My Guest Post on VSB: Are You A “Namist?”

January 29, 2013

*** Mama, I made it!! I’m guest blogging over at VerySmartBrothas.com today!!! Check a sista out and let me know what you think!!*** 

Recently in a GroupMe convo with friends, someone mentioned Quvenzhané Wallis, star of Beasts of the Southern Wild and youngest actor to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. Before I could remark about having never heard of this film, or show praise for this child’s high accolade at such a young age, I immediately focused on her name. “Wait, is her name really Quvenzhané?”

I googled her to see if this wasn’t some errant rumor. My follow up response to my search was, “Why is her mama’s name Qulyndreia?”

This certainly wasn’t the first time I’ve seen an “ethnically creative” name that caused me to form a serious side eye. I mean, I’m an NFL fan – seeing names like D’Brickashaw, Jacquizz, Knowshon, De’Anthony and LaQuinton are commonplace. I have also come to regularly expect texts from my brother containing a list of students he works named LaDravious, Dan’kevien, Markevius, Jonquerrius, Marionique, Jamorrious, and LaPhil. My reaction is always the same: “What is with the egregious use of apostrophes, La- prefixes, and -ious/eous suffixes?” My brother and I have even gone so far as to attempt to conjugate and combine the most common names into as many remixes as possible just for fun. And then, of course, there are the infamous (and possibly nonexistent) Orangejello, Lemonjello, and Le-a.

I think some of these “unique” and “uncommon” names are just too over the top and I don’t like them. But it wasn’t until being introduced to Quvenzhané that I considered my reaction was judgmental. I was so distracted by a name that I failed to acknowledge and credit the person to whom the name belonged. I felt bad about it.

Does this make me a namist?

Read more at VSB…

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Marcia January 30, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    Hi my name is Marcia and I’m a namist!

  • Reply Simply B February 5, 2013 at 11:09 am

    I must admit I am a namist. More often than not, when I see unique names I cringe and think what assumptions will people make about them. My friend sent me a screen shot from the local news last week and this child’s mother’s name was Airwrecka (Erica) and my first thought was WTF?!

    When I was younger I wondered why didn’t I have a more unique name and I hated that my name was so plain. I can’t recall when I made the transition, but somewhere along the way I started to appreciate having the name Brandi and the names that I once thought were so cool made me roll my eyes…..

    You made a great point about acknowledging the person because when I heard Quvenzhane’s name I immediately thought oh lord and I never thought about “her.” Since she burst on the scene I’ve watched several interviews and she is such a cute and delightful little girl and I feel bad for making a snap judgement because of her name.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: