Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) on Friday appeared to deviate from her normal dialect in a speech before Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network conference, sparking mockery from conservative and centrist pundits.
“This is what organizing looks like. This is what building power looks like,” Ocasio-Cortez said, complimenting organizers on the convention’s turnout. “This is what changing the country looks like. It’s when we choose to show up and occupy the room, and talk about the things that matter most, talking about our future.”
The avowed Democratic-socialist seemingly addressed criticism of her thin resume before her election to Congress, saying that she was is “proud to be a bartender.”
“Ain’t nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with working retail, folding clothes for other people to buy,” the 29-year-old continued, still forcing an accent. “There is nothing wrong with preparing the food that your neighbors will eat. There is nothing wrong with driving the buses that take your family to work.”
Some commentators took to social media to poke fun at the attempted transformation.
— Allie Beth Stuckey (@conservmillen) April 5, 2019
Fake Blackcent alert! Wow. Cringe. Thought she might drop the n word at the end there for a sec … https://t.co/xMptI56WLL
— Jon Miller (@MillerStream) April 5, 2019
I got five seconds into the video of AOC putting on an accent before cringing out
— Alex Griswold (@HashtagGriswold) April 5, 2019
.@AOC is literally me in middle school trying to talk with an accent in a shameless attempt to earn approval of the cool black guys.
This is just sad. What is y'all doing?pic.twitter.com/Rz0cxHywIL
— Jason Howerton (@jason_howerton) April 5, 2019
Several black conservatives took offense, including Lawrence Jones III — a Fox News contributor who had a dust-up with Ocasio-Cortez Thursday night over a photo of him wearing an armored vest at the U.S.-Mexico border.
— Lawrence Jones III (@LawrenceBJones3) April 5, 2019
Consider the audience at NAN and listen to the accent and inflection https://t.co/djlOyfy3TU
— David Webb (@davidwebbshow) April 5, 2019
AOC’s maneuver drew comparisons to failed 2016 Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton — perhaps the most often-cited example of a political figure faking an accent to pander to voters. In a 2007 speech to an African-American church in Selma, Alabama, Clinton’s southern accent was painfully apparent during her remarks: “I don’t feel no ways tired. I come too far… from where I started from.”
Who has the worst, pandering fake Southern accent?
2. Hillary Clinton
(I've made a little video for you to be the judge) pic.twitter.com/aEihBjLhTO
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) April 5, 2019
I montage'd her accent's greatest hits today. –> pic.twitter.com/GIsaMNBWnE
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) March 3, 2019