Awkwafina, the comedian and actress, responded to accusations in the press and on social media that she has utilized a blaccent or black accent, and features of African American language and mannerisms throughout her career with a long Twitter post on Saturday.
Nora Lum, a Queens-born Asian American actress, gave her perspective on the racial dynamics at play.
Her immigrant background let her sculpt an American identity from movies and television shows she watched, the kids she went to school with, her endless respect and love for hip hop, Awkwafina wrote. She believes that as a crowd, Asian-Americans are trying to calculate out what the journey means to them — what is right and where they do not belong.
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From her early breakthrough NSFW parody rap song My Vag to her more recent starring gigs in the big-budget movie Crazy Rich Asians and Oceans Eight, the remark is her most substantial reaction to charges she has utilized a blaccent throughout her career.
The matter is a part of the ongoing discussion over cultural appropriation, which is defined as the act of copying practices from another culture without sufficient respect or acknowledgment.
In recent years, Awkwafina, 33, has earned critical and mainstream success. She received a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture for her part in the 2019 film “The Farewell,” and she debuted in the Marvel Universe last year with “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.”
Despite this, Awkwafina hesitated to respond to a query from Reuters about her “blaccent” during publicity for Shang-Chi last year.
Awkwafina emphasized the injustices faced by Black Americans, as well as the usage of African American Vernacular English (AAVE) in many situations, including on social media and in music, in her 351-word message on Saturday — her first tweet in more than two years. In two subsequent tweets, Awkwafina stated that she would be leaving Twitter and issued a vague apology.