What’s in a name?

For those who are not familiar with Yewande Biala – she starred in Love Island 2019. Yewande didn’t win Love Island unfortunately but won the hearts of the nation.

Yewande minds her business, doesn’t get involved with drama, shares her looks on the ‘gram, and generally secures the influencer bag. 

So when she tweeted on the 18th of January “You refused to call me by my name because it was “too hard to pronounce” now you wanna say I bullied you!”

It was a bit of a shock as it was out of character for her.

It turned out a former contestant accused Yewande of bullying.

This was a red flag because whenever a white person accuses a Black woman of bullying in school, the workplace, or in the public eye it can have dangerous consequences.*


*Misha B was tipped to win X Factor in 2011 and was accused live on air by X Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos that she was bullying the other contestants.

A claim which was false and left Misha contemplating ending her own life, she’s been receiving therapy treatment ever since.

When Yewande shared that tweet, not only did she receive an outpouring of support from the general public, people also began to share their stories about having their names mispronounced.

Dr. Srinivasan

In an interview with Dr. Srinivasan in Psychology Today, they shared that “Names are prominent identifiers that can often tell the story of one’s ethnicity, cultural background, and familial lineage. 

There is a tendency for whiteness, in general, to be perceived as normative, whereas racial minorities with names of religious and ethnic origins may be seen as an inconvenience.

Dr. Srinivasan

This can result in experiences of discrimination and ostracism. Individuals with racially and ethnically distinct names often experience a mix of pride and discomfort in association with the use of their names.”

I cannot tell you the sheer anxiety that I used to feel on the first day of a new term or when a substitute teacher would be covering class at school.

A lot of my second-generation immigrant friends have English alternative names, and I asked my parents why we were not given them.

They told us it’s because no matter where we are in the world, people will know where we are from.


LinkedIn has rolled out a feature for you to record the correct pronunciation of your name, which is handy for recruiters and job seekers alike. 

Before we rely on technology though, we can still ask those how their names are correctly pronounced. It shows courtesy, respect, and humility.

Yewande followed up and wrote an article with The Independent which you can read here.

It’s so important to share and amplify our stories, as we use this to educate others and help younger generations.

So, what’s in a name? A lot.

#name #saytheirnames #adeptales #stayadept #yewande #loveisland #microaggression #racism #culturalbackground #uzoaduba #keyandpeele #balake #jcwillen

Leave a Reply

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