Skip To Content
  • Viral badge

Awkwafina Addressed Criticisms Of Using A "Blaccent" And Announced She Would Be Leaving Twitter

"To mock, belittle, or be unkind in any way possible at the expense of others is: Simply. Not. My. Nature."

Awkwafina addressed criticisms that she uses a "blaccent" and announced that she would be leaving Twitter.

Karwai Tang / WireImage / Getty Images

Criticisms of cultural appropriation have surrounded Awkwafina, who first gained popularity with her viral rap videos back in 2012, for years now — with some pointing to her earlier roles in Crazy Rich Asians and Ocean's 8 as key examples. The backlash further increased after a viral interview of hers resurfaced last year, where she said, "I refuse to do accents. I’m not OK with someone writing the Asian experience for an Asian character."

Michael Loccisano / Getty Images for Disney

As Vice put it, "As she borrowed from Black culture in order to make a name for herself, the woman born Nora Lum performed a series of racial stereotypes for coolness and clout, and through that posturing, she made her way from viral internet rapper to critically acclaimed actress."

Last month, criticisms picked up once again as Awkwafina was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for her voiceover work in Raya and the Last Dragon.

Axelle / FilmMagic / Getty Images

Awkwafina previously responded to a question about the controversy by saying, "I'm open to the conversation. I think it really is something that is a little bit...multi-faceted and layered."

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images for Comedy Central

Now, in a series of statements posted to Twitter, Awkwafina wrote, "There is a sociopolitical context to everything, especially the historical context of the African American community in this country."

Twitter: @awkwafina

"It is a group that is disproportionately affected by institutionalized policies and law enforcement policies — all while having historically and routinely seen their culture stolen, exploited, and appropriated by the *dominant* culture for monetary gain without any acknowledgement nor respect for where those roots come from, the pioneers of its beginnings, and the artists that perfected and mastered the craft," she continued.

Michael Loccisano / Getty Images

"It is a problem we still see today," she added. "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 / Via Twitter: @awkwafina

"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 is correct and where they don't belong."

Awkwafina / Via Twitter: @awkwafina

Awkwafina is originally from a majority white part of Long Island.

"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," she concluded. "But I must emphasize: To mock, belittle, or be unkind in any way possible at the expense of others is: Simply. Not. My. Nature. It never has, and it never was."

Awkwafina / Via Twitter: @awkwafina

She then followed up the statement with a tweet announcing that she would be leaving 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 ❤️

Twitter: @awkwafina

Subsequently, Awkwafina’s name began to trend, with many noting that her statement didn’t include an actual apology or acknowledgement of her behavior:

THREAD: Awkwafina speaking about what’s not in her “nature” does not dismiss the harm and Anti-Blackness that birthed her career. This PR stunt is another example of how white and NBPOCs work in tandem with Anti-Blackness, while also wanting to hide their hands.

Twitter: @yariescomrade

@awkwafina Girl, not on the 4th day of Black History Month pleasssssee

Twitter: @SecretDivva

LOL. Okay. Note her early emphasis on “*dominant* culture” to offset her responsibility of appropriation, exploitation, and minstrelsy of Black culture. All of these words and no accountability. You see no apology because Nora is not sorry. https://t.co/fX3uXtVDJC

Twitter: @theNiaLangley

1. Not one word of this is an apology for making a mockery of Black people and Black culture. 2. What the hell is "immigrant acculturation"? 3. I need people to stop making these kinds of half-assed statements during Black History Month. 28 days ain't enough for this foolishness https://t.co/bA8ctMZlUT

Twitter: @CarrieCnh12

We'll keep you posted with any updates.