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thandiwe newton

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Formerly known as “Thandie,” award-winning actress Thandiwe Newton has reclaimed the spelling and pronunciation of her name — which means “beloved” in Zimbabwean language Shona — and recently discussed how she originally got wrongly credited during the early days of her career.

While speaking with British Vogue as their May 2021 cover, Newton announced that moving forward she’ll only be addressed with the proper spelling and pronunciation of her first name — Thandiwe — despite the world knowing her and associating her decades-long career with the first name “Thandie.” According to the outlet, the misspelling and mispronunciation of the actress’s name originally happened when the W in her name was “carelessly missed out from her first credit” as an actress.

“That’s my name. It’s always been my name,” Newton said on the correctly spelled version, before additionally telling the magazine, “I’m taking back what’s mine.”

Speaking on her excitement to be in a more inclusive industry where she can be amongst those who won’t force her to change aspects of who she is as a person for the sake of her career and its success, she said in the interview, “The thing I’m most grateful for in our business right now is being in the company of others who truly see me. And to not be complicit in the objectification of Black people as ‘others,’ which is what happens when you’re the only one.”

Relatedly, while mentioning her role in the HBO hit series Westworld, and her love of “how subversive” the series is, the actress noted, “Wherever I position myself now [in the industry], I don’t want to be part of the problem, I want to be part of the solution,” before majorly adding, “I’m not for hire anymore. I’m not going to speak your story or say your words if I don’t feel they could’ve come from me.”

Newton isn’t the only famous woman in the entertainment industry who’s had to accept the simplification and whitewashing of their name — but she is the most recent to speak out on how the common industry practice affected her life’s personal journey. Even for everyday Black women, name discrimination can be a problem in the workplace and even getting hired in the first place. Luckily, thanks to women like Newton who are using their big platforms to speak on the issue, things can continue moving in a more inclusive direction for all.

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