When it comes to every gossip girl or guy’s favorite pastime – throwing shade – Twitter reigns supreme. That’s because, as far as social media is concerned, Twitter’s shtick of pithy, 140-character sound bites perfectly encapsulates what shade should be: subtle, short and scathing. No one’s being shaded through the Mayfair filter on Instagram, no one has the time to indulge your Facebook rant for flashes of shade and no one actually even uses Google Plus, right?
But Twitter, man can Twitter get downright shady. It’s even developed it’s own lingo and tweet style for best practices of shade throwing, everything from removed, observatory twatchers that wait patiently for tea to be spilled so they can pounce on that retweet, to snarky, trolling subtweeters who peruse their Twitter feeds with the sole purpose of putting something they found on blast without actually calling the tweeter out.
Undoubtedly an extension of subtweeting, throwing Twitter shade is the electronic dampening of one’s supposed shine, or an indirect clapback to some basic without enough biting wit and delicate sensibility to craft a searing insult disguised as a seemingly run-of-the-mill tweet that stands on its own. That’s the beauty of shade done right – it systematically torches a lesser by skirting the subject at hand, and by finding that hidden, ultimately more satisfying and gut-punching entrance to execute a complete K.O.
Why listen to me though when we can let celebrities illustrate the artistry of throwing shade through their own tweets? The following are several masterful examples of celebrities casting blackout levels of shade, and explanations as to why they hit as hard as they do. Now would be a good time to put your shades on.
Iggy Azalea vs. Britney Spears:
The sweet and soft-spoken pop starlet normally has nothing but nice things to say about everyone. But put Britney in a corner, and out comes a lethal shade monger. Recently, Igloo Australia – excuse the shade, sorry – I meant, Iggy Azalea, went on yet another one of her trademark Twitter rants (aka the exact opposite of throwing shade) in regards to the underwhelming performance of her Britney collaboration “Pretty Girls.”
@rhuancesarr its difficult to send a song up the charts without additional promo and tv performances etc. unfortunately im just featured…
— IGGY AZALEA (@IGGYAZALEA) June 28, 2015
She inferred it’s chart ranking hinged on Britney’s lack of promotion around the song, and also responded to several accounts tweeting at her that she would’ve done more to promote it, but she was only the featured artist (even though she lobbied like a desperate housewife for a full-blown duet credit on the track). She also made some comment to the effect of not feeling the need to suck Britney’s, um, rear-end orifice, which, in all honesty, she should be so lucky.
@ThePopZone my comment is factual, it applies to any song. I dont have to suck the womans asshole 24/7 to be her friend, do i? bye girls.
— IGGY AZALEA (@IGGYAZALEA) June 29, 2015
Then comes Britney. Without a single mention of Iggy, “Pretty Girls” or any sort of defense against Iggy’s asinine claims, Britney shut Iggy down with the following tweet:
Can’t wait to get back to Vegas. So thankful I have shows for the rest of the year to look forward to… #YouWantAPieceOfMe
— Britney Spears (@britneyspears) June 29, 2015
Why is this shady? Well, as mentioned, it has nothing to do with the blatant attack against her that Iggy rattled off, thus making her appear above the petty feud and more level-headed. Secondly, the tweet twists the knife into a wound Iggy has been suffering now for months – the consistent delays, and ultimate cancellation of her headlining tour. Britney simultaneously won the feud and proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the underperformance of “Pretty Girls” is no skin off her back whatsoever – she’s got an enviable catalogue of hits, all of which she’s performing through the end of the year at her lucrative Vegas show “Piece of Me.”
Winner – Britney
Rihanna vs. Ciara:
Rihanna is the queen of the clap back. Seriously, you do not want to encounter Rihanna in a dark Twitter alley alone and unarmed. And yet for some reason, poor, oft-forgotten R&B diva Ciara got to trifling and took on the Barbadian queen. To be fair, Ciara does hold up her own quite well, but her petty whining on “Fashion Police” about running into Rihanna and it not being a pleasant meeting kicked off the whole feud on an already sour note. In response to Ciara’s televised put-down, RiRi took to Twitter with this tweet:
My bad ci, did I 4get to tip u? #howrudeofme
— Rihanna (@rihanna) February 26, 2011
It’s a more direct response, somewhat negating the subtlety that truly masterful shade requires. Ciara, however, couldn’t leave well enough alone. She chimes back with this tweet, where she intentionally misspells Rihanna’s name (a solid tactic) but just eggs on the feud to the point of no return:
Trust me Rhianna u dont want to see me on or off the stage
— Ciara (@ciara) February 26, 2011
Of course, Rihanna has the last laugh because, well, she’s Rihanna, one of the world’s biggest pop stars, and Ciara is, well, not. Common knowledge we all know, and Rihanna’s shady tweet devilishly insinuates just that:
Good luck with bookin that stage u speak of
— Rihanna (@rihanna) February 26, 2011
Winner – Rihanna
Mariah Carey vs. Nicki Minaj
It’s no secret the animosity between these two. Their feud was televised on a weekly basis when the two were co-judges on “American Idol” in 2013. Naturally, their distaste for one another found its way to Twitter. Mariah, who called Nicki out live on Idol for not having a Billboard Hot 100 #1 song, of which she holds the record for the most out of any solo artist (a whopping 18), was the first to light the wick. Nicki took the shady route for her clapback and it burned so good:
All dem #1s but JLo phone ringin? Lol. I guess having a personality, being a secure woman, and giving genuine critique still trumps that.
— NICKI MINAJ (@NICKIMINAJ) May 2, 2013
No blatant reference to Mariah there, but the mention of #1 songs, as well as ex-judge Jennifer Lopez, whom Mariah also has beef with and who would go on to replace her the following season, are all umbrellas contributing to Nicki’s shade.
A couple years have gone by since then, but apparently, Mariah is not yet done fanning that “American Idol” fire. She recently was interviewed and said that “American Idol” was the worst experience of her life. Nicki has yet to stoop to retort – which gives her the slightest of edges in the shade-off, despite the fact that Mariah is a masterful offline shade thrower, but hasn’t quite mastered the art form on Twitter like Nicki has. However, this capital-S shady Vine of another interview with Mariah has got to count for something, seeing as it’s the sister platform of Twitter.
Winner – this one’s a tie.