*."
Like · Reply · 10 · 21 hrs
9. Craig Webster · Toronto, Ontario
"Feminism's living in huts??"
Like · Reply · 3 · 21 hrs
Retonia Knott Smith
"Irene Lartey my thoughts exactly, LMAO."
Like · Reply · 4 · 20 hrs
10. Sy Gruza
"Irene Lartey I guess you're comprehension-challenged. You know exactly what the poster means. address substance and bag the personal insults."
Like · Reply · 20 hrs
11. Dee Balt
"DOES NOT MAKE SENSE!!!!!!"
Like · Reply · 3 · 20 hrs
12. Irene Lartey
"When there is substance, Sy Garza, I will happy to address.
Just come get me when it occurs. I'll be in my hut."
Like · Reply · 58 · 20 hrs
13. Joyce Konrad · Auburn, Massachusetts
"Irene Lartey ❤"
Like · Reply · 5 · 19 hrs
14. Jarlisa Corbett
"Irene Lartey be my friend"
Like · Reply · 5 · 19 hrs
15. Elissa Malaikah · Bronx, New York
"Irene Lartey i hate'chu! Thanks for making me laugh all the way home."
Like · Reply · 4 · 18 hrs
16. Monique Barbour · Massage Therapist at Licensed Certified Massage Therapist
Like · Reply · 3 · 17 hrs
17. Tee Artice
"Irene Lartey...don't even try to comprehend it because you can't make sense out of something that's just not sensible. SMH. Chalk it up to the attitude of entitlement that has always been instilled for centuries."
Like · Reply · 5 · 15 hrs · Edited
18. Danielle Terry
"Hahaha..you gave me a good laugh amongst all the serious discussion...thanks"
Like · Reply · 4 · 14 hrs
19. Audrey Nelson · Minnesota State University, Mankato
"Irene Lartey... 2 SNAPS GIRLFRIEND!!!!!!!!!! Sent from my Hutt.. Lmao"
Like · Reply · 6 · 13 hrs
That comment is the end of that comment sub-set as of this time.
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