The Farewell is almost here. Get your tickets now!
2018 was a good year for comedian Nora Lum. Awkwafina’s career took off after Ocean’s 8 and the record-breaking Crazy Rich Asians, but it didn’t start there. The hilarious woman most of us have only just come to love over the past year actually came into the entertainment scene about six years prior in 2012. She wowed fans not just with her comedic wit, but her lyrics as well. She’s rapped since she was 13, but her YouTube hit “My Vag” (a response to Avalon’s “My Dick”) was what catapulted her into the public eye.
The 31-year-old actress’ whip-smart lyrics and impeccable comedic timing didn’t come from nowhere. Awkwafina double majored in journalism and women’s studies. She also studied Mandarin in China for two years. Lady will kick your ass in a rap battle and then teach you about Claudia Mo and Lijia Zhang. Oh, and she’s also a classically trained musician. Can you play your own fanfare on the trumpet?
Awkwafina’s spent a lot of her career combatting Asian stereotypes. An interview in Broadly even cites the actress saying that she’s refused roles that require her to use an accent as a caricature of her culture. She and fellow funny lady Margaret Cho teamed up on a song called “Green Tea”, a song making fun of Asian stereotypes, back in 2014. She’s also one of the many members in the loud chorus of women calling for more female directors.
I’m not just giving you this mini-biography because the lady makes me cry laugh. You’ve heard the saying “women contain multitudes”, and it’s absolutely true. In this case, Awkwafina can prove it on paper. When The Farewell was first announced, the internet did its thing and immediately began to question whether a woman who raps about her vag could possibly bring the emotional depth that the film’s meant to showcase. I haven’t seen the film yet, but I still know that the answer to that question is a very firm “yes!”
I’ll save you from my “Women Can Do Anything” diatribe and simply gesture in a very Will Smith-like fashion at the first four paragraphs of this piece. You can also check out her IMDb, Wikipedia page, her documentary feature (Bad Rap), her officially published New York Travel Guide, and the rest of her already diverse career to back up my work on that.
The Farewell looks like a beautiful, and occasionally funny, glimpse at a part of Eastern culture that many from this side of the world simply don’t understand. Awkwafina’s character, Billi, finds herself torn between those two worlds as a daughter of immigrants whose family still mostly resides in China. The film looks stunning and appears to have equal parts drama and heart. And, if the reviews out of Sundance are to be believed, Lum absolutely slew her dramatic debut.