How to Throw Shade: An ONTD Original, Featuring Lessons by ONTD's Favorite Divas

An explanation of shade from the drag classic, Paris is Burning

1) Fashion faux-pas are fun, easy targets

As Paris is Burning showed us, some of the best shade can come from targeting a subtle insecurity and running with it.

2) "I don't know her."

Sometimes saying nothing at all can say so, so much. Celebs will often trot out this line when asked to comment on their peers but few do it as flawlessly as Mariah.

3) Shade can be a great way to respond to an attempted drag

Every now and then popstars put the shade aside and throw outright jabs at one another. This is rarely a good look because when the comments are re-tweeted, printed, and/or published they tend to just make you look pressed. A transcript of well-thrown shade however, often looks completely innocent. Here, Madonna illustrates that one of the best responses to a direct jab is a shady combination of bewilderment, pity, and sass.

*see also*

Could you speak up and stop the m-m-mumbling I don't think you're getting clear Sitting on the top it's hard to hear you from way up here I saw you tryin' to act cute on TV just let me clear the air We missed you on the charts last week. Damn, that's right, you wasn't there If s-s-sexy never left, then why's everybody on my shit-t-t? Don't hate on me just because you didn't come up with it So, if you see us in the club go on and walk the other way 'Cuz our run will never be over, not at least until we say

4) Acknowledge their work, but stop just short of complimenting it

Here, Whitney takes Mariah's "I don't know her" a step further. She's saying, "I know her...and still don't have an opinion."

5) Ask for receipts when you know there are none

This is particularly effective when paired with "I'll wait."

6) White men can j̶u̶m̶p̶ throw shade

Here, Mark Wahlberg (arguably the whitest, straightest man in America) gets in on the action with some shade that knocked that silly ass hat right of Johnny Depp's head.

7) Academic or intellectual shade can be especially delicious

The New York Times did an article about a wealthy, young Silicon Valley couple, Sean Eldridge and Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes. The couple has been accused of using their money and connections to try and purchase a Congressional seat for Mr. Eldridge in communities where they have no ties. The Times did not take kindly to their naivete and carpet bagging, and threw some Columbia School of Journalism level shade:

8) Expression and delivery are an important part of shade. Depending on the tone and content, this can vary anywhere from a barely repressed grimace to a wink and a smile.

And sometimes the expression and body language is all you need.....

How NOT to Throw Shade

1) Don't get bitter

Keep your cool. Don't ramble, don't get caught up in your feelings, and for the love of God don't spend half your Behind the Music talking about another artist.

2) Have the humility and good sense to know when to NOT come for someone

Come for the wrong person and your career/mentions may never be the same.

And a final primer from the queen herself. Relax under the branches of her Mariah's redwood of shade:


So ONTD, what are your favorite shady celeb moments? Do you ever throw shade in real life?