Westworld star Thandiwe Newton reclaims her birth name

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Thandiwe Newton. (Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO)
Thandiwe Newton. (Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO)
  • Actor Thandiwe Newton will be using her birth name going forward.
  • This comes after the "W" was "carelessly missing" from her first film credit.
  • She also revealed in an interview with Vogue that a South African journalist in 1998 asked her to "sign a magazine in African".

In an interview with British Vogue, Thandie Newton announced that she will be using her birth name,  Thandiwe (meaning beloved), in her professional career going forward.

Melanie Thandiwe Newton Parker, 48, was born in Westminster, London to a Zimbabwean mother and English father.

Her mother, Nyasha, is of royal lineage and the granddaughter of a Shona chief.

"That’s my name. It’s always been my name. I’m taking back what’s mine," the Westworld star told the publication's Diana Evans.

She added: "The thing I’m most grateful for in our business right now is being in the company of others who truly see me. And to not be complicit in the objectification of Black people as 'others', which is what happens when you’re the only one."

All her future films will be credited with Thandiwe Newton, after "the W was carelessly missed out from her first credit" in the film Flirting released in 1991.

'I'm taking it back'

Following the publication of the interview, Thandiwe tweeted: "The director of my first film asked to use my actual name for the character - because it was authentic and beautiful. I felt flattered and agreed. And then in the credits they used my ‘nickname’ to differentiate from the character name. They stole my name. And I’m taking it back."

She later also shared a correction: "Sincerest apologies from me, for error in @BritishVogue. My name ‘Thandiwe’ is Zulu, my Mother’s tribe is Shona. That’s what happens when you’re separated from your identity for so long, that you forget who you are #ZimbabweanLivesMatter. [sic]"

In the interview the actor also reveals that during the release of her 1998 film Beloved she "was asked by a South African Hollywood Foreign Press Association journalist, 'Will you sign my magazine in African?', and this made her rebuff the organisation for years."

Vogue reports that alongside her TV and film commitments, Thandiwe "advocates for the African American Policy Forum and the #sayhername campaign founded by her friend Kimberlé Crenshaw, who coined the term 'intersectionality'.

"She is also a board member of Eve Ensler’s V-Day, through which she has supported women survivors of sexual violence in Congo with the City of Joy project, and helped establish One Billion Rising which campaigns to end violence against women, spurred by the UN statistic that one in three women will be abused in her lifetime.

"Activism now far outweighs acting in order of importance – it meant a lot to Newton that the OBE she was awarded in 2018 was for services to charity as well as to film."

(Source: British Vogue)

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