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 What does AAVE mean? Charli D'Amelio controversy explained amid internet backlash 

Charli D'Amelio receives backlash after using AAVE (Image via charlidamelio/TikTok)
Charli D'Amelio receives backlash after using AAVE (Image via charlidamelio/TikTok)
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Karishma Rao

TikTok sensation Charli D'Amelio is receiving backlash for using African American Vernacular English (AAVE). The 18-year-old recently took to her Instagram stories using a specific phrase that has now been deemed cultural appropriation. Since then, netizens have been trolling the influencer on social media, while some are slamming critics for over-exaggerating her actions.

Recently, Charli D'Amelio took to her social media platform, posting two pictures that included AAVE. The social media sensation was flipping off the camera in one of them. She wrote in the image- “me af as f**k.” In her next Instagram story, she posted a picture of herself alongside fellow social media influencer Avani. The two were seen wearing face masks and headphones. She wrote in the picture- “on a flight af as f**k.” She also tagged the TikToker.

Charli D'Amelio was slammed for using AAVE (Image via tiktokinsiders/Instagram)
Charli D'Amelio was slammed for using AAVE (Image via tiktokinsiders/Instagram)

Netizens were disappointed to see the teenager write the phrase, which Black social media users prominently use. Though specific AAVE phrases are commonly used in internet memes, many argue that it is offensive for Caucasian netizens to use the expressions.

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What is AAVE? Charli D'Amelio dragged for using dialect prominently used by Black people

In December 1996, a resolution was passed by the Oakland Unified School District to create “Ebonics,” a language separate from English. This was done to meet the needs of the district’s African American student population, who teachers were correcting for using improper English. Today, Ebonics is also popularly known as African American Vernacular English (AAVE).

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Charli D'Amelio is being slammed for using “af as f**k” as it seems inauthentic to the creator. She is also receiving backlash for putting on a Black persona to garner attention online. Though the teen did not say the phrase verbally, she would have to put on a “blaccent” (an attempt to imitate the way Black people speak) which would be culturally offensive.

There are several creators online who have attempted to appropriate black culture despite being Caucasian. This has since been deemed as “digital blackface.” The term “digital blaccent” has also risen, where Caucasians attempt to inhabit Black personas on social media.

A few commonly used AAVE phrases used online include- “sis,” “fleek,” “periodt,” “yaaaasss!” etc.

It appears that white social media users often use AAVE phrases as they have garnered a lot of attention online. Though it can be deemed “internet slang,” it is still considered offensive for white netizens to use these phrases.


This is not the first time Charli D'Amelio has received backlash involving Black creators. She has been criticized for copying TikTok dances created by Black TikTokers and not giving them credit. Netizens were enraged to see her gain internet stardom from the said dance choreographies.


Edited by Sayati Das
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