Sorry, celebrities. If you’re gonna post a solidarity pic on Instagram, you’re gonna have to be prepared to get “This you?”-ed. As Hollywood continues to dance around the ongoing Black Lives Matter and anti-police-brutality protests, many a fan, gossip, and hater online are making sure no celebrity pats themselves on the back too hard, especially if they have some skeletons in their closet. The latest to reckon with their pasts? Search Party’s Alia Shawkat. It had to be right before season three, huh? The actress posted an apology Monday night after a video of her saying the N-word at 2016’s South by Southwest circulated on Twitter. A Twitter user, emulating Skai Jackson’s recent movement to expose racists, tweeted the video at Shawkat. The moment can still be seen during the full interview.
In the clip, the Arrested Development star describes a celebratory moment with the Drake lyric “N - - - -, we made it” from the song “We Made It.” So, if we were to put this on the spectrum of celebrity N-words, it would be somewhere between Gina Rodriguez “rapping” it on Instagram and Viggo Mortenson going hard-R at a Green Book screening. Three days later, Shawkat addressed the video on Instagram with a note and a drawing. “I am deeply sorry and I take full responsibility,” she wrote in the first half. “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 for black people, as it is never a word to be used by someone who is not black. 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 realize how important it is to be hyper vigilant in the spaces I exist in.”
She goes on to say she will continue to “support the black community.” “Silence is violence, and so are the words we irresponsibly throw out,” she concludes. “I plan to stay engaged and learn from my friends who are helping me understand.” Many are dissatisfied with her response, especially considering this happened fairly recently, when Shawkat was 27 years old.
“You were a grown adult, you knew what you were doing,” one reply reads. “Don’t try to use the moment we’re in now as if its brand new information. A non black person not using the N word was not news in 2016 and is not news today.”