Actress/comedian Awkwafina took to Twitter Saturday (Feb. 5) to release a statement addressing the backlash she’s received for using a “blaccent” in movies and music.
The Asian American Queens, New York native started her statement by acknowledging how Black culture has been “stolen” and “exploited” throughout history.
“In life, linguistic acculturation, immigrant acculturation and the inevitable passage of globalized internet slang all play a factor in the fine line between offense and pop culture,” she stated. “But as a non-Black POC, I stand by the fact that I will always listen and work tirelessly to understand the history and context of AAVE, what is deemed appropriate or backwards toward the progress of ANY and EVERY marginalized group. But I must emphasize: To mock, belittle or to be unkind in any way possible at the expense of others is: Simply. Not. My. Nature. It never has and it never was.”
The acronym AAVE means African American Vernacular English, which Awkwafina has been accused of using to boost her fame.
The 33-year-old, born Nora Lum, said that Asian Americans are “still trying to figure out what that journey means for them — what is correct and where they don’t belong” when it comes to pop culture. She also stated that she wants to spend her career lifting up other communities.
In her replies, many Twitter users questioned Awkwafina’s statement and said it was missing a formal apology.
Two hours later, the first Asian American woman to win a Golden Globe Award for best actress in a musical/comedy said that she would be taking a break from Twitter.
“Well, I’ll see you in a few years, Twitter – per my therapist. To my fans, thank you for continuing to love and support someone who wishes they could be a better person for you. I apologize if I ever fell short, in anything I did. You’re in my heart always,” she tweeted.
In September 2021, Lum spoke about the issue during an interview with Reuters, while she promoted her Marvel movie Shang-Chi.
“I’m open to the conversation,” she said at the time. “I think it really is something that is a little bit multi-faceted and layered…”
Check out Awkwafina’s recent statement below: