Awkwafina’s Character in ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Sparks Black Cultural Appropriation Debate

Critics on Twitter have accused Awkwafina’s character in “Crazy Rich Asians” as appropriating Black culture, claiming that she did not act and only had to pull off her “real-life Blackface.”

Awkwafina plays Goh Peik Lin, the sassy, bottle blonde sidekick to Constance Wu’s Rachel Chu in the highly-anticipated rom-com that opened in theaters on Wednesday.

“Crazy Rich Asians” grossed $5 million on its opening day with a solid A CinemaScore, while PostTrak exits showed 85% overall positive, 4 1/2 stars and a 68% definite recommend, Deadline reported.

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Rotten Tomatoes also certified the film “fresh” with its current 92% rating, a steady consensus since its Hollywood premiere.

Still, “Crazy Rich Asians” has its share of critics who claim that it’s “steeped with familiarity and cliches” and “all too aware of its own spectacle.”

One in particular took a jab at Awkwafina — whose real name is Nora Lum — on Twitter.

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The ultimate bachelor is already taken. 🌹 #CrazyRichAsians

A post shared by Crazy Rich Asians (@crazyrichasians) on

After watching the movie, user @muqingmzhang started a thread that described how the 29-year-old breakout star “built her entire career off of Blackness.”

“After watching Crazy Rich Asians, one of the most disturbing parts is Awkwafina’s mistral-esque performance as the “sassy Black sidekick” caricature in full on AAVE. She isn’t even acting. She’s just performing her real-life Blackface that she built her whole career off of.”

@muqingmzhang accused Awkwafina of making money by “performing Blackness,” adding that it works because Asian Americans have a yearning to break out of the “nerd” stereotype.

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@muqingmzhang went on to claim that Awkwafina’s natural voice sounds completely different.

The thread has since received more than 8,000 likes and 2,000 retweets, with netizens sharing their two cents.

Some shared @muqingmzhang’s opinion:

But others came to Awkwafina’s defense:

Comedian @AkilahObviously started an entirely new thread in support of Awkwafina:

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What do you think?

Feature Image via YouTube / Warner Bros. Pictures

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