He says he "was stunned" by the backlash because he didn't know what AAVE (African American Vernacular English) was.
Last month, it was reported that a series of words associated with AAVE, or African American Vernacular English, would be added to the dictionary. Language including "finna" and "chile" have been staples in Black culture for over a century, and throughout history, with the help of the popularization of the entertainment industry, those words have become cornerstones of what many deem to be "slang" in pop culture. Recently, scholars and educators began recognizing AAVE as its own language, more popularly promoted in previous years as Ebonics, and some people have insisted that certain terms, and even new slang words promoted by the Black community, shouldn't be made fun of or misattributed. Hence, why Saturday Night Live found itself facing backlash on social media.
Last Saturday (May 8) was a controversial episode of the long-running series due to Elon Musk acting as host, but it was the "Gen Z Hospital" sketch, written by Michael Che, that irritated some viewers.
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In the sketch, Musk acted alongside Kate McKinnon, Mikey Day, and Melissa Villasenior as they portrayed Gen Z teens who used words like "sis," "on gang," "catch hands," "facts," "the tea," "taking a major L," "sus," and "cap." The show was accused of mocking AAVE, and Che addressed the controversy with a joke or two.
“I’ve been reading about how my 'gen z' sketch was misappropriating AAVE and I was stunned cause what the f**k is ‘AAVE’? I had to look it up," said the comedian. "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. Look, the sketch bombed. I’m used to that. I meant no offense to the ‘aave’ community. I love aave. Aave to the moon!”
Yet, critics were also targeted as they were accused of being overly sensitive about a comedy series and the point of SNL has always been about making fun of popular culture. Check out the sketch below.