I used to get a kick out of watching folks throw shade, that is, until some someone smacked me in my right jaw with a palm full of shade. It came out of nowhere, and I began to re-evaluate my “just for kicks,” view of shade. I was appalled. I felt disrespected. Then, I was in denial. “Nah, that wasn’t for me…” Oh, but it was, just for me. Right there in the middle of a crowd of people, shade was cast, and I was its darkened recipient.
At first, I didn’t understand it, because I’m not a shade thrower. I’m not saying this to brag. Lord knows I do other stuff that’s just as bad as throwing shade. If you catch me on a “release the Kraken day,” you’ll find I do the opposite of shade, really well. You don’t have to guess if I’m talking to you. You don’t have to guess how I feel about it. And you don’t have to guess if I really meant what I said, because… I did. I put it all out there, no shady gray areas over here… And the best part is, I don’t need an audience to let the pink tornado loose.
The difference with shade is it comes from the left and around the corner. It creeps over its victim, and before she knows it, she is bathed in gray. It’s not really dark, but it ain’t light either. It’s in the middle. Shade doesn’t make a definite decision. It’s never black or white; it’s just a suggestion of both. It’s double minded, wishy washy, cowardly, and petty. That’s why I wanted to take some time to talk about it with five quick points. Let’s begin.
- ALL shade comes from a dark place. This is the most important thing to remember. If you find yourself caught in some shade, the thrower is dealing with some much darker issues internally. They are trying to lighten their hue by pulling out some shade and throwing it on you.
- Shade is thrown to dim light. You ever notice that the person getting shade thrown at them is usually the focal point of attention when shade is thrown? Think about it. Very rarely are negative people getting shade thrown at them. They are already in the dark, so more darkness thrown their way won’t make a bit of difference. But you’ll notice that when a sister is on some celebratory, positive, vibes, there is always a thrower in the bunch, chunking shade and hiding their hand. It’s all an attempt to change light in the room.
- The shade is about them… and you. It would be nice to believe that when people throw shade, they’re the ones with the problem. But this goes further. Shade throwers have a problem with you and your light. They are mad, mainly because in spite of all the crap you’ve dished out and taken, you manage to come out on top, shining bright like a diamond (in my Rhianna voice). So, don’t downplay your light, but please, don’t be fooled into believing that just because you have light, everyone will be happy about it.
- Don’t throw it back! Shade does not trump shade, so when someone chunks shade at you, as tempting as it may be, you can’t throw it back. Don’t even touch it! If you do, the shade will get all over you. It’ll get all over your hands. Then you’ll wipe it on your clothes, and your entire outfit will be filthy with shade, and all because you’re trying to repay shade for shade. If you’re a believer, that’s not how any of this works. I know you don’t want to read this, but just hang out at 1 Peter 3:9. That’s where your real shade ministry is. Let it bless ya.
- Lastly, remember that only light can conquer the darkness from whence shade derives. I know it’s corny, and I know that initially you will not want to keep shining when folks are throwing boulders of shade at you. But light trumps darkness. It illuminates and reveals, and if the shade thrower is not careful, light will completely blind her. Really, shade throwers don’t know who they’re playing with when they start chunking dark at light. Embrace the power of that light to combat the underhanded workings of shade.
As you can see, shade is complex. It’s not just a matter of an offhanded comment. Shade has layers. Shade would be passive aggressive, if it were a person. Shade doesn’t say it straight out, rather it hints around it as a means to take you off your square. Shade, I believe, is thrown when the thrower is not quite confident about what she really wants to say. Shade throwers are a little bit scared. That’s why they throw in a public setting, in hopes that two things happen: 1) The crowd will diffuse your tendency to respond to the shade or 2) The crowd will understand that you are being publicly insulted, and you will be embarrassed by shadiness. It doesn’t have to be this way. Not really. As number five says, if you have some God in you, you can light shade up like a sky full of fire works on Independence Day. Now, wouldn’t that be something?