Shang-Chi star and comedian Awkwafina takes to Twitter to address claims of cultural appropriation and announces she is leaving the platform.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings star Awkwafina took to social media, where she addressed criticism over the ongoing belief that she has appropriated Black culture in her work. The actress, real name Nora Lum, rose to Hollywood prominence after her 2018 role in Crazy Rich Asians and was born to a Chinese-American father and a Korean mother. She was raised in Queens, New York, and at age 15, adopted the stage name Awkwafina.
Awkwafina has appeared in popular franchise titles such as Jumanji: The Next Level starring Dwayne Johnson, and Ocean’s Eight with Sandra Bullock. For her role in the 2019 film The Farewell, she earned a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical. Meanwhile, Awkwafina has also been challenged on her use of African American Vernacular English (AAVE) and “blaccents” in some of her roles by online communities. But until now, the actress has never before discussed the concerns in public.
Now, in a lengthy statement, Awkwafina has used her official Twitter page as a platform to formally address the long-standing controversy and openly comment on the matter. This comes after a two-year absence from making any posts on the social media platform. Before acknowledging the concerns directly, the actress prefaced her statement by describing “the African American community” as being one that is “disproportionately affected by institutionalized policies and law enforcement policies.” She then expanded on these thoughts by describing the correlation between these issues, and the arts. Later in the statement, the actress claimed that it is not in her nature to mock or belittle others.
After posting the in-depth statement, Awkwafina apologized shortly afterward to her fans for falling short. She also seemingly said goodbye to users on Twitter, citing her therapist as an influence on her decision to take a leave of absence “from the ingrown toenail that is Twitter.” The comedian also clarified that she will still be on other social media platforms and isn’t retiring from anything else.
Only weeks ago, members of the online community had expressed an issue with Awkwafina being nominated for an NAACP Image award. The organization, which stands for the National Association for the Advancement of People of Color, had nominated the actress for her Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance for her role in Raya and the Last Dragon. Although the NAACP does not exclusively nominate Black actors or musicians, many Twitter users expressed their disapproval over Awkwafina being nominated, particularly in light of the criticism she has received over the years. Whether or not the actress will expand on her earlier Twitter comments or further address the criticisms remains unclear. However, what is clear is that Awkwafina has seemingly taken positive steps towards confronting the concerns that have been raised and discussing the importance of the issues at hand.
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