Thandiwe Newton Reclaims Her African Name
The actress formerly known as Thandie Newton is reclaiming her African name. All her future credits will be for Thandiwe Newton.
“That’s my name. It’s always been my name,” she told British Vogue. “I’m taking back what’s mine.”
Newton’s parents named her Thandiwe at birth, which means ‘beloved’ in the Zimbabwean language, Shona. Newton’s mother is from Zimbabwe.
Newton said she dropped the ‘w’ from her name in grade school in an effort to feel less out of place and face less discrimination as a young black girl in a Cornwall Catholic school.
When she started in show business, Newton said the ‘w’ was mistakenly left out of her first film credit, which according to IMDB is the 1991 movie Flirting. The ‘w’ was missing from all her subsequent credits as well.
Newton, who will be on the cover of British Vogue’s May issue, said she has faced racism throughout her life, including extracurricular dance classes as a child. She said it has also played a role in her acting career.
“Got the role. Colorism has just been the funniest,” she said. “I’ve been too black, not black enough. I’m always black. I’m just like, whadda you people want!”
She said she has lost roles for refusing to play racial and sexual stereotypes. When she won a BAFTA, a British newspaper said she wasn’t really British because she was black.
“I remember thinking, ‘But it’s a British win! Why don’t you wanna take that,” she said.