What’s in a name: 10 successful people with unusual names

I grew up in a family of three siblings and strongly disliked my name. It was obviously non-traditional than most, and I thought it was stranger than the much simpler names chosen for my brother and sister. Later, I learned that my dad wanted to give me a unique name. But, little did he realize or he failed to remember that I had an older cousin whose name rhymed with mine. Her name is Lenika. Hint Hint: Can you guess my name? I vowed that I would never give my child a name that was unfamiliar and non-traditional.

However, during a conversation with my co-worker, I had a slight change of heart. We had a discussion about birth names, and their seemingly magical powers. Think about it. Some of the most successful and talented people in the world have odd names. I compiled a list of top names in music, sports and business. I think there’s some validity in the claim that your birth name can have power. #ibedamned

Madonna: a musical icon, American singer, songwriter, actress, and businesswoman. Often referred to as the “Queen of Pop,  she achieved gross popularity by pushing the boundaries of lyrical content in her songs and music videos.
Beyonce: She rose to fame in the late 1990s as lead singer of the all-girl group, Destiny’s Child.  The group became one of the world’s best-selling girl groups of all time with over 60 million records sold. Throughout her career, she has sold over 100 million records as a solo artist making her one of the top selling music artists of all time.

And her sister,

Solange Knowles
Solange: Solange started in the music industry with several temporary stints with Destiny’s Child, before going solo. She released her first album at age 16 in 2002. Her latest album won a Grammy for Best R&B Performancec and in December 2016, she was ranked as the 100th most successful dance artist of all time.
Wolfgang Puck
Wolfgang Puck: Celebrity chef and restaurateur. He owns restaurants, catering services, cookbooks and a cooking product line.
LeBron James
LeBron James: Professional NBA player for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He’s also the all-time leading scorer for the Cavaliers. LeBron has won three NBA championships, four MVP awards and two Olympic gold medals.
Ima Hogg
Ima Hogg: She was known as “The First Lady of Texas”, an American philanthropist, patron and collector of the arts, and renowned in Texas during the 20th century. She successfully ran for a seat on the Houston School Board in 1943, where she worked to remove gender and race as criteria for determining pay and established art education programs for black students.
Omarosa Manigault
Omarosa:  She is the Director of Communications for the Office of Public Liaison on President Trump’s administration. Omarosa gained fame as a contestant on the Trump’s first season of The Apprentice. She later returned for the series sequel, Celebrity Apprentice.
Vivica A. Fox
Vivica: Actress, producer and television host. She began her career with roles on the daytime television soap operas, Days of Our Lives and Generations. She later moved to prime time starring opposite of Pattie LaBelle in Out All Night. She went to the big screen in two box office hits, Independence Day and Set It Off.
Learned Hand
Judge Learned Hand: A judge and judicial philosopher. Hand served on the US District Court for the Southern District of New York and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He has been reportedly quoted more often by legal scholars and by the US Supreme Court than any other lower court judge.
Peerless Price
Peerless Price: A former NFL wide receiver who was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the second round of the draft in 1999. Price also played for the Atlanta Falcons and Dallas Cowboys.

Share your birth name and its meaning. My name is Danika - it means "morning star" in Denmark. The pronunciation is different but I'll take every bit of its magical
powers, all the same
. 🙂

Like this #ibedamned blog? Please leave a comment showing love or sharing your thoughts on the topic. And, don’t forget to subscribe and share the page with your friends.

Dear 80s baby: a letter to my younger self

Born on the heels of the Baby Boomers, the 80s baby was introduced to society around the time of the drug boom, during the birth of the neon fashion craze and big, wild hair. We were the rockers, the hip hoppers, the techies. Oh, how I wish I had a crystal ball, a genie in a bottle or superpowers so that I could freeze time or take a walkabout into the future. If I could talk to my younger self, I’d give the greatest pep talk of the 20th century.

Dear 80s baby,

Enjoy life…period. Make more memories during elementary school recess, snap up more polaroids with the family and knock on just one more neighbor’s door, run like hell so you can laugh about it later. 80s baby, you may not understand it now but relish in the creature comforts of blissful youth because what’s in store for you later will make you cringe at humankind.

You think curfews are bad now? Just wait until the two-thousand-teens when you’re afraid to venture outdoors.

Imagine police in riot gear in your neighborhood on a Sunday afternoon, reckless and rebellious youth, mother nature wreaking havoc on far reaches of the globe, gunmen shooting down innocent bystanders, our country’s wayward justice system, historic and unprecedented elections and men dying helplessly in the street while their suspects go free. I’m merely touching the surface. This is your life, 80s baby.

Mama will never tell you that there would be days like this. She will; however, tell you that history repeats itself but you are the captain of your destiny. YOU are at the helm of your life.

You’ll experience tragedies – lose family and friends and become overwhelmed by personal struggles. But, you’ll also observe many triumphs. It may be that you have to work twice as hard or that you may be passed up for some advancements, but not to count you out, in the end, you will make it and celebrate in your victories.

You’ll be in the class of firsts, you’ll witness history in technology, social media will be the bridge to reuniting families and friends and developments in medicines will allow many patients to live longer.

80s baby, we still have a long way to go; you were born to be resilient. Your grandparents fought the race, your parents carried the baton and now it’s up to you to finish it. You’re just getting started. You see, there are decades to follow, and you’ll have lots of time to put your stamp on it. And, by the time you peer into the 20-teens, you’ll know that 30 years earlier, wasn’t just a walk in the park, it was training day. #ibedamned.


Your future self

Like this #ibedamned blog? Please leave a comment showing love or sharing your thoughts on the topic. And, don’t forget to subscribe.

Free as a Butterfly

“Go fly a kite.”

Those very words took on a literal meaning one Independence holiday.  And, a glorious holiday it was for my sister and me. We were like little girls again; excited and giddy as our kite took off towards the clouds, flying freely as it fluttered about the skyline. It was merely a coincidence that the kite I had purchased was a Monarch butterfly.

Although, it’s the most familiar of the species, it captivated our attention as if we’d laid eyes on it for the first time.

My family and I stumbled across an open lot once home to white, majestic Antebellum mansions; destroyed by Katrina’s wrath. The hurricane had leveled a lot of the structures along Beach Boulevard clearing the space like Mother Nature’s wrecking ball. The area was now full of high grass and burweed, sticker plants that had occasionally stuck to my sandals as I fumbled my way through the tall grass. The sound of the Gulf was in our ears in the distance while trucks and cars bustled in the vicinity searching for the perfect spot to view the Fourth of July fireworks display. But, for us, the sky was already illuminated…with our Monarch butterfly. It’s shell made merely of soft and hard plastic. Yet, it captured our eyes for an extended period of time. They were fixed for one full hour before the sun decided to take its rest.

Getting it in the air was a task. The first few attempts almost deflated our hopes as the wind whipped the flimsy packaging from our hands and it nose-dived every time. But, with each try, we became more and more determined to see our beautiful creation soar. And, it did. Passersby gazed and a child yelled to her mother, “Mommy, look. A butterfly!” almost in unison just as my sister and I exclaimed to our mother, “Mom, come see!”

Kiting wasn’t just for the young, but also the young at heart and we had proven it. As a fellow blogger and friend pointed out, “being a kid is in the spirit. Let your kid side fly free.”


Like this #ibedamned blog? Please leave a comment showing love or sharing your thoughts on the topic. And, don’t forget to share the page with your friends.

ROY G BIV: The Color Spectrum

Skin Color Fifth grade. Lunch bell rings and children spill into the hallway, herded like cattle, speed walking towards the cafeteria. I’m accompanied by a friend, and we join the hordes of students singly filed; one by one, eager to grab today’s hot plate. We are giggly, loud, and hungry. We’re interrupted by a lady. Unknown. Occupation: Lunch line lady AKA parent volunteer.

“Do you know that if you place a brown paper bag next to your skin there would be no difference?”

A pause followed by, “Ooookay,” and a look of bewilderment as we continued our procession closer to our lunch plates -which I no longer had an appetite to consume. I am ashamed, embarrassed and downright confused. My brunette, blue-eyed classmate turned to me and said, “I’m not sure, but I think she was trying to be racist.” I was aware of the definition of racism, but it had never happened to me. Sometimes, my parents spoke of it in conversation. I’d overheard examples of racism as it occurred on their jobs, in their hometown, in the grocery store, anywhere and everywhere else adults gathered. But, to me? A 10-year-old whose friends were absolutely perfect because…they were my friends. Period. We were clueless to race. But, was it really racism? According to my mom, the lady was obviously crazy and misinformed. Her remarks were inappropriate, but it wasn’t racism. In fact, I was subjected to the infamous Brown Paper Bag Test, without the brown paper bag, of course. Urban Dictionary defines the Brown Paper Bag Test as follows: During the 1900s, if your skin was darker than a brown paper bag, one would be excluded from the upper echelon of Black American Society. The lighter the complexion, the more accepted you were.

Paper bag test
The brown paper bag test…

Mind you, I was born in the 1980s. I guess it’s easy to assume that I had failed the test, because, according to that loony toon, I was somewhat of a chameleon as I was the quintessential blend of Brown Paper Bag. But, I was more confused than ever. Why were Black people frowned upon by other Black people? Why did she target me? What’s wrong with me? Am I a bad person? Am I not accepted? I was the victim of ignorance and stupidity, albeit the mere definition of racism. However, it’s called colorism; prejudice against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group. It took a while to find my self esteem after that. Mind you, I was only 10 years old. I found myself over-analyzing my friendships, my image; my look. I mulled over the most insignificant thing ever created by a human being to establish superiority over another human being. It was a testing system based on discrimination. Before that, my worst fear, in life, was failing Mrs. Johnson’s pop-up math quiz. It was then that I realized, in a matter of just :10, my outlook on people changed forever. #ibedamned Like this #ibedamned blog? Please leave a comment showing love or sharing your thoughts on the topic. And, don’t forget to share the page with your friends.