Dear Gossips,

Tomorrow is Books & Gossip night! Duana and I will be at the new Indigo at Sherway Gardens. It’s a book night. It’s a gossip night. It’s a name night. Names like…Taylor, Becky, Beyoncé, and Brock. We’ll be talking some sh-t. Hope you come? Click here for event details.

Names are a hot topic right now on our site. Sasha and I get into a name situation on the new Sasha Answers podcast. For some of you, the name of the Taylor Swift + Tom Hiddleston is still up for debate. (I’m staying with Swoki, sorry.) Calvin Harassment has four of them. And I just read a beautiful piece about Muhammad Ali’s name and how he fought for it by Precious Rasheeda Muhammad. I was particularly moved by this passage about how even the preservation of names reflected class and hierarchy:

“I have often marveled at how well preserved the histories are of many slave owning families that remain researchable by name in archives at the city, county, state and national level; and I have felt great pain at how poorly preserved the names of the enslaved were—especially when searching for my own ancestors—which frequently boiled down to what was most convenient for the slave owner, effectively permanently separating the progeny of those in bondage from their ancestral history.”

Family tree day was often the worst day for me in elementary school. It’s hard enough as a visible minority telling your peers the names of your relatives (“Your uncle’s name is Poon Pong Ping?” “Your dad’s name is Lui Fuk Lit?” Hahahahaahahahaah!) but what if many of your relatives didn’t read and write? What if your family history wasn’t recorded because everyone was poor and illiterate? How do you participate? 

As Duana has written in her book, her entire book, and as Precious writes in The Rumpus, names really are everything.

Yours in gossip,