By now, most people should be familiar with the term shade (especially if you have watched even one episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race where challenges are held in the best shade throwing). Urban dictionary has this definition: “A light comment with slight disrespect towards an individual. ‘Rose threw shade at Mona when she said there isn’t a guy in her degree program Mona hadn’t kissed’.” At Pulse Art Fair during Art Basel Miami Beach, New York-based artist Rashaad Newsome held screen tests for upcoming stars of his Shade Compositions.
Newsome here debuts the tests as an intimate incarnation of his prolific performance series Shade Compositions. From its inception, Shade Compositions was an elevation of black womanhood that transformed stereotypical gestures associated with that community into a sonic celebration of culture and vernacular. Shade Screen Tests presents a deeper, more personal look at this concept through individual portraits of women meant to be cast in Shade Compositions. Each woman, cis and trans, has been styled under the #NoStereotypes Movement initiated by the black hair care product Olive Oil.