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Awkwafina gives back to New York Chinatown

As the coronavirus pandemic ravages Chinatowns nationwide, Awkwafina is giving back, RADII reports. The Golden Globe-winning actress, producer, writer and rapper has promised that profits from her latest quarter’s music sales will go towards supporting small businesses in New York. 

Part of the profits will be donated to Welcome to Chinatown, a grassroots organization which established The Longevity Fund to provide small business relief, according to RADII. 

The organization aims to raise $200,000 in the hopes of disbursing $5,000 grants across 40 Chinatown businesses. 

The Longevity Funds fears the pandemic will “accelerate the gentrification of Chinatown,” and cause both residents and small businesses to leave the neighborhood.

Awkwafina announcement on Instagram also touched on the subjects of gentrification and anti-Asian racism during the pandemic. Born Nora Lum, she discussed the loss of her great-grandmother’s building to a sea of coffee bars, Whole Foods and luxury hotels.

“My great grandpa opened a restaurant in the Bronx, then the first Chinese American restaurant in Flushing,” the star said, via Instagram. “To see what the pandemic has done to my city, and especially its Chinatowns is devastating. With a rising rate of xenophobic hate crimes, and an economic standstill leading to closures of legendary New York staples that I grew up with.”

“I owe it to my family to help struggling businesses during this time,” Awkwafina added. 

The actress pays homage to her roots in the popular show Awkwafina is Nora From Queens. The semi-autobiographical show is slated for a second season, as Comedy Central gave it the green light back in January. 

“We are in awe of Awkwafina’s creative genius on every level and we could not be more excited to embark on a season two with the entire Lin family in Awkwafina is Nora From Queens,” Executives Sara Baibeau and Jonas Larsen said in interviews, according to Daily Express

While social distancing and other pandemic-related restrictions will slow down production, Daily Express says it’s possible that the ten episodes will launch as early as January 2021. 

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