Awkwafina called out for "blaccent" after old interview goes viral

19 August 2021, 16:08

Jazmin Duribe

By Jazmin Duribe

According to Urban Dictionary, a blaccent is a "distinctive manner of speech, pitch or tone particular to African American urban inner city youth".

Awkwafina is being called out for using a blaccent after an unearthed video showed her saying she would "refuse to do accents".

The Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings actress has a long history of being accused of cultural appropriation. Awkwafina, who is of Chinese and Korean descent, started her career as a rapper and her 2012 song 'My Vag' went viral on YouTube. She then moved onto comedy, where she adopted a blaccent, which some attributed to her multicultural upbringing in Forest Hills, Queens.

Awkwafina's persona allowed her to pivot into more Hollywood roles, but since landing a role on Crazy Rich Asians in 2018, Awkwafina seems to have dropped the blaccent. Having built her career on having a blaccent, many have accused her of profiting from Black culture, especially because a lot of Black actors (and people in general) are forced to change their accents to acquire jobs.

READ MORE: Olivia Rodrigo accused of using a "blaccent" and AAVE in resurfaced Instagram Live

Awkwafina called out for "blaccent"
Awkwafina called out for "blaccent". Picture: Alamy, @awkwafina via Instagram

Now an interview with VICE in 2017 is going viral, after Awkwafina said there are certain roles she would not accept. "I refuse to do accents. And I think like – so far, like a lot of the parts I've gone out for have been really real characters and being Asian is not part of their plotline," she explained. "I'm OK with having an Asian aspect if it's done in a genuine way. I'm not OK with someone writing the Asian experience for an Asian character.

"Like that's annoying and 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's comments received criticism, with many believing she was being incredibly hypocritical. One user tweeted: "Awkwafina won't do accents but will drop rap songs in a "blaccent" and won't apologize for using it for fame. got it. that's an interesting word choice there. 'minstrel'." And another added: "In one instance you don’t want Asian ppl do 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."

As it stands, Awkwafina has never addressed the backlash about her blaccent. We will update you if she does.