@beytilldawn on Twitter Remix by Cecilia Lenzen

‘Big yikes’: Resurfaced video shows Olivia Rodrigo using a ‘blaccent’

Some users say the slang is part of TikTok culture.

 

Cecilia Lenzen

Internet Culture

Published Jul 29, 2021   Updated Jul 30, 2021, 11:40 am CDT

Olivia Rodrigo is under fire on Twitter after users accused the celebrity singer of using a “blaccent” in a resurfaced Instagram clip.

Twitter user @beytilldawn, or Gigi, shared a compilation of Rodrigo’s Instagram lives, saying, “Olivia rodrigo constantly uses AAVE and it is pissing me off. the blaccent…” The caption refers to African-American Vernacular English, also known as AAVE or Ebonics, which is distinctive slang or other terms that originated with Black speakers.

In the video, the “Driver’s License” singer uses AAVE and a “blaccent,” which refers to a pattern that mimics the speech patterns of Black people. In the videos, Rodrigo uses terms and phrases including, “I be trending,’” “emotional AF,” and “imma.” 

Judging by Rodrigo’s birthday hat and “I got my driver’s license” backdrop, it appears that most of the video clips are from earlier this year when her hit single was released. 

In addition to the video compilation, GiGi tweeted a thread of Rodrigo’s tweets from 2020 and early 2021 that she said made her “cringe.” The thread showed Rodrigo’s use of words like “yung,” “stunna,” “homegirl” and “crine,” which is slang for “crying.”

When the video clips took off on Twitter with more than 563,000 views, many fans were surprised and encouraged Rodrigo to take accountability and apologize for using AAVE and a blaccent. 

“She doesn’t sound like this when she sings big yikes,” one person tweeted. 

“Hi @Olivia_Rodrigo your past actions in this thread have been very hurtful and it made many people deeply uncomfortable,” another user wrote. “We hope these actions are no longer a reflection of your character so please address and denounce them.”

Several folks on Twitter called Rodrigo out for not even using AAVE or her forced blaccent correctly, saying she sounded “stupid” and “cringey.” 

“You can tell she has no black friends because she not even using most of it correctly just turrible,” one user tweeted.

Regardless of whether or not she knows how to correctly use it, others quickly pointed out the “double standard” that Rodrigo and other non-Black artists perpetuate by using AAVE. Although it’s “trendy” for such artists to use AAVE or blaccents, Black people are still often discriminated against for speaking the same way.

“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,” one user tweeted. 

Still, others came to Rodrigo’s defense, saying the slang she used in the video clips has simply become a part of Gen Z culture and is often seen on social media. 

One user tweeted that they understand where everyone is coming from but that, “I do believe a lot of this slang shes using is coming from social media (mostly tiktok) these days, and i feel like it’s adapted into so many ppls vocab. you cant stray from it :/ (coming from a black woman).”

Another person said this was not a case of cultural appropriation, adding that African American culture influences pop culture all the time. 

Rodrigo has not publicly addressed the controversy.

https://twitter.com/MorganMich5/status/1420525215214456833

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*First Published: Jul 29, 2021, 4:43 pm CDT