Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., appeared to imitate a Southern accent in a speech to a predominantly black audience at Al Sharpton’s National Action Network conference in New York City on Friday.
“This is what building power looks like, this is what changing the country looks like,” Ocasio-Cortez said, exaggerating and drawing out vowels in a distinct change from her usual pronunciation.
The National Action Network is a nonprofit civil rights organization founded by Sharpton based in New York City. It advocates for criminal justice reform and police accountability and against voter ID laws, among other issues.
The conference is seen as a venue for candidates to court the support of black voters and civil rights leaders. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., also spoke at the conference.
“There’s nothing wrong with working retail, folding clothes for other people to buy,” Ocasio-Cortez said at another point in her speech, similarly drawing out vowels in “wrong” and “buy.”
"I'm proud to be a bartender. Ain't nothing wrong that. There's nothing wrong with working retail, folding clothes for other people to buy … There is nothing wrong with being a working person in the United States of America." — @AOC pic.twitter.com/cuSxIq4MaR
— jordan (@JordanUhl) April 5, 2019
Hillary Clinton was widely mocked for adopting what some called a “blaccent” before a mostly black audience in Selma, Ala., in 2007. The Drudge Report dubbed her “Southern Fried Hillary.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s congressional office did not immediately return a request for comment.