“Saturday Night Live” host Awkwafina paid touching tribute in her monologue to actress Lucy Liu with a memory of standing on line as an 11-year-old girl as her “idol” was about to host “SNL” — 18 years ago. Liu was the first Asian woman to helm the program. Awkwafina was the second.
“I was a kid, and I didn’t have a ticket, so I knew that I wasn’t getting in,” recalled the rapper and “Crazy Rich Asians” actress. “I just wanted to be near the building. I remember how important that episode was for me, and how it totally it changed what I thought was possible for an Asian-American woman.”
She added: “Standing here tonight is a dream I never thought would come true. So thank you, Lucy Liu, for opening the door.”
Another breakthrough was the hit “Crazy Rich Asians,” the first Hollywood film in 25 years to feature a contemporary, almost entirely Asian cast.
Awkwafina said she cried when she first saw the movie.
“I watched ‘Crazy Rich Asians,’ and not even at the sad parts, I cried,” she told the Hollywood Reporter earlier this year. “And I’ve watched Asian-American kids come out of screenings and they’re crying. We’re out there and we exist.”