Sure, there’s all this talk of global warming, but what about the real threat facing the world?
I'm talking about global shading.
2014 has been one of the shadiest years on record—from celebrities digging at each other to the Internet casting withering remarks at bad TV movies. What kind of world will our children inherit? Will they even be able to experiment with bangs or reveal they love pumpkin spice lattes without succumbing to an avalanche of insults?
Before Al Gore has to make another documentary — An Inconvenient Troof, anyone? — let’s take a look at all the shade that snaked its way up into the atmosphere this year.
14. The Internet Tells Lifetime: Don’t “Try Again” with Aaliyah Movie
What an appalling, abysmal failure Lifetime's Aaliyah biopic was. Of course, no one expected it to be anything more, so viewers — a lot of them — tuned in purely to hate-watch. And did the hate ever flow freely, with fans and even the late singer’s Svengali, Timbaland, voicing and tweeting their hate-watch’red.
13. Bianca del Rio: Shady Is the Head That Wears the Crown
The Lady Del Rio snatched Drag Race’s Season Six crown by being the shadiest queen in the show’s her. With every catty remark, eye roll, side-eye or knockout one-liner, Bianca left a trail of tears, eyeliner and off-shoulder gowns.
Far from making her unappealing, though, Bianca's shade guided her flawless stomp to ultimate victory.
12. Snoop Doesn’t “Fancy” Iggy Azalea
Out of nowhere, Snoop Lion (née Dogg) hurled a mountain of shade at Iggy Azalea in October: On Instagram, The Doggfather compared Iggy to Marlon Wayans in White Chicks and called her a number of derogatory terms, leaving Iggy both perplexed and just a bit hurt.
But like the saucy Aussie she is, Miss Fancy brushed off the hate and loaded up with some countershade of her own. Luckily, Uncle T.I. stepped in and made it all better before Iggy woke up with a horse's head smoking a blunt in her bed.
11. Bette Midler: “Ariana Grande? Oh That Whore?”
The Ariana Grande Shade Parade rolled along quite nicely in 2014, with Bette Midler acting as grand marshal. Bathhouse Bette implied Ariana was a "whore" who needed to rely more on her talent than her body.
Grande took it in stride, though, professing her love and admiration for the Divine Miss M, while gently reminding her that — much like people in glass houses — people in see-through bodysuits shouldn’t throw stones. Or shade.
10. Martha Stewart Guns for GOOP
You don’t come for the Queen of Domesticity’s crown without her coming for your head: Gwyneth Paltrow found that out the hard way when Martha Stewart consciously uncoupled her fists and started swinging away at Gwynny's upstart lifestyle brand, GOOP.
The two WASPs have been lobbing passive-aggressive digs at each other ever since Martha told Gwyneth to stay in her lane and stop trying to jack her swag. If Martha really wants to drive her message home, though, may I suggest a festive Christmas pillow embroidered with an inspirational quote: “If you were confident in your acting, you wouldn't be trying to be Martha Stewart. Cunty Holidays.”
It’s a GOOP thing.
9. Phaedra Parks Twirls Kenya Michaels Right Outta the Room
The Real Housewives of Atlanta is Bravo’s shadiest offering, and this year’s reunion was one for the gods. While Nene can barely conceal her boredom (I’m pretty sure she nods off a few times), Phaedra Parks delivers one of the most withering reads ever televised.
All the bullhorns in the world couldn’t give Kenya Moore a worthy comeback.
8. Aretha Franklin Shades Taylor Swift And Nicki Minaj—And Patti LaBelle!
Aretha Franklin is literally 300 years old—she has more hits than a hammer and fewer fucks than a monastery. So when you ask her opinion get ready to get. her. opinion.
Case in point, the Queen of Soul’s thoughts on several up-and-coming “divas”: While she nodded her approval at a reporter’s mention of Alicia Keys and Adele, when it came to Taylor Swift, she summed it up in just four words.
It really just reminded us all that an unrehearsed Aretha Franklin — cold-chilling in a Sunday skirt-suit and using up her daytime minutes because she’s clearly phoning it in — is still more flawless than pretty much everyone.
And during the White House’s “Women of Soul” concert, Aretha appears to sidestep fellow goddess Patti LaBelle as she makes her way through a crowd of admirers.
That led to a satirical story about Patti doing away with the shade and opting instead to throw a few haymakers at her hey-sister, soul-sister.
7. Naomi Campbell "Learns" To Shade, Opens The Library On Kimye’s Vogue Cover
Kim Kardashian finally got her Vogue cover, confirming the death of the magazine for many a fashionista. On hand to throw a phone at the issue was supermodel of the world, Naomi Campbell, who reminded us all that A. she’s a fashion model, B. she earned her cover, and C. Anna Wintour will do whatever the fuck Anna Wintour wants.
Nomes called her canny comeback being “politically correct” — I call it being politically cunty. But what would one expect from Naomi Campbell? After all, she only grew out her bangs to conceal the withering side-eyes she was tossing at Tyra Banks in the early-90s.
So, of course, I was so surprised by the video of Nene Leakes "teaching" Naomi how to read. That’s like Taylor Swift teaching Joni Mitchell how to sing.
6. Kate Middleton’s Royal Eye Roll
While visiting New York with Prince William, Princess Kate showed us Americans how a lady shades: She was just getting her wrap on in Harlem when some commoner ordered her to quit her gabbing and get back to twerk.
Making BFF Michelle Obama proud, Kate simply rolled her eyes because she’s the goddamn Duchess of Cambridge and openly bitch slapping someone in front of children and cameras is just plain uncouth.
No doubt Kate picked up a thing or two from Her Royal Fierceness, Queen Elizabeth II, who’s been shading the world for over half a century.
5. Joni Mitchell Squelches Taylor Swift And Her High Cheekbones
Taylor Swift was in talks to star as legendary folk singer Joni Mitchell in an upcoming movie about pioneering female singer-songwriters.
Mitchell, however, claimed she squelched the casting choice because all the film’s producers had was a “girl with high cheekbones.”
High cheekbones and great gowns. Beautiful gowns.
4. James Franco and Seth Rogen Start Shade War III
North Korea might be new to this whole shade game, but subtlety has never been Kim Jong-un’s greatest virtue. Unbeknownst to me, however, Seth Rogen and bromantic life partner James Franco are Jedi shade masters: Their film, The Interview, reads Jong-un like a paperback and reportedly sparked an epic hack of Sony Pictures.
That hack in turn revealed all kinds of shade directed at its stable of stars, including “despicable” Leonardo DiCaprio and “minimally talented spoiled brat” Angelina Jolie — seen here giving a death stare to Sony exec Amy Pascal, while some lady in the back shadebombs in the background.
The full ramifications of all this glorious shade have yet to be felt, but Sony is not taking any chances: The studio has pulled The Interview’ from theaters. Meanwhile, Rogen and Franco may have incidentally made the most important movie of the year — while intentionally making the gayest.
3. Cissy Houston’s Backseat Shade on Letterman
Queen of Shade Aretha Franklin got a taste of her own medicine when she appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman. Longtime backup singer and the loins of Whitney Houston’s sumptuous fruits, Cissy Houston, agreed to show up to the taping — but that’s about it.
She may have been physically present, but Cissy was clearly not here for it. Or for anything for that matter, choosing to roll her eyes while Aretha rolled in the deep.
2. Jessica Lange’s Snubmarine Attack on Lea Michele
It was the snub seen ‘round the world as Ryan Murphy’s two favorite ladies (besides a conjoined Sarah Paulson, of course) had the shadiest red-carpet moment of the year.
Michele waved to Lange as she walked in front of her at the American Horror Story premiere, but Lange’s cold reception silently reminded her one of them was a two-time Oscar winning iceberg and the other was the goddamn Titanic. Before Lea could change course, she was already sinking fast.
Unfortunately for her—and great for us—that shade will go on and on and on.
1. Shonda Rhimes Shows Us How To Get Away with Shade
Rhimes also reminded us all that there are no such things as “gay scenes”—just scenes with people in them. People who usually end up having gay sex. Or rather, sex with gay people in it.
The Joan Rivers Memorial Reading Rainbow of Hate
We lost a titan among shade throwers this year. Hell, Joan Rivers practically invented shade, so now there’s a giant, cantankerous hole in all of our hearts that a million Kathy Griffins can never fill.
But even in death, Rivers had the last laugh. Her untimely passing stole the spotlight from everything else that day, including Queen Bey’s birthday. So the beloved comedian died doing what she loved best: poking holes at celebrities. May she rest.
Writer Les Fabian Brathwaite is a shady in waiting.
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