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The Shade Room is a vile corner of the internet

The Shade Room is a vile corner of the internet

The Shade Room is a vile corner of the internet
July 16
14:00 2021

Content warning: This article contains language and content related to sexual assault. Reader discretion is advised.

Earlier this summer The Shade Room posted about Bill Cosby being released from prison. The news was incredibly disturbing for a multitude of reasons. Outrage and cries of protests were expected. Instead, many people within the comment section rejoiced.

One user commented: “They wanted to tarnish his name, they accomplished that… Bill set the tone for Black Love, & Family with his show. He made millions of black kids wanna go to college. They knew what they were doing smh.”

Another thanked Jesus as if Cosby did not admit to drugging and raping multiple women. These reactions did nothing but highlight the site’s biggest issue: it is a breeding ground for negativity and ignorance. 

 Angelica Nwandu founded The Shade Room in 2014 with the intention of establishing a media company centered primarily on Black entertainment and news. Now somewhat of a household name, The Shade Room staff makes hourly social media posts. Their coverage ranges from memes, shady celebrity interactions and breaking news. 

This is relatively innocent considering we live in the age of “E! News” and “Entertainment Tonight.” People are fascinated with celebrities and their drama and there is nothing wrong (legally) with capitalizing off that and creating a space for Black entertainment. The problem is instead of being famous for their content, The Shade Room has become infamous for their comment section and has even been blamed for it.

It has been speculated that The Shade Room intentionally posts certain things for shock value. They hide behind a journalistic facade when, in reality, these staff members are no better than the people who make outlandish comments.  A great example of this is when Zaya Wade, daughter of Gabrielle Union and Dwayne Wade, came out as transgender.

Like caring parents should, Union and Wade supported their daughter and celebrated her story.  Their compassion for their daughter was beautiful to witness and it was also lovely that the Wade family chose to share such an intimate journey. To The Shade Room though, this was an opportunity to allow hate-filled “think pieces.”

When the story first broke, it received an insane amount of backlash. Comments even went as far as misgendering Wade and harassing her. The Shade Room did nothing in response. Instead, they posted negative celebrity reactions to the news and continued to put a child in harm by continuously covering her, fully aware of the negativity it would attract.  

Instances like these are why many people want to see The Shade Room shut down. Sadly, it has transformed into this ball of negativity that continues to swell. Where do we draw the line?  Obviously, people have the right to express themselves and should do so unapologetically. The question then becomes how do we minimize the negativity and cyberbullying accompanied with it.

Personally, I feel as though increased accountability from The Shade Room for the content they share would go a long way towards decreasing the negativity around the site. The site’s employees some level of responsibility in controlling what they chose to report on. They know their demographic and they know how it will react to certain stories and celebrities. 

With that being said, they should be held accountable for their reckless reporting. If accountability is not enforced, there really is no other way in keeping some of those nasty comments at bay. There is also no legal way in which The Shade Room can be taken down without infringing on the first amendment, but it is important for people to be aware of what is happening.   

As someone who would like to see the site trending in a much more positive direction, I hope their decision-makers implement some changes soon.

Featured Illustration by Miranda Thomas

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Briahna Henry

Briahna Henry

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