Actress and comedian Awkwafina took to Twitter on Saturday to issue a statement regarding her using a “blaccent” and other elements of African American language and mannerisms throughout her career.
A “blaccent” is defined as an “imitation of Black English by non-black people,” according to Dictionary.com.
The Queens-born Asian-American star explained her perspective two weeks after she received criticism for using such vernacular.
The backlash began over her nomination for a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Image Award, which has historically honored Black achievement and talent in Hollywood.
Per The Root, she was recognized for Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance, where she used African American Vernacular English, or AAVE.
She issued a response to the backlash over social media.
- “As a non-Black POC (person of colour), 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 towards the progress of ANY and EVERY marginalised group,” she said in the tweet.
- “But I must emphasise: 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 went on to say that her “immigrant background” pushed her to carve her identity through movies and TV shows, her friends and her love 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,” she said, saying that she is “still learning” and “uplifting our communities”.
- “We do this first by failing, learning, acknowledging, hearing, and empathising. ... And I will continue, tirelessly, to do just that.”
According to Digital Spy, she has since quit Twitter. She said in another tweet that she may return “in a few years.”
- “To my fans, thank you for continuing to love and support someone who wishes they could be a better person for you. I apologise if I ever fell short, in anything I did. You’re in my heart always.”
Awkwafina, whose real name is Nora Lum, is best known for her roles in “Awkwafina is Nora From Queens,” “Crazy Rich Asians,” “Ocean’s Eight” and “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” She is set to play Scuttle in Disney’s remake of “The Little Mermaid.”