Awkwafina Tweets Response to Cultural Appropriation, AAVE Criticisms

Actress & comedian Awkwafina (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Comedy Central's Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens) has returned to Twitter (though briefly) to respond to criticisms that her use of AAVE (African American Vernacular English) and a "blaccent" (a voice stereotypically imitating forms of Black American dialect) was meant to be derogatory towards the Black community and that she has a history of appropriating Black culture in her comedy act.

awkwafina
Comedy Central

Awkwafina began by recognizing how the African American community has been "disproportionately affected by institutionalized policies and law enforcement policies. "All the while having historically and routinely seen or cultural stolen, exploited and appropriated by the *dominant* culture for monetary gain, without acknowledgment nor respect for weird those roots come from the pioneers of its beginnings and the artists that perfected and mastered the craft," she wrote in a four-part, pre-written statement tweeted earlier today. Nothing a "fine line between offense and pop culture," the actress noted how AAVE has found its way into the (as she puts it) "internet Tik-Tok slang generation" as hip-hop music went from being rebellious to more mainstream. With regards to her use of it, Awkwafina points to her own immigrant background as well as her public school life, TV/Film exposure, and her "respect for hip-hop" as factors, as well as the broader issue of Asian Americans looking to define "what that journey means" and their role in it.

"I think as a group, Asian Americans are still trying to figure out what that journey means for them, what it is correct, and where they don't belong," she explained,."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 lifting our communities. We do the first by failing, learning, acknowledging, hearing, and empathizing and I will continue tirelessly to do just that." The actress/comedian also reaffirmed her commitment to "always listen and work tirelessly to understand the history and context of AAVE" as well as anything else deemed offensive by under-represented groups. "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 towards the progress of ANY and EVERY marginalized group," she said, before pushing back on the idea that anything she's done in the past was done to hurt or offend others, writing, "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." Here's a look at Awkwafina's full statement:

awkwafina
Image: Screencap
awkwafina
Image: Screencap
Awkwafina Tweets Response to Cultural Appropriation, AAVE Criticisms
Image: Screencap
Awkwafina Tweets Response to Cultural Appropriation, AAVE Criticisms
Image: Screencap

And with that, Awkwafina announced she was leaving Twitter once again: "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," she tweeted before offering a clarification that this was only about Twitter. "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," she explained:

Enjoyed this? Please share on social media!

About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
Comments will load 8 seconds after page. Click here to load them now.