On Saturday, Awkwafina, born Nora Lum, took to Twitter to address accusations that she has appropriated Black Culture. This is the first time that she has been on Twitter in two years.
The “Crazy Rich Asians” star said that her use of AAVE – African American Vernacular English – or her “blaccent” were never meant to mock people.
Awkwafina Posts Lengthy Twitter Thread About Cultural Appropriation
— nora (@awkwafina) February 5, 2022
“There is a sociopolitical context to everything, especially the historical context of the African American community in this country,” she began.
“It is a group that is disproportionately affected by institutionalized policies and law enforcement policies – all the while having historically and routinely seen their culture stolen, exploited and appropriated by the *dominant* culture for monetary gain without acknowledgment nor respect for where those roots come from, the pioneers of its beginnings and the artists that perfected and mastered the craft.”
“It is a problem we still see today – though some may pass it off as a convoluted mixture of the ‘internet TikTok slang generation’ that liberally uses AAVE, to add that hip hop – a genre of music that is ubiquitous and beloved across the country – has now anchored itself as a mainstream genre in music history. And 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.”
Awkwafina Says She Never Meant To Mock Or Hurt Anyone With AAVE
“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, which is deemed appropriate or backward toward the progress of ANY and EVERY marginalized group,” she continued. “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.”
“My immigrant background allowed me to carve an American identity off the movies and tv shows I watched, the children I went to public school with, and my undying love and respect for hip hop. I think as a group, Asian Americans are still trying to figure out what that journey means for them – what I correct and where they don’t belong. And though I’m still learning and doing that personal work, I know for sure that I want to spend the rest of my career doing nothing but uplifting our communities. We do this first by failing, learning, acknowledging, hearing and empathizing… And I will continue, tirelessly, to do just that.”
Awkwafina Announces That She Plans To Retire From Twitter
To Clarify: I am retiring from the ingrown toenail that is Twitter. Not retiring from anything else, even if I wanted to, and I didn’t drunkenly hit someone with a shoehorn and now escaping as a fugitive. Also am avail on all other socials that don’t tell you to kill yourself!
— nora (@awkwafina) February 5, 2022
She followed it up with a tweet that read, 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 added, “To Clarify: I am retiring from the ingrown toenail that is Twitter. Not retiring from anything else, even if I wanted to, and I didn’t drunkenly hit someone with a shoehorn and now escaping as a fugitive. Also am avail on all other socials that don’t tell you to kill yourself!”
Awkward Addresses The Controversy Of Using ‘Blaccent’ In Films
— Reuters Showbiz (@ReutersShowbiz) September 10, 2021
In a previous interview with Reuters in September 2021, Awkwafina said that she was “open to the conversation” about AAVE.
“Um, you know, I’m open to the conversation,” she said. “I think it, you know, it’s really something that is a little bit multi-faceted and layered.”
Awkwafina faced criticism again after she was nominated for a 2022 NAACP Image Award for her voice role in the animated film “Raya and the Last Dragon.”