Also, I read a review of Bessie, where Queen Latifah apparently gives a really good performance, and one commenter asked when Latifah will stop being “Queen Latifah” and go back to her “real” (original) name — I guess because she’s a movie star now rather than a rapper (hey, that’s how old I am, I remember when she was a rapper).
Would you have asked that question of Cary Grant, or Tony Curtis, or Lauren Bacall (Archie Leach, Bernard Schwartz, and Betty Joan Perske, respectively)? Do you think Natalie Portman will someday switch back to using “Hershlag” rather than “Portman”? Rather a weird idea, actually. This is Hollywood, after all — one of the places where rappers learned how you reinvent yourself.
Speaking of reinvention, whenever I get into conversations about how I name my characters, I’m always aware that I’m the only one whose characters have mostly named themselves — which is always something to think about when choosing the names.
If we all got to choose our own names, the names we chose would say a lot about us.
And they (my characters) have adopted new names — the ones who have — for all different reasons. Some of those reasons we know, and some we don’t. Some of them I don’t know, which is fine with me.
Another reason I’ve been thinking about names is that I can’t think of one for my most recent story. I’m all ready to start a new one (for which I do have a name), but I want to close out the last one, and give it the big plug that I think it deserves, but it needs a name.
So, in the absence of any better ideas, I’m going to name it after the protagonist. It is his story, after all. So, as soon as I set up a few things and order some decorations and refreshments, it will be time for “Michael.” A name which he picked for himself, as it happens.
And then, “A Princess in U-town.”
The odd thing about royalty, at least in England (and wherever Latifah reigns), is that royalty don’t really have last names. They adopt them when necessary — I guess for getting a driver’s license and so on — but that’s just a formality. For most of the twentieth century the British royal family used “Windsor,” which is a made up name anyway, and now they’re sometimes combining it with “Mountbatten,” but that’s only slightly more real.
That fact may well factor into my new story, since the “princess” of the title is real royalty.