Thandiwe Netwon Reclaims Spelling of Her Name

“I am given, and I am taken.

I was there for your first breath,

You did not ask for me,

But I will follow you till your death.”

Our names are a vital part of our personal identities.

Whether it be our names given to us at birth or a nickname we prefer, we take pride in our names because every time it is spoken, it gives us power.

The name that is about to be mentioned may seem foreign to most, and there is a reason for that.

Thandiwe Newton, known for her roles in Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls and HBO’s Westworld, is reclaiming what is hers.

Newton, 48, is letting the world know who she really is.

In her first role, the actress was credited as “Thandie”, and that name stuck in every role thereafter.

The correct spelling of her name is Thandiwe, which translates to “beloved” in Shona, a Bantu language of the Shona people of Zimbabwe.

“That’s my name,” she said in a 2021 British Vogue interview. “It’s always been my name. I’m taking back what’s mine.”

During her interview, Newton also opened about backlash she received in 2016 after revealing that she was a victim of sexual misconduct, a year before the #MeToo movement in Hollywood began.

She recalled when she fired her publicist who urged her to stop speaking out about the abuse, saying that it was “not good for your reputation.”

Newton explained about a time when she was 16, a director filmed up her skirt during an audition and unbeknownst to her, was showing the footage to friends at poker games.

“He derailed me from myself utterly,” she said in British Vogue. “I was traumatized. It was kind of PTSD for sure.”

After that incident and throughout her journey within the industry, she has found her own voice and is no longer afraid of being loud. She continues to empower herself and the women around her and who look up to her.

“The thing I’m most grateful for in our business right now is being in the company of others who truly see me.”

It is an honor to meet you again, Thandiwe, and we indeed see you.

Featured image photo credit: Getty Images