Zayn Malik, Gigi Hadid, Perrie Edwards And One Direction: Who Is Throwing Shade?

Zayn Malik is always accused of throwing shade at One Direction. Every time Zayn opens his mouth, the press just assumes Malik is slamming 1D. But most of the time Zayn is just explaining for the millionth time why he left 1D from his own point of view.

Gigi Hadid never throws shade. Gigi might throw a punch if she feels her life is threatened, but Miss Hadid knows throwing shade is pointless and tacky. Gigi doesn’t do throw shade and perhaps Perrie Edwards should take a lesson, so the next guy doesn’t send her a breakup text.

Perrie Edward’s new song “Shout Out To My Ex” goes beyond throwing shade, according to the definition. Whether or not it is shade, is a matter of opinion, but it is either shade or outright bashing. There will be more on bashing later.

Zayn Malik, Gigi Hadid, or Perrie Edwards; who is by definition throwing shade? Here is a definition by Urban Dictionary cited in a modern linguistics article by English Stack Exchange, that explains specifically what shade is.

“[T]hrow shade: to talk trash about a friend or acquaintance, to publicly denounce or disrespect. When throwing shade it’s immediately obvious to on-lookers that the thrower, and not the throwee, is the bitcy [sic], uncool one.”

So is Gigi Hadid’s beau Zayn Malik throwing shade, every time he says he wasn’t being fulfilled as an artist while with One Direction? Technically his statement looks more like explaining how he felt about 1D’s creative process from his own unique point of view. Many people interpret Malik’s statements as uncool, so is this shade?

Zayn Malik is quoted by Daily Mail explaining how “Pillowtalk” is different from One Direction’s music, the Daily Mail alleges in their headline Malik’s simple comment is shade.

“I was also able to sing about a subject that I hadn’t really been able to go near while I was in One Direction: sex.”

Tommy Girl Gigi Hadid Doesn't need to throw shade
Gigi Hadid Tommy Girl and designer for Tommy x Gigi doesn't need to throw shade. [Image by Randy Brooke/Getty Images]

Does One Direction have any songs about sex? Apparently not, so this is just the truth, not shade. If Zayn Malik wanted to create sexually gratuitous songs, he had to leave One Direction to do it. It is a simple statement based on the truth, not shade. That said, “Pillowtalk” isn’t crude or nasty, but generally Zayn’s music doesn’t fall within the boy band genre. There is one F-bomb in “Pillowtalk” too, so 1D could not have recorded a song like “Pillowtalk.”

Apparently, Perrie Edwards of Little Mix is not similarly restricted within the girl band genre. Her song “Shout Out To My Ex” is quite sexually explicit.

Could Gigi Hadid be said to be throwing shade when she’s really throwing an elbow to the head of a scary attacker? Not really. There is a huge difference between self-defense and throwing shade. Her attacker later threw shade at her, though it seemed to lack that clever element necessary for true shade.

Was Perrie Edwards throwing shade at One Direction’s Zayn Malik and Gigi Hadid in “Shout Out To My Ex?” Not necessarily. Shade is, by definition, clever, imaginative, and refined according to English Stack Exchange, so probably not, though perhaps that is a matter of opinion.

“To read is to insult imaginatively… Throwing shade is reading at a refined level.”

Perrie Edward’s “Shout Out To My Ex” lyrics can be found on AZ Lyrics. This doesn’t seem very clever or imaginative upon a casual examination, and it is far from refined. Her comments seem pretty common, among the things jilted lovers say, but the musical merit and creativity level ratings are up to each listener to determine. It is, however, public disrespect by means of trash talking. Perrie Edwards song hits at least most of the definition of shade.

Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik
Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik: What shade? [Image by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images]

“Shout Out To My Ex” does make Perrie Edwards look uncool. It’s kind of obvious she isn’t over Zayn, or she would have never written the song. Apparently, though this is the best Perrie can do at trying to be clever while still angry. Zayn Malik and Gigi Hadid have too much class to comment on this bit of trash talk. Should Perrie Edwards fear Gigi’s powerful elbow?

“I hope she gettin’ better sex
Hope she ain’t fakin’ it like I did, babe
Took four long years to call it quits
Forget that boy, I’m over it.”

What Zayn Malik says about One Direction has never been some kind of artfully crafted insult. It is usually just a statement of his own artistic frustration. No one could know if Zayn is artistically frustrated unless he says so, though one could guess, but he has said so repeatedly, and every time he says this he is accused of shade and slamming.

What Perrie Edwards said about Zayn Malik and Gigi Hadid seems a bit more like cruelty, bashing or bludgeoning than shading. Here is what English Stack Exchange says about crude bashing in contrast with shade.

“[T]hrowing shade is defined in opposition to the directness and cruelty of gay-bashing [for example.] It’s more artfully executed, more dependent on constructing a veiled (or not-so-veiled) insult rather than relying on obvious crudities and innuendo. Throwing shade requires wielding your words like a rapier rather than a cudgel.”

What Perrie Edwards says about Former One Direction singer Zayn Malik, and the lovely Miss Gigi Hadid, who doesn’t throw shade at all, might fall more in the realm of directness, cruelty, and obvious crudities than actual shade, which has to be clever and artful. Still, art is in the eye of the beholder.

While Zayn Malik thinks singing about sex is cool, it is doubtful he thinks “Shout Out To My Ex” is cool. Even if it were about someone other than himself, he would not like it. Apart from the shameless sensationalism of attacking people more famous than one’s self, the song has little to offer.

Zayn Malik is not throwing shade at One Direction, and he never has. Expressing creative differences and one’s desired genre is not throwing shade. His desired style simply did not fit certain aspects of the boy band genre, which has to be squeaky clean, by definition. At times, as a rhythm and blues artist, he must have felt badly out of place.


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One Direction should not feel slighted that Zayn Malik could not express himself well within that genre. Zayn isn’t throwing shade by saying he personally found the boy band image and genre uncomfortable and not compatible with his R&B style. That isn’t throwing shade or slamming. It’s just explaining differences.

Gigi Hadid’s attacker should not be shocked that he caught that sharp elbow to the head either. She’s a boxer and thought her life was in danger. Maybe next time Sediuk will sneak up and grab Conor McGregor from behind.

Zayn Malik and Gigi Hadid are taking a crude form of shade from Perrie Edwards by definition, but Zayn isn’t dishing out shade on One Direction and never has, by definition.

[Featured Image by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]