18 year-old star Olivia Rodrigo has come under criticism for using a ‘blaccent’ and elements of AAVE. An old Instagram Live of the singer surfaced on TikTok and Twitter, with users commenting on her “misuse” of the “mannerisms.” Fans are calling for Olivia to “address” and “denounce” the claims.
The young popstar has faced a number of accusations throughout her short career. On June 24, ’90s legend Courtney Love alleged that Olivia had plagiarized her work. The ‘Hole’ founder posted an image of Olivia dressed as Stephen King’s Carrie and compared it with her own cover work. She wrote on Facebook, “stealing an original idea and not asking permission is rude… this was bad form.”
Despite this, Olivia isn’t the first young star to be accused of “blackfishing.” Ariana Grande, Awkwafina and Billie Eilish have found themselves in the firing line from fans who believed they were trying to “sound black.”
Which begs the question; what exactly is a ‘blaccent?’ And why is it so “problematic?”
When did Olivia’s accent become a ‘blaccent?’
Traditionally known as African American Vernacular English (AAVE), the ‘blaccent’ has trended on social media since the Vine days. Staples of AAVE in digital culture include “b**ches be like,” RuPaul’s “miss thang” and Nicki Minaj-popularized “chile, anyways.”
Twitter users have explained why the use of AAVE by non-black individuals could be seen as “problematic.” One pointed out that black people have been subject to bullying due to the dialect. “Black people have been made fun of for decades by (people) telling them (AAVE) is improper,” they said. The same user highlighted the fact that it has now become a “trend,” and most people now know it as “internet speak.”
As the years moved on and social media progressed in popularity creating more standards, AAVE became famous on TikTok, as people started using the words "chile" "sis" "period" and more. Because of this, AAVE has now gotten a new name that people call "internet language/speaking".
— Folkwhorian (@lilsecretbiwwy) July 29, 2021
Olivia fans came to the singer’s defense
A number of ‘Livvies’ have replied to these threads, defending their favorite star. One fan Tweeted, “she just talks like most Gen-Z (people) do on the internet.”
A dedicated fan account said, “this isn’t an issue y’all are cancelling her, stop this.”
this isn’t an issue y’all are cancelling her stop this
— President Liv in Multiverse (@liviesfrvr) July 29, 2021
Fans are yet to see whether Olivia will make a statement on this. In the meantime, she was spotted attending Billie Eilish’s album release party.