Awkwafina in 'Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings'

Awkwafina Issues Non-Apology on her Use of ‘Blaccent’, Misses the Point Entirely

Celebrities: the Notes app is NOT your friend.

In a new Twitter post, Awkwafina (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Crazy Rich Asians) has addressed the controversy surrounding her “Blaccent” and usage of African American Vernacular English (AAVE). Using screenshots of the Notes app (the preferred apology format for celebrities), the actor delved into a word salad that resembled an apology, without the actual, you know, apology.

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https://twitter.com/awkwafina/status/1489963501682675712?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1489963501682675712%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fuproxx.com%2Fmovies%2Fawkwafina-blaccent-address-films-crazy-rich-asians%2F

Awkwafina aka Nora Lum, began her post addressing the “historical context of the African American community in this country,” which she described as “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.”

She continued, “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 [African American Vernacular English], what is deemed appropriate or backwards toward the progress of ANY and EVERY marginalized group,” adding “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.”

She added, “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. 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.”

But almost immediately after posting, Awkwafina began blocking people looking to engage in a conversation around AAVE. And just hours later, she announced she was quitting Twitter.

https://twitter.com/awkwafina/status/1489996505100558347

Awkwafina has struggled to address this issue in the past, which is surprising considering the eloquence with which she speaks on Asian stereotypes and her refusal to do an accent.  In a 2017 interview with VICE, she said, “I refuse to do accents. I’m not OK with someone writing the Asian experience for an Asian character. I make it very clear, I don’t ever go out for auditions where I feel like I’m making a minstrel out of our people.”

Many took to Twitter to address the lack of apology and the larger conversation:

https://twitter.com/yariescomrade/status/1490035201409437697
https://twitter.com/afrolesbo/status/1490049605396045826
https://twitter.com/80sdany/status/1490050470924201984

(image: Marvel Studios)

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Author
Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.