Disney actress Olivia Rodrigo is treading the thin line of cancel culture and being forced into a public apology online.
For nearly a week the 18-year-old has been the topic of trending discourse about her alleged use of a Black accent (Blaccent) and cultural vernacular (AAVE — African American vernacular English). Criticism of the singer first surfaced in a viral tweet on July 29 when a user wrote, “olivia rodrigo constantly uses AAVE and it is pissing me off. the blaccent…”
The message was accompanied by a compilation video of various moments Rodrigo allegedly used AAVE while speaking with fans on Instagram Live. The “Sour Prom” singer is heard saying things like, “I be trippin’” and using lively hand gestures critics claim to be associated specifically with Black people. It spread like a wildfire among the young singer’s fans and critics.
Other instances included tweets where again her word choice is being criticized and perceived and blatant cultural appropriation. Rodrigo, who identifies as Filipino, with Irish and German ancestry, hails from Murrieta, California; a suburban city nestled in between San Diego and Los Angeles counties that boasts only a Black population of only 5.47 percent compared to its 48.1 white population.
By and large the “High School Musical: The Series” actress’ tendencies are being scrutinized by fans and critics. Some of whom were naive to AAVE, and some who argued Rodrigo’s mannerisms and idioms were simply associated with the language trend seen across social media.
However, others are outraged by the alleged AAVE use, citing that non-Back people are perceived as hip or trendy when using slang, whereas Black people are deemed ghetto or uneducated.
Noticeably absent from the ongoing discourse is Rodrigo’s take on AAVE and her reasoning for using certain mannerisms that emulate some aspects of Black culture. Unsurprisingly, she has yet to address the backlash, but her fans are hopeful she will at least issue an apology for any insult she may have dished to impacted fans.