An open letter to every person who has ever said my name wrong.

Dear Professor/Potential employer/Classmate/Stranger,

A-shan-tia. Not Ashanti. Not Annastasia. Not “A… um Ms. Collins.”


ALL MY LIFE I’ve lived behind nicknames and silent nods with awkward smiles masking the humiliation of another teacher who butchered my name without compassion. I’ve laughed through the “Why is it so long?” and the “Can I call you something else?” for WAY. TOO. LONG.

You will learn my name. I don’t care how uncomfortable it makes you. My name is me. It is my identity, my heritage, and my legacy.

Telling me my name is “too hard” is not only disrespectful but it hurts our interaction before it even begins. How am I supposed to take you seriously if you can’t even bother to learn my name?

No more laughing and nodding you WILL learn my name and you WILL respect it.

If you can say, Rubinstein, you can say Ashantia.


The Black girl with the bomb-ass name.


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