Awkwafina Addresses ‘Blaccent’ Accusations, NAACP Nomination Backlash

Awkwafina Addresses 'Blaccent' Accusations, NAACP Nomination Backlash

  • Awkwafina shared a Twitter statement on Saturday to address her “blaccent” accusations. 
  • Awkwafina, whose real name is Nora Lum, also revealed that she’s stepping back from Twitter. 
  • She faced criticism online after being nominated for a NAACP Image Award this month. 

Awkwafina addressed accusations that she uses a “blaccent” in films after receiving backlash online over her NAACP Image Awards nomination. 

On Saturday, the 33-year-old “Farewell” actress posted a statement to her Twitter account in which she acknowledged the criticism launched her way. According to Dictionary, a “blaccent” is the imitation of Black English — also known as African American Vernacular English (or AAVE) — by non-black people. 

“There is a sociopolitical context to everything, especially the historical context of the African American community in this country,” Awkwafina, whose real name is Nora Lum, wrote. She said that African Americans are a group “disproportionately affected by institutionalized policies and law enforcement policies,” and that African American culture is often exploited for monetary gain by the “dominant culture” without respect for its origins. 

 Awkwafina continued that instances of cultural appropriation happen today, but some label it as a “convoluted mixture” of younger generations using internet slang and AAVE.

“But as a non-black POC, I stand that I will always listen and work tirelessly to understand the history and context of AAVE, what is deemed appropriate or backwards toward the progress of ANY and EVERY marginalized group,” she wrote. “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,” Awkwafina added. 

Awkwafina finished her statement by saying she would continue to acknowledge the criticisms and work to remain empathetic. 

“My immigrant background allowed me to carve an American identity off the movies and tv shows I watched, the children I went to public schools with, and my undying love and respect for hip hop,” she said. “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 continued: “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. “

In a separate Twitter post, Awkwafina said she was taking a step back from Twitter.

Representatives for Awkwafina did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. 

Her statement comes after she received online criticism over her NAACP Image Awards nomination. According to Atlanta Black Star, Awkwafina was nominated for “Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance” in Disney’s “Raya and the Last Dragon.” The outlet noted that NAACP doesn’t exclusively nominate Black entertainers, but some people online took fault because of Awkwafina’s past “blaccent” accusations. 

Awkwafina previously touched on the “blaccent” criticism while promoting the 2021 Marvel movie, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” During an interview with Reuters Showbiz, Awkwafina said she was “open to the conversation.”

“I think it, you know, it’s really something that is a little bit multi-faceted and layered,” she said. 

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