Nancy Pelosi has decided to cash in on being the most GIFed part of Donald Trump’s February State of the Union address. After the speech was over, her seemingly “shady clap” became the night’s biggest Twitter moment and lived on as a reaction GIF ever since Pelosi first put her hands together.
Oh yes it's even better in gif form because those "fuck you" eyes are smilin' pic.twitter.com/FOTzYQsSBE
— Joanna Robinson (@jowrotethis) February 6, 2019
Now, for only $22, those who wish to carry around Pelosi’s likeness can celebrate with a tee (or a tote bag!) that calls Pelosi the “patron saint of shade.” But let’s be real: should Pelosi be selling this swag?
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is selling 'Patron Saint of Shade' t-shirts and tote bags pic.twitter.com/e1O0qw1kU5
— Edward Hardy (@EdwardTHardy) March 11, 2019
Even though the media widely covered the clap — which resulted in Fox News awkwardly using the term “shade” in a headline — Pelosi herself denied that there was anything shady about the motion in the first place.
“It wasn’t sarcastic,” Pelosi told reporters, the Huffington Post reports. “Look at what I was applauding. I wanted him to know that it was very welcomed.” Pelosi said she clapped for Trump’s call to end “the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution.”
Why not go there and say that you were, indeed, throwing shade and then try to wrest 22 of people’s hard-earned dollars from them!?
More importantly, even if Pelosi were wielding shade as a weapon, she would not be its patron saint, she’d merely be another one of its warriors. That title would probably go to Paris Is Burning’s Dorian Corey, as pointed out by one Twitter user, who has offered up an explanation of shade that no one has yet to surpass.
You think Nancy Pelosi is the patron saint of shade??? But she merely adopted the shade; Dorian Corey was born in it, moulded by it. pic.twitter.com/Oga0XcWtbx
— Steenz! @ C2E2 (@oheysteenz) March 11, 2019
It’s not that Pelosi or anyone else can’t use the word “shade” or add it to their own vernacular. Thanks to the likes of shows like Drag Race, the vernacular of queer and trans Black and brown people has seeped further and further into the mainstream. But there’s a fine line between using it in your every day and trying to profit off it. Pelosi has certainly shown up for the community and has put protecting LGBTQ+ people at the top of her congressional agenda. But there’s a difference between showing up for LGBTQ+ people and taking our culture, slapping it on a shirt, and profiting from it.
On the fine line between appreciation and appropriation, selling merch with this term most certain teeters on the latter. We love you, Nancy, but take this tee down and keep to visiting the Drag Race workroom instead of peddling some pandering tees to queer people.