Awkwafina ended her two-year Twitter hiatus to address the long-standing controversy surrounding her accent in films.
On Saturday morning, the 33-year-old actress returned to the platform to share a lengthy message concerning allegations of cultural appropriation and racial insensitivity. Awkwafina, real name Nora Lum, has faced years of criticism over her use of African American Vernacular English (AAVE) as well as a “blaccent”—an accent used by non-Black people to imitate forms of African-American dialect.
“There is a sociopolitical context to everything, especially the historical context of the African American community in this country,” the statement began. “It is a group that is disproportionately affected by institutionalized policies and law enforcement policies — all while having historically and routinely seen their culture stolen, exploited, and appropriated by the *dominant* culture for monetary gain without any acknowledgement nor respect for where those roots come from, the pioneers of its beginnings, and the artists that perfected and mastered the craft.”
Awkwafina went on to say there is a “fine line between offense and pop culture,” as AAVE has become increasingly appropriated thanks to “globalized internet slang” and hip-hop’s place in mainstream culture.
The Golden Globe winner, whose mother immigrated to the United States from South Korea, said her immigrant background play a major role in how she speaks, as it allowed her “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.”
“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,” she continued. “But I must emphasize: To mock, belittle, or be unkind in any way possible at the expense of others is: Simply. Not. My. Nature. It never has, and it never was.”
Awkwafina told her followers she has chosen to step away from Twitter for several more years, but reassured fans she wasn’t stepping away from the industry.
“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,” she tweeted. “… To Clarify: I am retiring from the ingrown toenail that is Twitter. Not retiring from anything else.”
Of course, not everyone was satisfied with Awkwafina’s statement: