Documenting the journey of a Cameroonian filmmaker

What’s in a name?

I will start by apologising to those who complain about the lengths of my posts… I can’t seem to create the shortcut to enable further reading when you click on the “read more” tag. Hopefully I will figure that out soon. So please bear with me. Thank you.

I have often wondered about what power, if any, a name has on an individual. In our native Cameroon, having a child named after you is often seen as the highest form of respect or tribute you can get. And it is not uncommon to hear that a child grows up to inherit his namesake’s personality or strong character traits. Recently I came across an article which listed the real names of some Hollywood celebrities and it got me thinking… is there power in a name? I remember as a teenager I always wanted to be called ‘Valencia’, I even told a few strangers that my name was Valencia… oh how I hated the name Goretti. I wonder if my fortune would have been different had I changed my name to Valencia. Oh well! Below is a list of stars and their real names, do you think their fortunes changed as a result of their name change? You tell me…

Alicia Keys (can you believe she considered calling herself Alicia Wilds… before settling on Keys?)
Real Name: Alicia Augello-Cook
Profession: Singer-Songwriter, Actress

Stage Name: Madonna
Real Name: Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone
Profession: Music Icon

Stage Name: Chaka Khan
Real Name:  Yvette Marie Stevens
Profession: R&B Diva

Stage Name: Jay-Z
Real Name: Shawn Corey Carter
Profession: Rap Music Icon, Entrepreneur

Stage Name: Ice-T
Real Name: Tracy Morrow
Profession: Rapper, Actor

Stage Name: Whoopi Goldberg
Real Name: Caryn Elaine Johnson
Profession: Actress, Comedienne

Stage Name: Marilyn Monroe
Real Name: Norma Jean Mortensen
Profession: Actress, Singer and Model

Stage Name: Lil Wayne
Real Name: Dwayne Michael Carter Jr.
Profession: Rap Music Icon

Stevie Wonder
Real Name: Stevland Hardaway Judkins
Profession:  Music Genius

Larry King
Real Name: Lawrence Harvey Zeiger
Profession: Media Personality

Charlie Sheen
Real Name: Carlos Irwin Estevez
Profession: Actor

Demi Moore
Real Name: Demetria Gene Guynes
Profession: Actress

Stage Name: Jamie Foxx
Real Name: Eric Marlon Bishop
Profession: Actor, Singer

Lady GaGa
Real Name:  Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta
Profession:   Singer-Songwriter



4 comments on “What’s in a name?

  1. Bernice Lakota
    November 19, 2010

    Good one Anu, I personally have a fondness for your name, Maria-Gorreti, I think it is just beautiful, Valencia, hmmm I don’t see that on you.

    I have often wondered how these celebrities come up with their non-names LOL

    When I was a little girl, I used to say my stage name would be Bernice Brosby, interesting huh? but now I love my names just as they are…

    I definitely think a catchy name in Show business is relevant:-)

  2. T! Ntemgwa
    November 19, 2010

    Dear Valencia,
    In the list above you forgot the following:
    Stage name: T!
    Real name initials: PNT
    profession: diplomat with a special interest in spiritual literature, the art of happiness and sharing the knowledge of happiness with others…

    Ok, jokes aside, U see, I have always wanted to know the meaning of my middle name, Tendongmo, it’s just not coming forth so I have accepted it as T! I have asked in vain from grandmas in the village. I really love some of our African names, like Anu (truth?) Unfortunately there is no dictionary with the names and their meanings. Sad to say we just have to be naming our kids with these “country names” whose meaning we may never know, just reminders of our parents and family trees

  3. T! Ntemgwa
    November 19, 2010

    Oh by the way, that is a good researched article!

  4. Valerie Abunaw
    November 19, 2010

    Hello Mrs, your name is beautiful and not very common which is why i like it. Your parents must have had a special reason for giving you that name. Maybe you should ask mummy. Valencia, hmm nice name, maybe i should add that to the collections of names i would like to give my lil girl. Thanks for sharing. Great work. keep it up.

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This entry was posted on November 19, 2010 by in fashion, hollywood, Movies, music and tagged .
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