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GAL FRIDAY: Whats really in a name?


Veoma Ali

GAL FRIDAY: Whats really in a name?

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YOU KNOW YOU arrive when people can immediately identify you only by name. Think of it: Madonna, Rihanna, Obama, Beyoncé. I could go on, but you get my drift.

The Drifters did a number called Sitting On The Dock of the Bay; and that’s what I was doing while contemplating this one-name reference thing. Then I started to feel a lil’ jealous.

I mean; I always have to introduce myself as “Veoma Ali” as I can’t say, “Veoma” or “Ali” in isolation. And to make things worse, when I do introduce myself with both names, many people ask if I’m any relation to “the great” Ali. Don’t mind that his given name at birth was Cassius Clay; Muhammad Ali is so popular that even his changed name rings bells.

Think about it: if I say the name “Anthony Fitzpatrick Lynch” to you, what does that mean?

I bet you don’t know, right?!? That is the indomitable Ninja Man. People refer to “Ninja” and you already know who they’re talking about. You don’t even have to use the “Man” part.

One time, I even saw a Facebook page, dedicated to him and him alone.

So, how do you get to the one-name status? I’m contemplating a few things, but walking around in Bridgetown in a bikini bottom and a traffic cone on my head just isn’t my thing: I’d leave that to the Ninja.

You see the singing thing? I feel that is the way to go. I mean, with technology the way it is today, I feel I could drop a number by Monstapiece Studios and let Peter Coppin and the fellas mix me up.

But down to some serious business.

All Barbadian

PM Stuart mentioned that it is not our ethnic origin, but the fundamental fact that “we are all Barbadian; that in itself should unite us”. I love that approach. But we have far to go. In line, paying a bill, I could hear someone say: “White people love to fuss, though.”

A friend of a friend says: “We black people love to cry down one another, but we get vex when other people do it for us.”

Black and white. (You remember that scotch whisky, by the way? Some call it double-dog, with the black and white terriers as its logo. Was too cute; and from what the men tell me, tastes good too.)

Ebony And Ivory by Stevie and Paul. (Note that I only called their first names, but you know of whom I speak.) MJ sang, “It don’t matter if you’re black or white . . . tee hee!” But it seems that the more we try to come together, the more things seem to fall apart.

(By the way, if you get a chance, read Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe; it is a great tale about the tragedy of cultural ambiguity).

Before I go, check out the Super Bowl half-time performance. Beyoncé, Coldplay and Bruno. A beautiful melange of pride, kaleidoscopic colours and exuberance; the MIX was magnificent. You get me?

Veoma Ali is an author, broadcaster, advertising exec and, most important, a karaoke lover.

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