Why actor Thandiwe Newton is reclaiming the original spelling of her name

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  • 'I'm taking back what's mine.'

    Thandiwe Newton, who for the past 30 years of her acting career has been known professionally as Thandie, has announced she will reclaim the original Shona spelling of her name, saying, “I’m taking back what’s mine.”

    The British actor, who was born Melanie Thandiwe Newton Parker, has been credited by an anglicised version of her name since the ‘w’ was dropped “carelessly” from an early acting role. Thandiwe means “beloved” in Shona – one of the main languages of her mother’s native Zimbabwe.

    Speaking to Diana Evans for British Vogue, the actor said that she will go by the correct spelling of her name for all future projects. “That’s my name,” she said. “It’s always been my name. I’m taking back what’s mine.”

    The Hollywood actor, known for her roles in WestworldCrash, and Mission Impossible II – as well as a guest role in the current season of police corruption drama Line of Duty – also spoke about being a black woman in film, and what has and hasn’t changed in Hollywood over the course of her 3o year career.

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

    The Emmy award-winning actor, who was born in London to a white British father, Nick, and a Zimbabwean mother, Nyasha, was among high-profile figures to speak out about the government’s report on race disparity last week, which denied institutional racism in the UK.

    The actor tweeted in response to the report: ‘For a START this report should be made by individuals who actually recognise that systemic racism exists. A few of us can organise that in a HEARTBEAT.’

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