Awkwafina addresses ‘blaccent’ criticism as she announces Twitter departure

Awkwafina has addressed criticism of her use of black vernacular and announced she is retiring from “the ingrown toenail that is Twitter”.

he actress and comedian, whose real name is Nora Lum, is best known for her roles in the Marvel film Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings, as well as Crazy Rich Asians, The Farewell and Ocean’s Eight and her sitcom Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens.

The star, who has a Chinese American father and a Korean mother, has faced criticism for her use of African American Vernacular English (AAVE), language frequently used by black communities, or a “blaccent”, over the years.

She responded to the backlash, saying: “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.”

In a lengthy statement on Twitter, she wrote: “There is a sociopolitical context to everything, especially the  historical context of the African American community in this country.”

She added: “And 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.

“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, what is deemed appropriate or backwards toward the progress of ANY and EVERY marginalized group.

“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.”

“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.”

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She continued: “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.”

In an additional tweet, she said she was leaving the platform for mental health reasons, writing: “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.

“To Clarify: I am retiring from the ingrown toenail that is Twitter. Not retiring from anything else, even if I wanted to, and I didn’t drunkenly hit someone with a shoehorn and now escaping as a fugitive.

“Also am avail on all other socials that don’t tell you to kill yourself!”

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