Asian-Amerian actress Awkwafina made headlines last year after critics blasted the "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" star for having a history of appropriating Black culture and using "blaccent" but being vocal about her refusal to use an Asian accent while onscreen. The Marvel star is now facing backlash after being nominated for an NAACP Image Award.
The annual ceremony presented by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which honors Black talent in Hollywood for their outstanding performances in film, television, theatre, music and literature, gave the 33-year-old the nomination for "Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance" in a motion picture for her role in Disney's "Raya and the Last Dragon."
The NAACP does not exclusively nominate Black entertainers. However, folks on social media immediately voiced their displeasure with the decision, including one baffled Twitter user who wrote, "Out of all of the awards, I would think the NAACP Image Awards would be the last one to nominate someone like Awkwafina, who thinks it is ok to make a minstrel out of Black people for a living. Yikes."
Another person commented, "NAACP and Awkwafina should not be in the same sentence.
"Yes she is a 'colored person,' but the NAACP really just going to ignore Awkwafina's use of a blaccent for jokes in a minstrel like fashion?" questioned a third person. "She has yet to explain why she used it and why she suddenly stopped. We all know she only stopped because she started getting bigger roles."
"Awkwafina got an NAACP award nomination, lol. Who the f-ck is in charge of these cookout invitations?" quipped a fifth. "They need to be vetted."
The actress reacted to the nomination, stating that she was "Extremely honored to be nominated at the @naacp image awards, alongside so many people I love, appreciate and respect." She added, "Thank you @naacp for all that you do and have done."
She has yet to address the mounting backlash online over the recent honor, nor has she thoroughly explained her past use of "blaccent." During an interview via Reuters Showbiz, she said she was "open to the conversation." "I think it, you know, it's really something that is a little bit multi-faceted and layered, and so yeah," she added.
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