Awkwafina: ‘Growing up, I knew how I was socioeconomically classified’

THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME IN NORTHERN FRANCE

Awkwafina covers the September issue of Cosmopolitan to promote her role in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. She has other projects coming and going, of course, like her Comedy Central show and several upcoming films, but yeah – we’re definitely in the transition away from her Awkwafina persona and her authentic/actress self, Nora Lum. Nora Lum is an in-demand actress. Awkwafina gets a lot of hate on social media for her years of using AAVE. Nora talks to Cosmo about growing up in Queens, making Marvel’s first “Asian superhero” movie and more. Some highlights:

Being raised in Queens by her grandmother: “When I was growing up, I knew how I was socioeconomically classified. I knew that my grandma was a working-class immigrant and my dad was a single dad. I knew that I would have to get through in my own way. That taught me a lot of lessons, like you really have to humble yourself, doing waitress jobs and applying to really hip stores and not getting the job and feeling like, What is even out there? You have to really hit a kind of rock bottom to really want it, to fight for it.”

After the past brutal year for the AAPI community: “These movies make me so proud, just as a watcher, because they contribute to visibility, which I do think has real-life effects. When the AAPI community is seen as not ancillary characters, it’s almost like, then people will know that we’re here, you know?”

The pressure to make people laugh: “Yeah, there’s always going to be the immediate want that is, ‘Okay, well, I’m going to do this because I want you to feel joy right now.’ But ultimately, a lot of comedy is grounded in really long periods of solitude and really crazy contemplation.”

She’s never going to get complacent: “I don’t think I’ll ever get to that point. Before, I’d do anything because I was waiting, being lost, knowing that things could change tomorrow or they might never. I didn’t know that it would work, and when it started to, I realized this is something that could actually happen. It’s like when you step into Oz and you start to see one magical thing and you’re like, How does that even exist? But then it numbs you to crazier, more magical things.”

[From Cosmopolitan]

Nora is second-generation American on her father’s side and first-generation on her mom’s side. Growing up working class, with that kind of Asian-immigrant background, yes of course she believes in hard work and paying dues and that if you work hard enough, you’ll be successful. That’s built into the immigrant family’s DNA, that’s part of the American dream. But she’s competing for roles against second-generation and third-generation Hollywood women, women who were born into lives of privilege. I don’t know, I don’t really have a point other than I’m glad Nora is successful and all of that, but all this made me think about was how many (white) women get their opportunities handed to them on a silver platter and they don’t have to “humble” themselves at all.

Cover courtesy of Cosmo.

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77 Responses to “Awkwafina: ‘Growing up, I knew how I was socioeconomically classified’”

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  1. Amy Bee says:

    Has she ever spoken about how she used minstrelsy to get acceptance in Hollywood?

    • Persephone says:

      Came here to say just that.

    • CapPhD says:

      Pop culture in America began with black face / minstrelsy. Al Jolson & later Elvis. Ever seen Madonna at her start (google her first Entertainment Tonight interview)? Thomas Jefferson remarked in Notes on the State of Virginia that black people are uncultured, but they sure can sing & dance. This African thing in the New World mixed with enslavement & Euro forms is global pop culture. Is there a BTS without Michael Jackson? Are there the Beatles or Rolling Stones without the blues? All of those mega groups have acknowledged their debt.

      The reason that Awkwafina is a lightening rod is because her use of blackness is riddled with mockery. Black people don’t like that, especially because she denounced the very same derision against Asian people & immigrants (a very diverse group). To the black people & allies on this thread who are genuinely upset about Awkwafina, don’t waste your precious energy. Black New World speech & music is so fundamental to pop culture that it has been adopted and adapted everywhere. It’s so dominant that many people around the world consider it their very own. And when mixed with new languages and cultural interpretation, it is indeed now theirs. Awkwafina is following a well-established playbook. If you don’t like what she’s done, don’t consume her products and support actors and artists who are excellent without denigrating black culture and people.

    • rawiya says:

      I love how this is the first comment, because now I don’t have to say it.

    • Lonnie tinks says:

      I have a question regarding this. Does she speak like that just in the movie, or does she also do it in real life? If it is just in the movie, I don’t know that she can be accused of minstrel, I would say that the production is problematic, not her.
      When other actors do offensive things in character, they aren’t accused of personally owning that behavior. When a male actor acts as a misogynist in movies, people don’t say he is a misogynist, they say the character is misogynistic, or they say that the production is problematic.

  2. Aang says:

    Did she grow up in a peer group where AAVE I was spoken? If so I don’t think the criticism about her speech is warranted. I’ve got a graduate degree in language acquisition and was taught that it is common for non African American children, and even adult ESL learners, to speak AAVE if they live in a heavily African American community.

    • mae says:

      She’s from Forest Hills, Queens. It’s predominantly white.

      • ReginaGeorge says:

        She may be from FH, but she s from NYC and went to a diverse school in the city. Most kids in the city speak this way. I’m older than her and though I grew up in North BK in a majority Latino and Black neighborhood, (pre gentrification) we all spoke the same way. I noticed that most kids who were born and raised within the 5 boros tend to have a similar manner of speaking and vernacular. And just cuz you are from 1 particular neighborhood, doesn’t mean you stay there and ONLY have friends from that hood. In my pre teen years though 20′s, I hung out in the BX, the Heights, Harlem, Eastern Parkway, Downtown BK, LES, You name it. I had friends all over and took the subway everywhere.

        I don’t know about her particular set of friends growing up, but I can tell you, a lot of the population around here speak similarly.

      • mae says:

        I’m around her age and grew up in Queens (Astoria, to be exact). I went to a diverse school in the city and no, most of the kids in the city do NOT speak like that. She and I share friends of friends, and I can tell you that she did not/does not speak that way outside of the act.

      • ReginaGeorge says:

        MAE,

        Fair enough if you say both of you shared peers you would know her better.

        I’m just going on my experience growing up. (I’m PR, btw) and also hearing these kids daily on my commute in the buses and subway when school was in session, and also with my daughter who is 22. Most of her friends are Puerto Rican and AA, Dominican, half black, half Rican, with a few Asian and Whites sprinkled in between. When they get together and talk, they all have the same manner of speaking and rub off on each other. Some more than others, though.

      • mae says:

        I’m half PR half Dominican. When I tell you that people don’t all speak like this, and that I’m Awkwafina’s age, you should believe it over the random snippets you hear in the trains.

    • farah says:

      There’s a difference between growing around people and adopting their tics and minstrel show she put on with her voice, name and clothes. She speaks like Iggy Azelea. Like she’s never been around actual black people. It’s espercially in huge contrast now when she’s using her real voice and name.

    • KAP says:

      The issue is, she doesn’t typically speak that way. Her character does. I’m black and grew up in a predominantly black and Latinx neighborhood. The LantinX kids, assumed the vernacular of the dominant culture. Even to my annoyance, used the N-word. But here is the thing: they spoke the same ALL the time. Even when speaking Spanish, they still had the same cadence, mannerisms. Awkwafina is a character- a minstrel of what Nora believes an Asian woman, influenced by black culture sounds like and it’s offensive. She is talking about humbling herself? How about apologize. It’s offensive. I hated her character in Crazy Rich Asians.

      • aang says:

        Thanks. I had no idea what her background was.

      • manda says:

        and I had been so excited for that role, rachel’s friend was so nice! (I can’t remember her name)

      • Becks1 says:

        So I don’t know anything about her background and use of Awkwafina as a character, so this isn’t about her because that sounds problematic –

        BUT it is very common for people to speak one way in one group of peers and another way with different people. Speaking the same way all the time does not make one person more authentic than another. It’s called code-switching and is very common, especially from AAVE to other dialects of English.

  3. AndaPanda says:

    I haven’t followed her much, I knew she was social media person that found Hollywood fame, saw her in Crazy Rich Asians and that’s about it. I’m annoyed she used AAVE and no one should get a pass. I’m tired of people making excuses,. Let’s acknowledge problematic behavior without justifying it.

    • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

      She stole the movie in CRA, but check her out in “The Farewell”. Great performance!

      • Ann says:

        I thought she was really funny in CRA. Was her performance in that considered offensive in any way, or is it just some of her other comedic stuff? Because I hope I’m still allowed to enjoy the former.

  4. K says:

    She is talented and hilarious.

    • lisa says:

      Why is she using the stage name Aquafina (like the bottled water)? Does anyone know? It’s a weird choice.

      • deezee says:

        It’s Awkwafina … and she said it is because she felt really awkward in high school when she came up with the name.

  5. Lola says:

    I’ll never understand why non-Black POC males are never called out for this, only ever women. Bruno Mars, who is Asian, white, and Latino, uses AAVE and has blackfished since day 1, not to mention writing the song “Upton Funk” with Mark Ronson, a white British man, which namechecked places like Harlem and Jackson Mississippi. Have either of them ever been to Jackson Mississippi? Bruno Mars has always cultivated the assumption that he’s Black when he isn’t. Imagine an Asian-American female and white British female wrote “Uptown Funk” instead of an Asian-American man and British man. Say it was written by Nora Lum and Ellie Goulding. Imagine the reaction.

    • Soapboxpudding says:

      OMG, his blackfishing worked b/c I assumed he was Black/multiracial (I don’t follow pop music much). That’s so messed up. I think you make an excellent point here!

      • ReginaGeorge says:

        His dad is half PR and grew up in NYC. He was a singer/musician who sang in do wop groups and played in bands, which is why Bruno has so much AA musical influence.

    • Otaku fairy says:

      This.

    • manda says:

      such a good point! because when it comes down to it, misogyny trumps all

    • K says:

      @Lola

      THIS!!!!

    • Persephone says:

      💯

    • Goldie says:

      Bruno Mars has been accused of cultural appropriation. Doing a quick google search generates several articles. Also, I think the difference is that Awkwafina uses a “blaccent” in her comedy routines. It may come across as mocking the way Black people speak, where as Bruno seems to have a genuine appreciation for Black art and culture.

      I dunno. I like Awkwafina well enough, but I think some of the criticism is valid. It seems like a lot of people on this thread are bending over backwards to make excuses for her. I don’t think she needs to be “cancelled” but I think it’s ok to acknowledge that some of the things she has done have been problematic.

      • Holi says:

        ‘ It may come across as mocking the way Black people speak, where as Bruno seems to have a genuine appreciation for Black art and culture. ‘ – Goldie

        LMAOOOO you typed that out & saw zero irony. You could switch out Bruno Mars with the Kardashians & it would still be 💀

      • Goldie says:

        @Holi so you don’t think there’s any difference between mocking someone’s culture in a comedy sketch vs. actually studying the music of another culture? The point of my comment wasn’t even to defend Mars. My very first sentence pointed out that he’s been accused of cultural appropriation as well.

      • Mcmmom says:

        Goldie – I think it’s more than mocking vs appreciating – it’s also about profiting from another culture. If I respect another culture so much that I hold it up and borrow heavily from it and therefore also profit from it in a way that someone from the culture would not or could not (for various reasons, including systemic racism), that’s problematic.

        Not to get way, way off topic here – but I think whenever a while person is “borrowing” from another culture, the question has to be asked, “should I be the one doing this?” There is a line between profiting from and amplifying. Let’s take cooking for instance – food is absolutely intertwined with culture. If I’m a white cook, it’s ok (I think) to present an Indian inspired dish as long as I give credit to the originating culture, but if I want to highlight the flavors of India, a white chef is not the one to do it. Use your platform to open the door and amplify others more qualified to do that.

      • Goldie says:

        OK. Fair enough. I still don’t think this changes the fact that Awkwafina has been problematic. And Mars has been criticized as well, so I’m not really seeing the double standard that the OP was talking about.

    • Debbie says:

      Actually, Bruno Mars has been questioned about it in interviews. I’ve also read articles questioning whether he would have been nominated/won so many Grammys if he were not perceived as being bi-racial (specifically, 1/2 Black). Your point that it’s not just women is noted though.

      • OriginalLeigh says:

        I’m not defending Bruno Mars because I don’t know enough about his background to do so, but there is a significant black population in Puerto Rico so it’s possible that he is part black.

    • bonobochick says:

      Call out whomever does it.

      If Bruno and/or other Asian men do minstrel blaccents, then put a foot on his / their neck(s) too,

      Deflecting from Awkafina’s minstrel’s behavior using whataboutism is not the way to go about things.

  6. Goldie says:

    For those of you who are wondering about why awkwafina has been called out for her use of AAVE…She gave an interview stating that she would never play a character in a film with an Asian accent, because she didn’t want to play into the exaggerated stereotypes about Asian people. She specifically stated that she didn’t want to “make a minstrel out of [her] people.”
    Several people pointed out the hypocrisy. She has no problem mimicking black people and using a “blaccent”, but would apparently find it offensive for Asian people to be treated that way.

  7. Mcmmom says:

    Adopting AAVE is not always cultural appropriation. It can also be considered a form of “code switching,” depending on the situation. My younger son started using AAVE when he was in middle school (he’s Asian and his huge public middle school was predominately Black and Latino/Latina). I thought it was bizarre and I commented on it in my social media. My white friends all told me that I needed to punish/scold him for using “incorrect” grammar and my Black friends told me to lighten up and recognize that he was code switching, a term I had never heard of until then (I’m white). I’ve since learned a lot more about code switching and realized just how common it is – and for some people, necessary for cultural assimilation. I talk with my Black friends a lot about how they have had to code switch in order to be accepted in predominately white corporate America.

    Yes, I understand how taking on the traditions, language or affectations of a particular group or culture CAN be appropriation – or it can also be a survival instinct. Of course, my son wasn’t doing this as a “schtick” or to play a character – it was more of a way to blend in an environment where he was clearly in the minority and wanted to assimilate, not distinguish himself. I don’t think it was even conscious on his part initially – though he eventually realized what he was doing. I’ve heard a lot of immigrants or transracial adoptees (which is my son’s situation) talk about how they code switched for years.

    I don’t know much about Awkafina’s background, so I’m not commenting on her specifically – just sharing another experience.

    • L4frimaire says:

      She isn’t code switching.it’s not like she is doing this among an all Black cast to fit in, or for a Black audience o he Black friends she hung out with ( what Black friends?) She is doing it as an act, it’s a joke, and geared toward a primarily white audience to mock black speech . She’s full of sh*t and is as fake as that blaccent. She’s tacky and common.

    • Debbie says:

      I just wanted to note that there’s also a presumption in the comments that ALL Black people in the US, or African Americans speak in AAVE. Most people who’ve commented used that assumption, & then it went on to “incorrect” grammar being associated with Black people. Then you have actual Black people who don’t speak like that having to deal intellectual snobbery all their lives, or dealing w/ low expectation from people. I just think that the language we use matters, and when people use short hand to explain away complex issues, we should just be careful not to do more harm.

      • Mcmmom says:

        Debbie – I’m not sure if your comment was in response to mine (probably, as I think I’m the only one who referenced incorrect grammar), but I want to be clear that I was just talking about *my* experience with my son who was using grammar that is not traditional English grammar (dropping verbs, using different tenses, etc) and when I commented on this, it was my friends who were not white who explained to me what was going on – not because they all spoke that way, but because they saw it for what it was, a child trying to switch his way of speaking in order to fit with other kids who spoke differently than he did because they had done it themselves. All of my Black friends have talked about code switching to blend into a corporate world that until relatively recently wasn’t even talking about racial inequities in the workplace. My friends explained my son’s new speech patterns weren’t about ignorance or laziness, but a desire to assimilate. The way my son spoke was actually given the term “Houston urban accent” by linguists because it blended vernacular and accents from a variety of backgrounds, not just Black (though clearly it borrows heavily from AAVE).

        Code switching also isn’t just about accents or terminology – it can also be about what experiences you choose to share and what parts of your life you want to emphasize publicly.

        Anyway, I know I’m getting a little off track with this and I agree that Awkafina wasn’t code switching, but I do find it all rather interesting – especially the idea that people feel like they have to morph who they are to assimilate.

      • Jaded says:

        Thank you for bringing this up Debbie. My goddaughter is bi-racial and identifies as black. At her last job as an esthetician (she’s now a nurse) she had to call a client (a rich white woman) about a discrepancy on her bill for a facial and mani/pedi. For some reason the mani/pedi didn’t get charged and my Goddaughter called her to explain the mistake and that her credit card would be charged for the missing item. The woman said “Oh, well let me speak to the girl who did my facial/mani-pedi” and Andrea (not her real name) said “I’m the person”. There was a pregnant pause and the woman actually said “Are you sure??? You don’t sound black.” So Andrea said “Well what does a black person sound like?” Andrea does NOT speak in AAVE but this woman assumed that all black people do. She’s also had to face being told she “doesn’t speak black enough” by many of her black colleagues — it’s like she’s damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t. It’s horrible.

    • The Recluse says:

      Interesting.
      I hadn’t heard the term before but it makes sense.

  8. rainbowkitty says:

    “all this made me think about was how many (white) women get their opportunities handed to them on a silver platter and they don’t have to “humble” themselves at all.” *cough* Addison Rae *cough*

  9. Cait says:

    She said she wouldn’t want to make a minstrel out of her people, but black people are ripe for the picking. I don’t expect and apology or for non-black POC to acknowledge and problematic she is. Because if we’re being honest the Asian community is rife with anti-blackness they view us as beneath them feel entitled to aspects to our culture while having no respect for actual black people. Asians especially seek greater acceptance from whites and don’t mind stomping on black people to get it.

    • Clo says:

      Meanwhile you are loud and proud with your anti-asian attitude.

      If black people aren’t a monolith neither are asian ppl. Your comment shows you believe the former but not the latter. You’re ignorant & should fix yourself.

      A black girl here in SF saw the reports of anti-asian violence on tv and mumbled ‘big f-cking deal’ in front of my mom/grandma/me all asian women then smiled. Was that you, Cait?

      • House of No says:

        What’s anti-Asian about speaking about an attitude that does live within the Asian communities? What’s ignorant is the attempt to shut down talks about how racism plays out by the hands of groups that suffer from racism too.

      • Cait says:

        Latasha Harlins does that name sound familiar ? The Asian community barely tries to hide its disdain for black people. As BW we have our own rather sereious issue with racial violence both from outside and inside the community. Or haven’t you seen the rates of Domestic Violence, Murder, rape , assualt and poilce brutality for BW ? No one is entitled to Black women’s support , labor , or compassion. Black women are not the worlds mules stop expecting more from us than you do every other race in the world.

      • Ann says:

        I’m white so I admittedly don’t understand this dynamic and don’t want to get in the middle of a disagreement. That said, if I saw another white woman say “big f**king deal” about anti-Asian hatred or violence in front of Asian women I’d be appalled and angry and would say something. That’s not expecting “more,” it’s just expecting what’s right. Same if I saw someone brush off that kind of language/attitude about black people. No kind of racism is ok.

    • Booboochile says:

      Yes….no one likes to talk about the anti blackness in the Asian community…. absolute crickets. Thank you for bringing this up… it’s like we are not supposed to talk about that sense of superiority… And the fake black accent…WTF is even a black accent. The whole thing is offensive.

    • Suz says:

      New here and shocked by the anti-Asian sentiment in this thread. Asian Americans aren’t monolithic. Making sweeping generalizations about any group is disgusting.

  10. L4frimaire says:

    Can’t stand her. Her hamminess grates on my nerves and she has a face for radio. Haven’t forgotten about her blaccent and hood cosplay either.

    • Sealit says:

      Wow. She has a face for radio? Why? Because she doesn’t fit the American standard of beauty? Should she get her eyelids done so she’s prettier?

      • L4frimaire says:

        Those are your words, not mine. I’m not going to do the comparison thing either to other actresses either or call out features the way you are. Why specifically did YOU go there? I don’t need anyone to fit any typical Western beauty standards or expect anyone to change their face. But for me, she ain’t it.

    • DiegoInSF says:

      I kinda agree, she pulls these model poses and I’m sorry but she looks ridiculous, lol and I am part Korean before I get called Anti-Asian, I think Lucy Liu, Stephanie Jacobsen, Fan Bing Bing are beautiful!

    • Sealit says:

      Because YOU called her ugly.

    • Ann says:

      Her face worked fine in CRA. Granted, she wasn’t playing the romantic protagonist but the comic relief friend. I wouldn’t mind her in the former type of role, though. I think she’s striking actually. Not conventionally pretty, maybe, but attractive. YMMV.

    • stagaroni says:

      Really? I think she is stunning.

  11. Theothermia says:

    She was hilarious in Shang-Chi

  12. Normades says:

    ‘‘My Vag’, her YouTube show and the persona of Awkwafina is what made her go viral in the early days. Going to auditions would have never gotten her to where she is now.

    Justin Beiber, kardishiens, etc etc… the list is long on appropriation. Not saying her thing was right but her early stuff (raps and interviews) got her hits and likes. I admit I’ve watched a lot of it like the interview with SNLPete.

    I only wish that in this stage of her career she gets roles that aren’t blocked as “Asian”. As an Asian American I’m really happy that Asians are having box office successes, but I want to see Asians in leads that weren’t written specifically for Asians (see Sandra Oh in Killing Eve or Henry Golding in the new Jane Austen movie).

  13. Gk says:

    I’m saddened to see WOC fighting other WOC obviously believing there is not enough room. I see this behavior sometimes among women of the same racial/ ethnic background and I want to tell them to support each other.

    • Tiffany says:

      It is amazing with anti Blackness is called out, these kind of comments come to the forefront.

      You might as well tell Black people to shut up and sit down.

      • BlinkB says:

        And yet, you’re very happy to silence Asian women?! Listen to yourself. Divide and conquer has truly won the oppression Olympics. This is not a thread about black women. Take it somewhere else and stop with the racist hypocrisy. You cannot decry anti-black racism and carry on like this about Asians. Disgusting.

      • Shhhhhh says:

        @Tiffany

        ITS NOT ALL ABOUT YOU.

        Jesus, could there be more anti-asian racism on this thread & from black women?! It’s like you flat out don’t believe anybody but black people experience the worst racism. YOU ARE BIGOTS. Yes, that’s right, you, 👑 of the Oppression Olympics (cuz no one else can talk about it without it being minimized as less than what black people go thru)

  14. jwoolman says:

    I wish people would realize that the academic dialect isn’t the only “correct” dialect. Every dialect is a full language with consistent grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. Just listen to another dialect for a while and you will see how consistent it is.

    It’s useful to know the academic dialect, since it serves as a lingua franca for us in writing and reading and speaking to a broader audience. But it is a dialect among dialects, useful for its own purposes as they all are. Wish teachers would just recognize that their job is to make people bilingual, not shame students for speaking differently at home and among friends.

    Dialects are actually usually more complex grammatically when the population using them is isolated. Our language tends to simplify when we interact with speakers of different languages and dialects. Humans make languages, that’s what we do. It takes intelligence to create and use languages of all sorts.

    • TEALIEF says:

      This is what was articulated in a college course I took on the Greek and Latin roots of English. The professor, got my unstinted admiration when he effectively silenced those who were trying to denigrate AAVE and Afro-Caribbean dialects and pronunciation. It was an epic dressing down of snobbery that I never forgot.

  15. Azblue says:

    In order to break into Hollywood and comedy, Asian Americans have to break thru stereotypes. People just don’t see Asian Americans. Just look at the Asian characters available before “crazy rich Asians”, like the “pitch perfect” beat boxer and the literally voiceless woman in “the boys” on Amazon.

    Awkwafina had to avoid staying in her lane to make it. It’s more of a commentary that POC are generally discriminated against vs cultural appropriation.

    • Ann says:

      I’m dating myself but it’s shocking to look back on the Asian characters in movies/TV/commercials when I was a kid. The exchange student in “Sixteen Candles?” The owner of the dry cleaning business in a laundry product commercial, who said he used an “Ancient Chinese Secret” to get the white customer’s clothes so clean? That ad was on ALL the time. Even cartoons! There was one on Saturday mornings (peak cartoon time) called “The Amazing Chan And The Chan Clan” where the patriarch called his oldest kid “Number One Son” in a thick accent. I remember it all clearly.

  16. Steph says:

    Please don’t call valid criticism of cultural appropriation hate. And it wasn’t even appropriation, she used our language as a clown show. I was actually surprised that your statement wasn’t highlighted bc you never covered it before even though your are clearly aware of it.

  17. Kahlia says:

    Sorry, but black people don’t have a monopoly on imprecise speech and dialects. I grew up poor and went to a city school with, like, 10 white kids, and all the major groups – black, asian/hmong, somali/oromo, and mexican – spoke “lazily”, but with their own individual flare, so to speak. I’m native. Natives do the same thing with our own slang, even. I’m sure black people and white people would scream at me too about my “blaccent” if they heard me talk to my sister when we’re alone, but the thing is, speaking properly all the time is tiring and not as expressive as speaking in your cultural/laid-back dialect. I reserve my “relaxed” way of speaking for those very close to me, because I’m white-passing and I don’t want to be attacked. For Nora, I think it’s ridiculous that people assume she was even trying to sound black, because to me, she sounds like she’s an Asian woman who went to school in the city, speaking in her “relaxed” mode that she would use with close friends. Not all whites and Asians speak “proper,” you know.

    • Steph says:

      Black people do have a monopoly on AAVE. AFRICAN AMERICAN VERNACULAR ENGLISH. That monopoly is literally in the name. Other people’s “lazy talk”, (wtf does that even mean) is not AAVE.

    • Sarah says:

      “lazy talk”???? I’m not certain what you’re trying to infer by saying lazy talk but AAVE is not considered lazy talk and there’s a rich history behind it that I suggest you look up. Also, when Nora was playing the role of Awkwafina she definitely took on a blaccent and while I wasn’t a fan of hers, I just recall hearing about her back in the day and she appeared on a podcast that I listened to and hearing her now and noticing the huge difference. i think people’s problem with her is that she took on that “accent” for comedy and thereby mocking and ridiculing how actual people speak for her and others entertainment.