"For All the Little Black Girls with Big Names": A Must-Hear Response to Race-Based Name-Shaming

This will give you chills.

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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Simedar Jackson

Simedar Jackson is an esthetician, content creator, and lover of sci-fi fiction living in Brooklyn, New York. She is passionate about creating space for Black and Brown people in the beauty and wellness industries by providing access to culturally nuanced education and services that meet their needs. You can find them doing their skincare routine, reminding friends to reapply SPF, and watching reruns of Love Island.