Alia Shawkat apologies for using racial slur in 2016 interview: “Silence is violence”

"Silence is violence, and so are the words we irresponsibly throw out"

Alia Shawkat has issued an apology for using a racial slur in a 2016 interview at SXSW festival.

A video from the film and musical festival resurfaced on social media, in which the Arrested Development actress quotes the Drake song ‘We Made It’, saying: “We were all in the penthouse together and everybody was looking around like ‘n**** we made it’, you know what I mean like, everyone was so excited.”

Shawkat issued an apology via her Twitter account, saying: “I am deeply sorry and I take full responsibility. It was a careless moment, one I’m ashamed and embarrassed by, but vow to continue to learn from. I regret using a word that carries so much pain and history to black people, as it is never a word to be used by someone who is not black.

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“I have been learning so much about what it truly means to be an ally. The voices of black people must be amplified and heard clearly. As an Arabic woman, who can pass for white, I’m working hard to process this nuanced access I’ve been afforded, and I realise how important it is to be hyper vigilant in the spaces I exist in.”

Search Party season 2
Alia Shawkat in Search Party (CREDIT: Warner Bros.)

She continued: “I have been trying to understand the real definition of the word ally. It is more than simply believing in equality but to be willing to act with and for the black community. I aim to fight against these injustices and remind myself that this isn’t about a title but an action to work against these systems that have protected me but not others.

“I am sorry that my ignorance has led to this moment. I will continue to support the black community as best as I can and learn from this. We as non black people must all take responsibility for the inactivity we’ve been comfortable to sit with for so long – that has gotten use here. Silence is violence, and so are the words we irresponsibly throw out.

“I plan to stay engaged and learn from my friends who are helping me understand. And to take on this fight for justice with an active mind and open heart. I thank you for reading.”

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Alia Shawkat will return to TV later this month in a third season of Search Party, airing on HBO Max.

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