A sketch on “Saturday Night Live” was accused of offensive cultural appropriation in their use of “African American Vernacular English,” and the writer of the scene admitted he’d never heard of the term.
SNL was already facing criticism over their decision to ask Tesla CEO Elon Musk to host their show, but they received even more ire over their “Gen Z Hospital” sketch.
The sketch used many of the slang terms and phrases that Gen Z is known for, but some of those are also identified as included in African American Vernacular English, or AAVE.
“This Gen Z hospital skit on SNL is so stupid. I’m so tired of nonblack people throwing random AAVE terms in their sentences and calling that horse s*** ‘Gen Z language’,” said one user on Twitter.
“The appropriation of AAVE by white people is gross, the mislabeling of AAVE as a “Gen Z phenomenon” is also gross, but on top of that, the SNL skit reads like they just pulled a list of terms from UrbanDictionary and sprinkled them in, not caring that AAVE has a defined grammar!” tweeted another offended viewer.
“The primarily white writers of SNL don’t even know that Gen Z/Tik-Tok language is hugely composed of appropriated & badly-used AAVE. Their target was specifically the non-Black people badly using AAVE,” said another.
Others, even more confusingly, said the sketch did not use AAVE, but was still racist:
“That snl skit was boring and terrible and certainly racist. but it was not aave,” said another user.
Sketch writer responds
The criticism appeared to be a surprise to the writer of the sketch, comedian Michael Che, who is a black man.
“I’ve been reading about how my ‘gen z’ sketch was misappropriating AAVE,” he said in a post on Instagram.
“And I was stunned because what the f–k is ‘AAVE’? I had to look it up,” he continued. “Turns out it’s an acronym for ‘African American Vernacular English.’ You know, AAVE! That ol’ saying that actual Black people use in conversation all the time…”
He went on to admit the sketch bombed, and added, “I meant no offense to the ‘AAVE’ community. I love AAVE. AAVE to the moon.”
SNL is hardly the first victim of the woke mob for using AAVE while trying to mock Gen Z. YouTube star and comedian Colleen Ballinger apologized profusely in April after using the same slang in a tweet that she later deleted.
“I feel so stupid. I was trying to sound like an awkward mom who uses gen z slang,” responded Ballinger. “I am so sorry.”
Here’s the forbidden SNL AAVE sketch: