In the wake of Raven-Symoné's recent comments on The View, in which the actress said, ironically, that she'd never hire someone with a "black"-sounding name, an age-old conversation about bias is yet again rearing its ugly head.
Being a woman of color with a unique name myself, Raven's remarks hit me like a blow. So did a recent study highlighting the fact that names are still, in 2015, inciting racial bias. This all brought me back to when I was younger, a time when I would only introduce myself, Simedar Jackson, with a nickname—to the point where people forgot my full one.
Even now, after I've learned to embrace and even love my name, I'm still constantly faced with the need to explain myself and overcompensate for something my parents gave me proudly but that I know others might view negatively.
Which is why this video by Sha'Condria "iCon" Sibley, a slam poet from New Orleans, means so much to me. Originally filmed in 2013 but making the rounds again, it masterfully demonstrates that a unique name does not make someone unintelligent or unemployable. It doesn't make their parents silly, or clueless. It should, instead, make them proud. Strong. Respected.
Watch it below, and please share—it's time to put this issue behind us for good.
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