Olivia Rodgrio is facing backlash for the way she spoke in several resurfaced clips.
While interacting with fans on live stream earlier this year, the 18-year-old singer adopts contractions and uses phrases common in African American Vernacular English (AAVE) like “I be trending” and “imma” while pronouncing her words and speaking with a Blaccent.
Simply put, the word Blaccent blends ‘Black’ and ‘accent’ and refers to the imitation of Black English by non-Black people. A form of cultural appropriation, it’s becoming increasingly common for celebrities and entertainers to adopt a Blaccent to appeal to non-white audiences. However, while non-Black folk often gain clout, fans, and money from appropriating Black linguistics, there remains a double-standard as Black people are discriminated against for speaking the same way.
A Blaccent often goes hand-in-hand with the use of AAVE in these cases— an English dialect spoken by Black Americans and Canadians with its own unique grammar and vocabulary. While there is much dispute amongst linguists, some experts believe AAVE was born out of creole languages.
Off the back of the resurfaced clips, critics are also pointing fans to some of Olivia’s past tweets in which she uses AAVE slang like “homegirl,” “crine,” and “boy u best believe”.
Many are calling on the ‘driver license’ singer to address her use of Blaccent and AAVE, while others are asking fans to keep the same energy for Olivia as they did other celebrities who have been accused of appropriating Black culture such as Billie Eilish and Ariana Grande.
Olivia has not responded to the backlash at the time of publication.