Why Are People Mad at Awkwafina?
Awkwafina is facing major criticism on social media after a scene from one of her past films went viral.
The actress, real name Nora Lum, is specifically receiving backlash for her previous use of a blaccent (an imitated Black English accent put on by non-white people, according to Dictionary.com) in her music and film roles.
The criticism kicked up when a Twitter user recently shared a clip from the 2018 film Ocean's 8, in which Awkwafina stars as a pick-pocket named Constance. The scene features her character running a scam on a street corner, where someone has to follow a certain playing card while she shuffles it to win money.
Responses to the tweet called Awkwafina out for putting on a blaccent while in character, as well as for using African American Vernacular English (AAVE) in general. Many also called her hypocritical for previously claiming she refuses to use an Asian accent on screen.
In a January 2020 interview with VICE, the Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings star spoke about cultural appropriation and her opinion regarding using accents in roles.
"I refuse to do accents," she said at the time. "I’m not OK with someone writing the Asian experience for an Asian character. I make it very clear, I don’t ever go out for auditions where I feel like I’m making a minstrel out of our people.”
"Awkwafina is so strange for saying this," one user tweeted. "In one instance you don’t want Asian ppl to be stereotyped in film, which is great, but then you go on make a mockery of what you depict a blaccent despite having a normal speaking voice? It just doesn’t add up."
Another person added, "Non-Black women like Awkwafina are not 'code switching' with their forced stereotypical Blaccents. Their forced stereotypical Blaccents is a form of minstrelsy. If they’re code switching, why do those accents disappear when they’re around their family & friends?"
See more social media reactions, below.