Pokimane apologizes after backlash for using AAVE language in Twitch stream title

Pokimane aave twitchInstagram/pokimanelol

Pokimane has apologized for using AAVE (African American Vernacular English) in the title of her August 19 Twitch stream. Fans called her out, claiming she was “mocking” the dialect form. 

Pokimane is the latest social media personality to spark controversy over the use AAVE. Olivia Rodrigo was slammed by Twitter users back in July for adopting a ‘blaccent’ and using phrases such as “I be trending.”

Non-black celebrities are regularly pulled up for their use of the dialect. Iggy Azalea, Ariana Grande and Awkwafina have all come under the firing line.

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pokimane olivia rodrigoInstagram: pokimanelol/oliviarodrigo
Pokimane and Olivia Rodrigo have both been called out for using AAVE in recent months.

Pokimane apologizes for AAVE language

Pokimane titled her August 19 stream “on God for real for real? It’s bussin bussin (sic) in here.” The caption included laughing and fire emojis.

Fans responded with criticism on Twitter. User @hotdemonwitch posted a screenshot of the title, captioning it “stop.” They later clarified their position, saying “I posted this because the title felt mocking and others believed it was offensive.”

The streamer Tweeted an apology on August 20: “Wanted to apologize if I overused AAVE… today.” Pokimane admitted she “wasn’t aware that some of those terms were AAVE.” She concluded, “love to those who bought it to my attention!”

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As more people are conflating AAVE with “Gen-Z slang” or “internet speak,” what actually is AAVE? Why do fans think it’s important to know the difference?

What is AAVE?

African American Vernacular English pre-dates Gen-Z and the internet as a whole. AAVE originated in the US’ Black community, and was shaped by “the process of second language acquisition.”

Many people within the Black community still use AAVE today. Videos of celebrities such as Nicki Minaj and NeNe Leakes have previously gone viral for their use of the dialect. This has lead to widespread usage of AAVE on the internet in the form of memes, including “chile, anyways.”

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Twitter users and academics have commented on how this can be “problematic.” While Black people have been mocked for using AAVE, many others have branded it a “Gen-Z trend.”

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