Actress and comedian Awkwafina posted a statement Saturday on Twitter addressing the use of African American Vernacular English, or AAVE, cultural appropriation and a "Blackccent" in pop culture before she posted that she was quitting the social media platform altogether.
Awkwafina, real name Nora Lum, who starred in films such as "Crazy Rich Asians" and "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings," has been criticized for her use of AAVE and a style of speaking often associated with Black stereotypes.
In the statement, Awkwafina acknowledges that African Americans have "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" and that Black Americans have been disproportionately affected by "institutionalized policies and law enforcement policies."
She went on to say that the problem continues to this day and that things like the "'internet TikTok slang generation' that liberally uses AAVE," "hip-hop" and "linguistic acculturation" all accumulate to "play a factor in the fine line between offensive and pop culture."
"But as a non-black POC I stand by the fact that I will always listen and work tirelessly to understand the history and the context of AAVE, what is deemed appropriate or backwards toward the progress of ANY and EVERY marginalized group," she wrote. "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."
She said Asian Americans are “still trying to figure out what that journey means for them — what is correct and where they don’t belong” when it comes to different elements of pop culture.
She closed the statement by saying her "immigrant background" and love of pop culture had shaped her persona and that she wants to spend her career lifting up other communities.
After she posted her statement, which some on social media criticized for not apologizing and for being somewhat vague and rambling, Awkwafina posted again to Twitter.
"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 wrote.
She added one more tweet clarifying that she would be retiring only from Twitter, but nothing else.