Here’s a little opening rhyme for you, my lovely sweet dimes:
I’m here to give you the raunchiest post on this side of Shoutout. No shade to my fellow bloggers, but feel free to pout. Recklessness is my game, and I will showcase it without shame. I’m here to do it with style and grace. Because how often do you come across the Black gays. And no, this is not something that can slide by or even faze. By the end of this post, your reading will surely raise. Now let’s get into the dirt and the mess because I know that I’ve already impressed.
I hope you enjoyed those rhymes (I was trying to keep it cute). But in all seriousness, let’s talk about ballroom because that is where reading originated. A brief history lesson, the ballroom was where many Black and Brown queer folk could gather without the illegitimate pressures: the misogynistic, homophobic, racist, and transphobic natures of the United States America. New York City acted as the epicenter for QTPOC’s (queer and trans people of color) to relocate to and welcomed into houses (i.e., House of Xtravaganza, House of Labeija, etc.) after many of which were kicked out of their households and left to be homeless by their parents. QTPOC predominantly comprises ballroom (notice how I said the Black and Brown queer community — because the White queers in general (specifically White cis gay men) are a whole other breed of queer, but that deserves a read of its own). But speaking of reading, ballroom gave birth to much terminology that many Americans (white cis gay men) use currently, such as “slay,” “tea,” “live,” and, of course, my favorites: “shade” and a good ole fashioned “read.”
So the difference between shade and a read is that when I throw shade, I don’t have to tell you about yourself because you already know it. Still, I’ll give you a hint to understand that I’m disrespecting you (all because you don’t respect yourself, in my opinion). Reading is taking the time to tell you about yourself things that you may not have even realized about yourself. But if you are ever looking to read, you have to point out something that the person you are reading could never say about you. Speaking of reading, if you are ever looking to be read, then the best person to do so is a Black queer person (but I would not recommend unless you can take it constructively). Typically, I start by saying, “let me tell you about yourself,” and then I proceed with the read. Both are means to expose people’s flaws, but how you choose to go about it is pivotal. And I believe that Black and Brown queer people can be precise with whether to read or shade someone when an exposing is necessary, all because of the double-consciousness that QTPOC experience. Having this double-consciousness allows QTPOC to approach the world in a way that others simply cannot, so it helps us better analyze the world around us, thus choosing whether to give a thorough read or throw shade so that a dusty dullard can’t respond.
But when you decide to read someone for filth, be sure it is in good consciousness so that it doesn’t disturb your peace. And if you are a QTPOC, use your double-consciousness to do such.