In January of last year, Awkwafina became the first actress of Asian descent to win a Golden Globe for the lead actress in a movie. While her portrayal of Billi in The Farewell – 92% may have been the first time Asian people saw a character that authentically resembles them, their victory did not come without a sour side. For many Asian Americans, their historical recognition validates the importance of being represented in movies and gives someone in the industry, quite visible, for this.
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However, no one could ignore the fact that the victory of Awkwafina It also rewards something he has done for a long time: exploiting black culture throughout his career for personal gain. Many have rightly criticized Awkwafina for reaching stardom through an appropriation of black aesthetics. From his viral rap song, “My Vag”, to his role as Peik Lin Goh on Madly Millionaires – 93%, Awkwafina he has made a career out of a caricatured portrayal of black people.
He has copied the way they speak and has even “disguised himself”, as on the occasion that in Ocean’s 8: The Scammers – 58% where she played a character from Queens who, as she said, looked nothing like and could never say exactly why, perhaps because what she did was take the aesthetic of a culture to which she does not belong. He did the same in the box office Locamente Millonarios, where his attitude was not that of an Asian person at all, and being able to be noticed from the trailer there was controversy.
Borrowing from black culture to make a name for himself led to Awkwafina, the name by which he is professionally known to Nora Lum, to perform a series of racial stereotypes to look “cool” and gain influence, and through that stance she went from viral internet rapper to critically acclaimed actress. Faced with these important problems, how can you understand Awkwafina what does she mean to diversity in Hollywood and what does it mean to other people that she appropriates their culture?
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The accusations that the actress has received for the use of “blaccent” are not new for all the aforementioned, but now that the actress is promoting a new film, she has not been able to avoid questions from the press related to this issue. She has never really discussed the issue, and in a video shared by Reuters Showbiz On Twitter you can see that he did not really have an answer ready either, in what also seems an oversight by his agent, because someone must always be aware of what to do in terms of public relations we mean (via Uproxx).
— Reuters Showbiz (@ReutersShowbiz) September 10, 2021
The lack of an answer, because Awkwafina She can hardly formulate words after that question, it implies that there is a lack of interest or even ignorance on the part of the actress even though it is not a new topic. The video went viral on Twitter and many users have commented on it; Some are surprised that the actress does not know what to say after using the blaccent for her personal benefit and others could not believe that she was unable to say anything really meaningful beyond saying that “she is open to conversation.”
Awkwafina recently appeared in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – 95%, where she made her Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in the role of Katy. Unlike what happened with her, Marvel Studios knew how to present an authentic portrait of Asian culture and at the same time, finally, it presented a character that was more than a simple comic relief by having its respective arc and giving it a much more interesting role than to direct the humor towards him. Whether in the end he tries to acknowledge that what he has done is inappropriate remains to be seen.
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Awkwafina was stunned when asked about her “blaccent” and appropriation of black culture