Opinions are like mouths and eyes, everyone has them. Just as there are different variations of religions, schools, and people, there are various forms of opinions. The two that people most often encounter are critiques and “shade”. Both are drastically different from each other but somehow people make them closely related. In a world where many have so much to say, yet very few make valid points and observations, it’s easy to misclassify someone’s thoughts and views. Too many times, when someone thinks differently or brings up an opposing point, we as humans tend to shy away from those people or we reject them with no valid reason. We as humans are so quick to accuse someone of throwing shade that we often don’t truly hear what the other person has to say. With the amount of attention and controversy Bell Hooks has caused with her review of Beyonce's Lemonade and the rebuttals of Jamilah Lemieux and Janet Mock, I took the time to break down the difference between critique and shade.
What is a critique?
A critique is a detailed analysis and assessment of literary, philosophical, or political theory. This can relate to anything; music, books, movies, poetry, art, etc. Sometimes it doesn’t have to relate to art at all. Now a critique isn’t always a bad thing; a critique often shows the audience a presenter’s hits and misses. A critique is may even show us something we miss, the real meaning behind something, or what is lacking in what is presented. This is no way malicious if done correctly. Now when you put your feelings and catty remarks into your critique, that’s when it becomes shade.
What is shade?
A term first introduced to the world thanks to Paris Is Burning, shade is casually or indirectly dissing someone. Usually, shade requires a witty or snarky remarks that are supposed to hit below the belt or get someone in their feelings. Often, shade stems from personal views or facts used to tear another person down. Now the rule to throwing shade is to never throw shade if you’re not ready for the aftermath. There’s an unofficial commandment of shade, brought us by Blavity, one of which is it states,
“Thou shalt not throw shade unless thou can catch shade.”
I truly believe in this statement; if you can’t detect shade or know how to respond to shade, then you should not respond but that’s another topic.
Now, is there a difference between critique and shade? Yes. Is there a way to tell the difference? Yes. And is there a way we should approach it? Definitely!
If a person has to include a personal attack on your character in their “critique” about you or something you’ve done, it’s not a critique, its simply shade. Anytime someone makes an unwarranted comment, they often bring no value or any benefit to helping you elevate to the next level. Those are the people you can easily ignore. Now if someone expresses an idea, some corrections, or some flaws in you and/or what you do, then that is a critique. When a person can see flaws, yet still acknowledge your success, you should keep those people around. A critique is not meant to be a jab at someone or to belittle what they do, it’s meant to open people’s mind and to show what needs improvement. If you take critique as shade, that says more about you and your feelings than the person giving the critique. Also, responding to critique based on emotions and preconceived views don’t help the situation either. Sometimes we need to ask ourselves, as humans, is a person really giving critique or shade? Am I really open to critique or are my emotions to removed, which makes everything look like shade? And am I emotionally ready for a critique? It is important that we remove our emotions and views sometimes before responding to anything. Don’t do anything that will end up making you look like an asshole (excuse my language).
This is just another example of how we as humans need to learn to communicate. What are your thoughts? Please feel free to critique me lol.