2014 is nearing its close and, in the world of celebrity, it was a banner year for shade. Some utterly dominated their targets, some failed with a deafening thud of cringe, but they all tried. And, for that, they must be celebrated.
These acts of ultimate celeb-on-celeb judgement are ranked on a scale of 1 to 5 Gs, as in “Good God, Girl, Get a Grip,” in a ranking system devised around my favorite RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Latrice Royale, the only measurement for this kind of thing.
Get the Beygency on the phone at once. Annie Lennox has put herself on the enemy list.
First, she called Beyoncé’s brand of feminism “feminism lite.”:
I would call that “feminist lite”. L-I-T-E. I’m sorry. It’s tokenistic to me. I mean, I think she’s a phenomenal artist. I just love her performances – but I’d like to sit down [with her]. I think I’d like to sit down with quite a few artists and talk to them. I’d like to listen to them; I’d like to hear what they truly think. I see a lot of it as them taking the word hostage and using it to promote themselves, but I don’t think they necessarily represent wholeheartedly the depths of feminism – no, I don’t. I think for many it’s very convenient and it looks great and it looks radical, but I have some issues with it. I think it’s a cheap shot. I think what they do with it is cheap.
When asked by NPR in another interview to expand, she did, with equal eye roll induction:
Listen, twerking is not feminism. It’s not – it’s not liberating, it’s not empowering. It’s a sexual thing that you’re doing on a stage; it doesn’t empower you. That’s my feeling about it.
The reason why I’ve commented is because I think that this overt sexuality thrust — literally — at particular audiences, when very often performers have a very, very young audience, like 7 years older, I find it disturbing and I think its exploitative. It’s troubling. I’m coming from a perspective of a woman that’s had children.
Hi. I’m a woman who too has given birth (overt sexuality thrusts are how I produced my kids, actually, so I think I know what I’m talking about here), and a feminist who HATES when people try to tell other women they’re being feminists wrong. I think Beyoncé is human perfection and Lennox needs to stop talking shit and, as long as she’s doing that, stop whitewashing songs about lynching. It feels a lot like you’re walking on broken glass here, Annie. It was not your year.
Shade level: 1 out of 5 Latrice Royales
If enough time passes, you forget past scandals. But we must never forget this one thing: Martha Stewart plays by prison rules only.
After a long history of being passive aggressive Julia Children to each other, Stewart stepped up her game this fall with the inclusion of an article titled “Conscious Coupling” as well as quotes like this: “[Gwyneth Paltrow] just needs to be quiet. She’s a movie star. If she were confident in her acting, she wouldn’t be trying to be Martha Stewart.”
Paltrow responded so dripping with sarcasm that she could use the spare sarcasm drippings as a gastrique to be delicately spooned over a fine Tuscan herb salad in the next edition of Goop: “No one has ever said anything bad about me before, so I’m shocked and devastated. I’ll try to recover. If I’m really honest, I’m so psyched that she sees [Goop] as competition. I really am.”
Shade level: 3 out of 5 Latrice Royales
The Gossip Table weighs in on Martha’s shade.
Taylor Swift and Katy PerryHere’s the thing about Swift: she’s created a very sweet “aw shucks, I’m a surprised human glitter pen” persona, but she’s definitely a secret shady lady, and I love it.
In an interview with Rolling Stone in September, Swift spoke about the subject of her song “Bad Blood” being a fellow singer:
“She did something so horrible,” Swift says. “I was like, ’Oh, we’re just straight-up enemies.’ And it wasn’t even about a guy! It had to do with business. She basically tried to sabotage an entire arena tour. She tried to hire a bunch of people out from under me. And I’m surprisingly non-confrontational – you would not believe how much I hate conflict. So now I have to avoid her. It’s awkward, and I don’t like it.”
People figured out it was Katy Perry within, like, seconds, and Perry confirmed.
Watch out for the Regina George in sheep’s clothing…
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) September 9, 2014
Shade level: 2 out of 5 Latrice Royales
Nicki MinajAt the BET Awards in June, Minaj accepted her award for Best Female Hip-Hop Artist with what many considered a slam on Iggy Azalea, someone most people believe does not write her own lyrics: “What I want the world to know about Nicki Minaj is when you hear Nicki Minaj spit, Nicki Minaj wrote it. No, no, no shade, no, no, no shade.”
No shade, you say, Nicki?
Days later, Minaj took to Twitter to explain.
The media puts words in my mouth all the time and this is no different. I will always take a stance on women writing b/c I believe in us! I believe we’re smart enough to write down our own thoughts and perspective, just like the men do. I’ve been saying this for 5 YEARS. I fell in love with Lauryn Hill b/c I knew she was the author behind those amazingly profound and articulated songs on the MisEducation. I wondered how Lauryn tapped into my brain and wrote an album on love, betrayal, passion, pain, triumph, brokenness…. Did she read minds? It’s the same reason I have a different level of respect for Missy. I know she’s a writer and a producer. Women MUST aspire for more.
I’ve congratulated Iggy on the success of Fancy, publicly. She should be very proud of that. All the women nominated should b proud. That will never change my desire to motivate women to write. Our voices have to be heard. I hope I inspire up & coming females to do that.
For shade with a positive female message, shade level: 4 out of 5 Latrice Royales.
Scott RudinA late entry but a deserving one. We learned this week, thanks to the massive leak that hit Sony Pictures, that Hollywood producer drama is exactly as we had always pictured it: replete with threats, copious droppings of the word “fuck” and amazing lines like “the masturbatory call is a wank I have no time for.” All this over the Steve Jobs movie, a movie that may never be made/already kind of was with Ashton Kutcher/already kind of was long before that with Noah Wyle and Anthony Michael Hall. The whole thread of leaked emails (which started on my birthday incidentally, meaning I got the best birthday gift and didn’t even know it) is incredible and includes David Fincher calling Adam Driver in Star Wars “a terrible idea,” but producer Rudin’s back and forth with Sony boss Amy Pascal is utterly popcorn worthy. Especially this bit about Angelina Jolie:
I’m not destroying my career over a minimally talented spoiled brat who thought nothing of shoving this off her plate for eighteen months so she could go direct a movie. I have no desire to be making a movie with her, or anybody, that she runs and that we don’t. She’s a camp event and a celebrity and that’s all and the last thing anybody needs is to make a giant bomb with her that any fool could see coming.
Shade level: 5 out of 5 Latrice Royales
Find out more about Rudin’s thoughts on Jolie, and Sony’s leaked emails, from The Gossip Table.
[Photo Credit: Splash News]