MSNBC Tiffany Cross, Guest at Awkwafina ‘Blaccent’

From MSNBC Tiffany Cross and her dashboard scrolls through a segment above Awkwafina’s recently apologetic for her use of what Cross calls “black”.

Movie and TV stars have become tense criticism in a lengthy statement she gave about her long-term use of African-American English (AAVE) – itself a source of long-standing criticism:

Awkwafina followed up her statement with an announcement announcing that she is “retiring” from Twitter:

On Saturday morning, the edition of Cross connection, Ms. Cross joined by MSNBC collaborators Dr. Jason JohnsonThe Undefeated’s Kelly Carterand RUN AAPI CEO Linh Nguyen to discuss the issue.

A clip of Awkwafina from Crazy Rich Asians drew attention, but a nuanced dissection of the no-apology, code-switching, and underlying criticism ensued:

AUNT. CROSS: OK, Linh, I want to talk to you because you are uniquely positioned to talk about this because you’ve been gone for so long. You’ve got a baby girl. And I want you when you answer this question, we will give some pictures of your little baby’s beautiful face. So let’s talk about why you’re uniquely positioned to talk about this when you answer the question. Your talk or your thoughts about Awkwafina and her quotes are not black quotes.

AUNT. ORIGINAL:… I think we have to be honest in this moment, and I just wish you would, that if Awkwafina only said this, that sentence, when she first entered the industry, she got a lot of endorsements from non-Black people. And it’s white people in the entertainment industry, parts of the Asian-American community that think this is funny. Who thought it was cute and she made millions of dollars from this. You know, it wasn’t until she started getting called out repeatedly for this, that’s when she was forced to realize that it was wrong. It’s correct?

You can’t write a page-long apology and not even actually issue an apology. You “like” replies to tweets written by non-Black people, by white people telling her there is nothing to apologize for. You know, and then you get involved, you leave Twitter? You cancel your account, you know, so you just can’t, you can’t play that and then also play this as POC solidarity and throw, you know, generalized participation of Asian Americans on this in our identity on this. You know what, I really think ownership from Awkwafina is going to go a very long way because I think the very sad thing about this is that I really think she’s funny and she’s talented as a result. You know, I love getting to know my daughter. Yes. This is what I, you know, my daughter, who would be proud of both her black and Asian heritage. You know, this is something she would question herself in her own identity every day. You know, we just have to do better. We need to have better Awkwafina. I just need to say.

AUNT. CROSS: Yes. And that is, you know, we shouldn’t weaponize. You know, what you see on the screen is most of the population is growing in this country. I don’t like weaponizing communities of color against each other as we all need to move in step.

… Kelly hurry up. What are your thoughts on this?

AUNT. CARTER: I think that’s her that she needs to have, you know, sort of what’s been and is going on, especially because she’s been very vocal about not taking on certain portrayal roles. Asian people in a stereotypically offensive way, especially in regards to the use of accents that have been practiced but in American cinema for many, many years. And then you use one voice to basically make fun of another community. I think she needs to be a little more direct and what she’s talking about.


GRANDFATHER. JOHNSON: It’s not that complicated. Fisher Stevens when we were kids used to play Indian-Americans. You know, The Simpsons changed voice for APU. Big Mouth has changed the voice for the black hair. Just don’t do it. It’s not complicated. You say you’re sorry. You advance. I enjoyed Nora from Queens.

In fact, she could have cleaned it up a bit if she really had black letters on the door from queens and could have declared, Hey, I grew up around this blah blah blah. But at the end of the day, I’m a relatively forgiving person. I don’t think she did this maliciously, but you say you’re sorry, you move on and hope she comes back to Twitter and joins Shang Chi II.

AUNT. CROSS: Yes. It’s correct. I mean, I think, you know, you speak authentically, and if you speak authentically, that’s how you speak. This is why we don’t convert the code in this program. Why should we? Everyone out there trying to sound like me? I want to talk differently to sound like other people do for what? So anyhow.

See above via MSNBC.

Is there a trick we should know? MSNBC Tiffany Cross, Guest at Awkwafina ‘Blaccent’

Dustin Huang

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