One of the stars of Crazy Rich Asians, Awkwafina, was honored at the Pacific Bridge Arts Foundation. Awkwafina, born Nora Lum, was in hand in Los Angeles to receive a special plaque for her “outstanding contributions to Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities,” according to Pacific Bridge Arts. The event took place at the Ford Theatre on Saturday, May 11th, and was titled “IDENTITY LA: A Night Celebrating Asian American & Pacific Islander Women.” Nora wasn’t the only Asian woman who was honored that night. Nadya Okamoto also got a plaque for her activist work.
“So I actually performed at this very event a couple of years ago and to be standing here today receiving honor, at this event, is an honor,” Awkwafina told the crowd. “I think events like this are really important. Especially ones that celebrate Asian American women at a time like this. So give it up yourself if you’re an Asian American woman. You’re out here representing us too.”
“I look forward to the future generations that will be standing here, performing here, being honored here because it’s all about that. I feel very blessed to be here, so thank you all.”
The Pacific Bridge Foundation is a non-profit that serves the Asian American and Pacific Islander communites through the arts. It helps up and coming Asian artists and leaders by providing them with a platform and resources.
The 29-year-old actor has come a long way from performing in small talent shows. It wasn’t too long ago when an Asian American person had very limited space in the entertainment field. But Awkwafina sees that changing.
Speaking to People, Awkwafina told the magazine that she is “optimistic” about diversity in entertainment. “I think there’s something also to be said about the industry casting… only because you’re a minority and nothing else,” she said. “You don’t want that to happen, you still want your own merit and your own whatever you’ve done to be a part of it. You don’t just want to be ‘Oh, well she’s Asian, let’s put her in.'”
“I think that Hollywood needs to find that balance and I think it is,” she continued. “I think the difference between diversity and representation – Constance talks about this a lot – diversity is the illusion of representation whereas representation actually speaks to people. I think they’re figuring that out in a way that I feel very optimistic.”
Awkwafina had an amazing last year where she saw her fame skyrocket after her role in Crazy Rich Asians. Now, she’s working on her own television show and is starring in the upcoming movie The Farewell.