Actress Thuso Mbedu recently found herself at the centre of a heated debate after appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and allegedly faking her American accent.
The controversy arose when compared to Water hitmaker Tyla, who maintained her local coloured accent during an interview on The Jennifer Hudson Show.
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During her appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Mbedu shared her excitement at seeing her face on billboards across America for her latest film, The Woman King, co-starring Viola Davis.
However, it was her accent that caught the attention of viewers. Some claimed that she sounded so convincingly American that they could have sworn she was born and bred in the States.
Fast forward to Tyla’s interview on The Jennifer Hudson Show, where she proudly embraced her local coloured accent while discussing her Grammy nomination.
Unlike Mbedu, Tyla didn’t feel the need to Americanize her speech for the audience. This stark contrast in approach sparked a lively discussion on social media.
One Twitter user, @Lisa_Akh, expressed her love for Tyla’s authentic South African accent, stating, “I loved her ‘Yoh.’ I was like ‘Nee maan, she is colored from Mzansi’.” This sentiment was echoed by @JUSTouch19, who added, “That ‘yoh’ just makes every South African proud.”
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Meanwhile, @montanhahh took a different stance, asserting, “Tyla does not have to change for these Americans; they are the ones who are obsessed.”
This sentiment was shared by @brownskinnono, who pointed out that as an actor, Mbedu has had to undergo accent and dialect training to adapt to various roles, while singers like Tyla don’t face the same pressure.
As the debate raged on, @GhostKea chimed in, highlighting the fundamental difference between Mbedu and Tyla’s professions, stating, “You can’t compare the two! Thuso is an actress; of course, her accent won’t be the same! Tyla is a singer. Different strokes for different folks.”
Adding to the discussion, @Matema_ expressed admiration for Tyla’s authenticity, saying, “Tyla is what we thought Trevor Noah and Thuso Mbedu would be for South Africans.
I love her so much.” On the other hand, @EdgedtoGully found Mbedu’s accent cringe-worthy, stating, “Thuso’s accent is so cringe. Love Tyla’s authenticity.”
Ultimately, the controversy surrounding Mbedu’s American accent raises questions about the expectations placed on actors and performers when interacting with international audiences.
While some argue that authenticity should always be prioritized, others acknowledge the need for actors to adapt their accents for the sake of their craft.
Both Thuso Mbedu and Tyla are undeniably talented individuals who have made significant strides in their respective careers.
Rather than pitting them against each other, South Africans should celebrate their achievements and recognize that different contexts call for different approaches.