Nichelle Stephens
Mar 24, 2015 · 2 min read

When a new social media app launches, the first thing that happens is some social media experts immediately pen a guide on how to use it. For example, Meerkat is the latest craze, and I have seen at least a dozen blog posts on how to use it for your “brand”.

However, when new slang or pop culture colloquialism is coined and its usage get popular, it is rare than linguists or editors jump on the bandwagon and write a proper usage guide. It’s shame because it is absolutely necessary. The term “shade” or “throwing shade” is so often misused that Kara Brown, a writer at Jezebel, has a weekly column that I love, Shade Court. Shade Court is where pop culture slang meets Judge Judy. Most of the time the “defendants” are mainstream media outlets who are trying too hard to be relevant. They use “shade” erroneously. Shade is not the same as a diss, a clapback or a read. [Note: Everyone who writes about pop culture, celebrities and the like, should watch the documentary Paris is Burning. It will give you life.]

If you don’t know how to use “on fleek”, don’t worry. It’s a relatively new phrase. I looked it up on Google Trends and it first popped up on July 2014*. Then I checked on Urban Dictionary, and “on fleek” was first defined on September 28, 2014. On fleek basically means that something is “on point”. The first time I heard “on fleek” used in a sentence was in reference to eyebrows. On fleek’s definition is a colloquial way of saying that something is in order. Think of on fleek as a synonym to tip top, ship shape or well-groomed. It is not necessarily about aesthestics, but it is closely tied to it. On fleek describes something you can see. For instance, your mind can’t be on fleek, but your hair can definitely be.

*On fleek was coined by Peaches Monoree on June 21, 2014 via a Vine video.

Nichelle Stephens

Written by

Bookkeeper, Social Media Strategist and Writer. Writes about #popculture #politics and life.

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