The Mix

The Power of Your Name: Uzo Aduba


From The Imposter Bostonian- When I started as an actor? No, and I’ll tell you why. I had already gone through that. My family is from Nigeria, and my full name is Uzoamaka, which means “The road is good.” Quick lesson: My tribe is Igbo, and you name your kid something that tells your history and hopefully predicts your future. So anyway, in grade school, because my last name started with an A, I was the first in roll call, and nobody ever knew how to pronounce it. So I went home and asked my mother if I could be called Zoe. I remember she was cooking, and in her Nigerian accent she said, “Why?” I said, “Nobody can pronounce it.” Without missing a beat, she said, “If they can learn to say Tchaikovsky and Michelangelo and Dostoyevsky, they can learn to say Uzoamaka.



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Video Transcript:

My family named me as our maka that’s my

full name

it means the road is good and that a

beautiful name

thanks mom I got it for my birthday Azam

maka but I grew up in a small New

England town and there weren’t a lot of

Nigerian Americans living in my region

and I would have teachers or anyone

neighbors try and say my name and it

would be Oz we make Jamica who’s o Cuza

any version that they could think of

other than azar maka so I came home from

school one day and my mom was cooking in

the kitchen as she is want to do the

mother of five children and I said to

her mommy can I ask you a question she

said yeah I said can you call me Zoe and

she stopped and gave that mother looked

at only mothers know and have and said

why and I said because no one can say

Azam akka and she looked at me and she

said if they can learn to say

Tchaikovsky and Michelangelo and

Dostoevsky then they can want to say

azar maka

and I never asked her again and what is

amazing now standing in my womanhood in

my power is I wouldn’t change my name

for a second I’m so proud of that name

and what’s comes behind it

and what it represents so do not ever

erase those identifiers that are held in

you whether it’s your gap whether it’s

your name

whether it’s your food it is yours and

it was given to you at birth and it is

yours to own