Express Yourself

For Black Girls Whose Voices Are ‘Too White’ or ‘Too Black’

A personal history of my ‘blaccent,’ whatever that is

Jade Scott
Human Parts
Published in
3 min readAug 12, 2020


“What is a blaccent?” in a search bar.
Hey, Google, what the fuck is a blaccent, and how to I get one and get rid of it at the same time?

I’m trying to figure out how to talk with my “Black voice” as my theater mentors said I would. They said they could hear the edges of my Blackness in the way I said expecially instead of especially. They said they could sound out some Black sounds when I axe for a pin instead of asking for a pen. They said it sounded dissonant against my Californian white-voiced glottal fry.

Speech teachers with flashlights down my throat searched for ways to make me sound the way they wanted me to. I would vigorously practice in the mirror, trying to edge out any form of Blackness or any sound of the South within my speech pattern. I would fight my own tooth placement when my S’s sounded too silabent. I would oftentimes sound silly in class, trying to overextend my words so the white speech gatekeepers wouldn’t notice learned habits from my family.

I just got out of high school, where I was trying to sound Black enough to exist. My voice was too L.A. and not enough Oakland. I’m not even from L.A., so I don’t know what that means. Apparently there was no Blackness to be found in my constant code switching between AME Church and Piano Lessons. Between being a counselor…