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Background information
Birth name Nora Lum
Born (1989-06-02) June 2, 1989 (age 28)[citation needed]
New York City, New York, United States
Origin Forest Hills, Queens, New York City, New York
Genres Alternative hip hop, Comedy hip hop, East Coast hip hop
Occupation(s) Rapper, actress
Instruments Vocals
Years active 2013–present
Associated acts Dumbfoundead

Nora Lum (born December 14, 1988)[citation needed] is an American rapper, comedian, television personality, television host and actress known by the stage name Awkwafina. She originates from the Forest Hills, Queens, area of New York City.

Early life and education[edit]

Born to a first-generation Chinese American father and South Korean immigrant mother,[1][2] Nora Lum grew up in Forest Hills, Queens, New York City. Her mother died when she was four.[3] As an only child, she described herself as being "often very lonely"[4] and she was close to her grandmother.[3] At age 11, she began reading the works of Charles Bukowski.[4]

She attended LaGuardia High School where she played trumpet and was trained in classical and jazz music.[5] She adopted the name Awkwafina, and began rapping and writing songs in GarageBand at age 17.[6] From 2006 to 2008, Lum attended the Beijing Language and Culture University in Beijing, China, where she studied Mandarin. Lum majored in journalism at SUNY Albany.[7]



Her solo album, Yellow Ranger, was released on February 11, 2014.[citation needed] The EP includes a number of her previous singles released via YouTube, including the title track "Yellow Ranger" as well as "Queef", "NYC Bitche$", and "Mayor Bloomberg (Giant Margarita)".[8]

Awkwafina was part of the lineup at Tenacious D's Festival Supreme on October 25, 2014.[9]


She is profiled in the documentary Bad Rap, which was an official selection at the 2016 TriBeCa Film Festival.[citation needed] Produced by Salima Koroma and Jaeki Cho, the film puts the spotlight on her as well as upcoming fellow Asian American rappers such as Dumbfoundead, Rekstizzy, and Lyricks.[10][11]

Her self-created short form web series "Tawk" was an Official Honoree at the 2016 Webby Awards and was nominated for a 2016 Streamy Award in the News and Culture category.[citation needed]

In 2014, Awkwafina was added to the cast of the third season of Girl Code.[12] She also was co-host of the weekly late-night talk show Girl Code Live on MTV.[citation needed]

In 2016, she played a supporting role in Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising and starred in the indie comedy Dude alongside Lucy Hale, Kathryn Prescott and Alexandra Shipp.[13][14] She also appeared in the 2016 animated comedy Storks.

In August 2016, she was announced as part of the principal cast in the all-female spinoff to the Ocean's Trilogy, Ocean's Eight, an ensemble cast also starring Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna and Anne Hathaway.

In April 2017, she was announced to be part of the cast of Warner Bros. film Crazy Rich Asians as Peik Lin, a college friend of Rachel Chu played by Constance Wu.[15]


In 2015, publisher Potter Style, a subsidiary of Penguin Random House, released Awkwafina's NYC, Lum's travel guide to New York City.[16]


Yellow Ranger

  • Released: 11 February 2014
  • Writer: Nora Lum
  • Producer: Nora Lum
  • Tracks: 11
  • Singles: "My Vag", "NYC Bitche$", "Queef"



  1. ^ "Nora Lum – Immigration Paper, University at Albany, SUNY" (PDF). Retrieved 25 October 2017. 
  2. ^ Lee, Traci (26 August 2014). "How Nora Lum Became Rapper Awkwafina Instead of A Meat Inspector". NBC News. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "September Cover Story: Awkwafina Establishing Her Presence | KoreAm Journal". Retrieved 2016-05-01. 
  4. ^ a b "13 Awkward Questions With Rapper Awkwafina". Mochi Magazine. Retrieved 2016-05-01. 
  5. ^ Trinh, Jean (March 14, 2013). "Meet Awkwafina: an Asian Female Rapper on Vaginas, Tackling Racism & More". Newsweek/Daily Beast Company LLC. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  6. ^ Goodman, Elyssa. "Can an Asian Woman Be Taken Seriously in Rap?". New York Magazine. Retrieved April 24, 2013. 
  7. ^ "LinkedIn Profile". LinkedIn. Retrieved July 5, 2013. 
  8. ^ Kim, James. "Rapper Awkwafina Releases Debut Album". KoreAm Magazine. Retrieved 11 February 2014. 
  9. ^ Blistein, Jon (27 May 2014). "Tenacious D Combine Jokes and Jams for 2014 Festival Supreme Lineup". Rolling Stones. Retrieved 30 May 2014. 
  10. ^ Frydenlund, Zach (24 May 2014). "Premiere: Watch a Sneak Peek of the "Bad Rap" Documentary". Complex. Retrieved 30 May 2014. 
  11. ^ "재키 조 제작 영화 '배드 랩'…다큐로 보는 한인 힙합 뮤지션들의 삶 [LA중앙일보] 랩퍼 4인 활동과 고민에 초점 장편 완성 위한 후원 기다려". Korea Daily (in Korean). 23 May 2014. Archived from the original on 31 May 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2014. 
  12. ^ Stedman, Alex (October 1, 2014). "Q&A: 'Girl Code' Creator Ryan Ling on Season 3, Social Media and New Comedians". Variety. 
  13. ^ "Rapper Awkwafina Joins 'Neighbors' Sequel". NBC News. Retrieved 2016-03-14. 
  14. ^ Lincoln, Ross A. "Indie Comedy 'Dude' Rounds Out Lead Cast With Trio Of Actresses". Deadline. Retrieved 2016-03-14. 
  15. ^ "'Crazy Rich Asians' Adds Awkwafina". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2017-04-24. 
  16. ^ "Awkwafina's Guide Book Shows the New York City You've Never Seen". Retrieved 25 October 2017. 

External links[edit]