Awkwafina's Past Makes Her a Complicated Icon of Asian American Representation

Feb 03, 2020 21:48

i wrote about awkwafina and how representation alone is a flawed goal
- bettina makalintal (@bettinamak) January 24, 2020

-Awkwafina rise to the top in the last few years, and up to her win at the Golden Globes were monumental to an already scarce amount of roles for Asian Americans and Asians in Hollywood.

-However, Bettina Makalintal writes that with success comes complications, particularly of Awkwafina's past with her rap videos and persona, alongside her role in Crazy Rich Asians.

-"She can have her wins, but not everyone can or will celebrate them, and as much as the lens of representation has narrowed its focus on Awkwafina, it seems unlikely-given her past-that creators of color will ever fully rally around her. Awkwafina is for some people; she's certainly not for everyone."

-"Awkwafina's defenders have attributed her performance of Blackness to her multicultural upbringing in Queens, as depicted in her new series. But adding another layer to this predicament is the sense that Awkwafina has given up on this persona in recent months, coinciding with her garnering more serious roles and mainstream acclaim."

-"It's not that representation isn't something to aim for, but that being Asian in America is about much more than just who's on screen. Representation should be a step toward seeing the interplay of marginalized communities. If we don't work to lessen the ways we-even inadvertently-hurt each other, the idea of championing diversity doesn't really do as much as we might hope."

It puzzles me that Awkwafina still has not acknowledged how she has used Black culture to her benefit. This refusal to own up exacerbates audiences that want to support her. A statement is not career suicide. There will be no boycott. Why refuse the chance to demonstrate empathy?
- William Yu (@its_willyu) August 17, 2019

1. Awkwafina was *amazing* in #TheFarewell and absolutely deserved that Golden Globe
2. She has been breaking barriers for Asian American actresses
3. She built her career by using a blaccent and stereotypical black mannerisms and you can't ignore that
- Femestella (@femestella) January 16, 2020

Sources: 1 I 2 I 3

asian celebrities, awkwafina