Queens, New York — If you aren’t already familiar with the multi-talented Awkwafina then you will be. About 4 years ago, she made her mark on Youtube. Now she’s about to take on a bigger challenge by landing a role in a major movie production — Ocean’s Eight. Here are the 5 Fast Facts you need to know about this fast rising star.
1She Studied at the Same School as Nicki Minaj and Azealia Banks
Born Nora Lum, Awkwafina was raised in Queens, New York, and attended the famed LaGuardia High School. Her music education began much earlier, having been trained to play the trumpet from age 11.
It was here that her persona Awkwafina would begin to surface after performing her own mock news show. In a 2014 interview, she explained:
“I used to chop up C-Span soundbites or interviews with politicians like John Kerry or Bill Clinton into a radio-esque show hosted by Awkwafina and her producer, Mookie, I would pitch down my vocals to have male guests, and would send them to a small circle of friends after they were done.”
2She Gained Recognition After Some of Her Hilarious Music Videos Went Viral
Awkwafina’s raps feature a lot of humor. Look no further than her first hits that went viral back in 2012 after she uploaded them onto YouTube.
My Vag was a parody of the My Dick song from Micky Avalon and helped spread her name, while other tracks cover everything from New York Hipsters in Yellow Ranger to addressing the New York Soda Ban in Mayor Bloomberg (Giant Margarita).
The content of most of her songs follow this humorous approach, and have helped gain Awkwafina a massive fan base in just a few short years.
3Her Acting Credits Include Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising
While most people know Awkwafina for her music career, she also has many acting credits to her name, most notably 2016’s Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising. This was her first major appearance as a major character, starring alongside Zac Efron, Seth Rogen, and Chloë Grace Moretz.
Other credits include small roles in Dude and Bad Rap, making her lead role in the newly announced Ocean’s Eight all the more impressive!
4Not Only Does She Rap and Act, She Is Also a Comedian
A woman of many talents, Awkwafina has experience working in comedy as well, which is little surprise after hearing the hilarious lyrics of her songs.
She currently co-hosts MTV comedy show Girl Code Live, which is a spin-off of the popular Girl Code, which she has also had several appearances on. When you consider that she also writes, produced and performs all of her own music and has promising acting career, it is clear that the sky is the limit for the 28-year-old!
5She Isn’t Afraid to Laugh at Asian Stereotypes, But Is Still Immensely Proud of Her Heritage
With a Chinese-American father and South-Korean mother, Awkwafina is very proud of her Asian-American heritage. Having said that, growing up in Queens makes her bona fide New Yorker, although she loves to have fun with stereotypes all the same.
Just take a look at her latest track Green Tea with comedian Margaret Choo for an example of how she isn’t afraid to have a little laugh at Asian stereotypes.
In an interview in 2014, she explains how battling against stereotypes has helped push her towards achieving her dream:
“My story isn’t so much an “Asian female rapper” story as much as one of an American kid who didn’t come from the kind of trust fund background where I could support myself and do music,” she said. “It really was an American story…I was someone who grew up listening to the Backstreet Boys, you know? I love Pokemon. I loved Are You Afraid of the Dark? I was an American kid. But I feel proud to represent Asian people,” she continued, “just not when people who don’t get it are asking me about it. I’m Asian, obviously, but if you can’t see that what I’ve done so far really doesn’t have a lot to do with that, so much as other stuff, then that’s what I kind of have an issue with.”