Your name is your brand

February 03, 2016
Mr Lexx


Big up Adwoa, Oku, Kofi, Kafele, Ajamu, Osayimwese, Ekua and Muta! Yes, it's Black History Month, and with an African heritage focus in mind, I'm sending shouts out to the brothers and sisters who've taken that bold step of formally changing their names as an act of rejection of the slave master names that we Africans in the west have acquired. Mi rate dem people deh!

Don't get me wrong, I like the Ellis family name that I've grown accustomed to and I'm proud of my family members who have created a legacy of positive associations with that name. But I also know that many other people here in the west share that name, not because we are blood relatives, but because our enslaved ancestors belonged to the same slave master. That's right; our surnames are a carry-over from slavery and colonization.


my respect


It's a topic some people find uncomfortable, but I think it's worthy of occasional reflection. What you think? As one of my favorite Jamaican lyricists Pablo Moses reminds us in the song Give I Fe I Name, "Chinese name Chin and Chung. McIntosh came from Scotland. Indian name Raja and Gavaskar. I man sure Smith nuh come from Africa oh no." Those words haunt me sometimes. I feel like I'm too old to change my name now though, but I try and at least honour my reverence for Africa and my respect for the bible by ensuring that all my children have biblical and/or African names.

Yeah peeps, names are important. Every name has an origin and a meaning. I think it's also important to know and honour the meaning or story behind our names. I'm fond of telling my eldest son, for example, that he would do well to ignore the idea that his name 'Jawara' happens to sound like 'Jah warrior', and focus instead on trying to exemplify the true meaning of that name, which is actually 'peace loving'.


misplaced admiration


Names should not be taken lightly. And people in the creative industries are especially aware of this. For an artiste, one's name is one's brand. And every little no-name artiste will tell you that he or she is a 'name brand'. People who are serious about their work as artistes and entertainers expend much time and resources building the image and reputation they want associated with their name. And if you teef or borrow some people name [even out of misplaced admiration], they are quick to legally jump all over you and drop a 'cease and desist order' pony yuh backside!

That's what the makers of the luxury car probably did that forced deejay 'Lexus' to rebrand as 'Mr Lexx' and what the original singer named Angel had to do to make Michelle Downer add the 'D' to her 'Angel'.

And mi nuh care who vex, but I think Shauna Chin should do hurry up and put one pon Laniece Anderson.

Yeah, ever since the sudden rise to fame of Gully Bop, and the subsequent emergence of his reported lover/manager/agent and perceived femme fatale, my heart's been weeping for the real Shauna Chin. Gully Bop's former lady's name is really Laniece Shauna Anderson, but she calls herself Shauna Chin. She is always in the press of late. And the stories about her are usually negative and ugly. That can create problems for the real Shauna Chin and dat nuh fair!

The real Shauna Chin is a talented actress, writer and media personality living and working between Jamaica and Los Angeles. She's been involved in entertainment long before Mr & Mrs Bop came on the scene. She's appeared here on Jamaican television, playing the character Claudine Chambers in 'The Blackburns of Royal Palm Estate'. I remember being proud of her as the local actress who copped a role playing a doctor on the super CBS TV drama 'Criminal Minds'. She was also officially appointed as Jamaica's Goodwill Ambassador by the National Association of Jamaicans and Supportive Organisation. Something tells me that if she could just find her, the real Shauna woulda put a 'cease and desist' order on the imposter long time. Yeah a me say dat. And mi name wah mi name!

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