Olivia Rodrigo has been called out by fans after videos resurfaced of her speaking with a “blaccent” and using African-American slang.
The Drivers License singer has been accused of speaking with an accentuated accent and using African-American Vernacular English (AAVE) during an Instagram live earlier this year.
In the resurfaced clips, the 18-year-old can be seen interacting with her fans while saying things like “I be trending”, “y’all” and “imma” while speaking in what is referred to as a “blaccent”.
The term is defined as “the imitation of Black English by non-Black people”.
Many people were quick to highlight the “double standard” of Rodrigo casually using AAVE – as many Black people are still discriminated against for speaking the same way.
“I think the problem here is the double standard,” one person wrote. “It’s cool and trendy for non-Black people to talk like that but Black people are still scolded for using AAVE even though they invented it.”
olivia rodrigo constantly uses AAVE and it is pissing me off. the blaccent… pic.twitter.com/R3RmcFdjs0
— GiGi (@beytilldawn) July 28, 2021
Another tweeted: “I can see why ppl don’t think it’s that serious, but for me, this is just annoying bc at the end of the day Black folks definitely get discriminated against for using AAVE.
“Technically she’s not hurting anyone BUT she is perpetuating some mess.”
Another wrote: “Do you know how many Black kids at my school were told they’ll never have or never amount to anything because they talk like this.”
One fan added: “AAVE is a language that is often called ghetto when Black people use it… but cool when its a trend amongst white crowds.”
The majority of the clips are from earlier in the year, around the release of her hit song Drivers License.
As well as the video compilation, a thread of her tweets from 2020 and early 2021 where she uses AAVE slang terms like “homegirl,” “crine,” and “yung” has been widely shared.
When the resurfaced clips began circulating across social media, many fans called for Rodrigo to “take accountability” for the appropriation, and “address” her past comments.
and if you think that’s all here is a bunch of tweets that make me cringe https://t.co/1n6Kdiq6l9
— GiGi (@beytilldawn) July 28, 2021
One fan tweeted: “Hey Olivia Rodrigo. I know you’re not very confrontational and you like to stay as unproblematic as possible but please address this specific situation about your use of AAVE.
“Many of your fans are counting on you to address it and it’s important.”
Another said: “Olivia needs to address her usage of AAVE, it’s made so many people uncomfortable and it’s not right for her to use it!
“We should hold Olivia accountable for her actions and not ignore it or defend her! she needs to be educated on this.”
Words such as “lit”, “woke”, “bae”, “ratchet”, “sis”, “slay”, “yassss”, “hella”, or “basic”, and phrases such as “straight up”, “on fleek”, “I feel you”, “spill the tea” and “turn up”, are common sayings that all come from AAVE.
I think the problem here is the double standard… it’s cool and trendy for non-black people to talk like that but black people are still scolded for using aave even though they invented it
— SOUR Doughnuts 🧣 (@ChangeVoter) July 29, 2021
Many of these words have been absorbed into mainstream slang, but the language has a long history rooted in both African dialects and Caribbean Creole English.
When it is used by non-Black people verbally, and on social media, it “erases this origin, while commodifying parts of Black culture”.
The issue, as Feminuity explains, is that Black people regularly have to self-police their use of AAVE in order to survive, while non-Black people can use it freely without having to worry about the consequences.
As Babbel explains: “AAVE, when used by African-American people, is often associated with “undesirable” parts of society like poverty, drugs, violence, and gangs.
“But when corporations or white people use it, they are co-opting its “cool” potential for their own gain — and giving nothing back to the community that created it.”