Actress/ comedian Awkwafina took to Twitter for the first time in two years on Saturday to address criticism of her use of African-American Vernacular English, or a “blaccent.”
In a lengthy letter, the Asian-American performer said that “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.”
She wrote, “The African American community … is a group that is disproportionately affected by institutionalized policies and law enforcement policies — all the while having historically and routinely seen their culture stolen, exploited and appropriated by the *dominant* culture for monetary gain without acknowledgment nor respect for where those roots come from."
Awkafina comes from an immigrant background and has starred in films including "Crazy Rich Asians" and the Marvel film "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings".
She said that she carved her identity out of television and movies, childhood acquaintances and an “undying love and respect for hip hop.”
Awkwafina wrote, “I think as a group, Asian Americans are still trying to figure out what that journey means for them. 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 follow-up tweet, she said she would be leaving “the ingrown toenail that is Twitter” until 2024 but will remain on other social media platforms.
Her statement drew widespread criticism on Twitter, where journalists, activists and organizations said that her statement did not include an apology for appropriating Black culture.
Source: Deadline, Daily Mail.
Photo Credit: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images.