After reading this excellent post by blogger Alan King about the pros and cons of using your real name when blogging, I started to think about how the name game has impacted my own work as a writer and a performance artist.
Let’s be clear. Being named Khadijah Ali-Coleman has been no easy sled ride. If people aren’t mispronouncing my first name within the first few minutes of meeting me, then they are trying to saw down my last name to just “Coleman”, not understanding the point of the hyphen and understanding that Ali is part of my last name, and not, in fact, my middle name. Couple that with the stigma that an unconventional name holds in some circles, you can understand why it’s often easier for me to introduce myself as “Moon” which is the name I somehow acquired when I was part of a band years ago and developed a stage persona that reflected how I viewed myself while also being pretty easy to pronounce.
But, over the years, I’ve become different incarnations of both my given name and my stage name. I’ve been introduced as Khadijah Moon, K. Moon, Zakia Moon (Zakia is my middle name), with some people even referring to me as Liberated Muse which is the name of my company brand. I’m not sure what all of the variations are about. Sometimes I may abbreviate for simplicity’s sake (which I prefer over having my first name mispronounced) but often, people create the variations themselves, connecting me with the name that they think of when they think of me. I admit, I get tickled most when I’m called Liberated Muse.
All in all, your artist stage name or author pen name is part of your brand and typically the first impression and sometimes the last image a potential member of your audience has of your product. Is your name representing you well?
Share your own story.