Osamudiamen is my birth name. It’s Edo (Nigeria) and it means GOD STANDS FIRM FOR ME.
I was born and raised-ish in Brooklyn, Crown Heights to be specific.
I moved to Maryland right at the tail end of elementary school.
I fucking loved Brooklyn as a kid. All I saw was people that looked like me, everything was accessible, the corner stores had my favorite snacks and it was right outside my stoop. As a kid, this felt like home. It wasn’t until I moved to Maryland that everything fucking changed.
My family moved from Brooklyn to Columbia, Maryland back in ‘01/‘02. City to the Burbs. BIRD SHIT, MOM.
0/10 would not recommend.
I lie to you not, when we moved, it was the first time I’d ever seen an actual white person in real life, and bitch, I was terrified. Seeing allem white people at the culdesac made me itch. Dis was me:
Aside from being so alarmed from seeing such pink and pale folk, we were the only Black family in the neighborhood so that caused even more discomfort than I was ever used to as a 9 year old. All I could do was try and make friends with the yt folk. I tried and tried and tried until I realized these white folks were afraid to have their damn kids play with my Black ass LMAO. Can you imagine.
White people are so damn ghetto.
It wasn’t until I started school in Maryland where I was made to feel extremely uncomfortable about my name. Brooklyn was a melting pot, so I was able to find myself somewhere, even though Africans were still dubbed “African Booty Scratchers” during this time. All of my teachers were also Black, so they had a bit more grace when it came to challenging names.
My teachers now were all Cawcajun and more than half of my classmates were as well. It was hard enough for my young Black cohorts in Brooklyn to learn my name, so moving and having to go through this process again, but now with the whites, was hell. I never understood how these teachers could pronounce Vladimir Shcherbachov but Osamudiamen is the biggest fucking tongue twister niggas have ever seen or heard.
Suck my dick, Sally.
When my teachers would call roll, there was always an annoying ass pause right before my name. If you’re African or have an uncommon name, you KNOW exactly what i’m talking about.
*Deep breathy pause* “I know I’m going to butcher this but-”
NAH BITCH, actually try to say that shit, or just square up. I’m tired.
When this would happen, this would be me in my head:
But this would be me in real life:
Everybody just happened to turn into Richard Pryor when my name was called. Pussies. I’m 26 now and can fight. Play with me if you want to.
I was always so embarrassed by my name. I actually used to tell people I didn’t have a middle name when I was a kid because I thought it made me appear even MORE African, Can you imagine? ‘EMPRESS’. A dumbass I was.
I wouldn’t even THINK about trying to find my name at souvenir shops, or even a fucking “O”. Like damn, no love for Olivia’s either?? OK…BET.
It was all bad.
In 6th grade, I had a technology education class. (Mr. Spinola, you will always be a bitch ass nigga in my book.) He’s calling roll and he stops right before my name. Because of the pause, I knew I was coming up next so I quickly threw my hand up trying to avoid all fuckery. Instead of just marking me as “PRESENT” man’s calls out “Osama Bin Laden”.
I could not believe it. This was just 3 years after the 9/11. Have you no couth? The whole class laughed and I just cried. NIGGAS. GOT. THEIR. JOKES. OFF. And I was SAD. I will never understand the wrath and fury of white men, but that’s a story for a different day. And if I see your old ass in the streets Mr. S, it’s on SIGHT.
As I learned to better love myself, I began to love and truly appreciate my name. I became hellbent on loving every part of myself, even the shit that caused me trauma…or shit I was afraid of. When my last relationship ended and I decided to get back on the gram, I went through a number of social media handles and personas until a bitch was burnt out. I swear, it wasn’t until I changed my IG handle to my first name osamu.diamen, when everything began to make sense. It wasn’t until then where I realized the true power of my name, the intention my parents placed when naming me, and the legacy it holds.
I’ve introduced myself as “Osa” for the majority of my life because it’s simple and easy to say and spell, but recently, I’ve been introducing myself as Osamudiamen and FORCING (yes, forcing) people to learn to pronounce it. I’m blessed to have such power in my name, and you are too.
Take a look at your name. Say it out loud. Feel it.
It’s everything to work hard for so the world can put respect on us. Our success isn’t just for us. It’s for everyone who came before us. It’s for all of our people. Our continent. Our country. Everyone who looks like us.
Our families and our entire legacy.
Let’s stand in this shit because it’s all we got.