Tired Of People Mispronouncing Your Name? A Poetry Champion Named Sha'Condria Is Too.

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Sha'Condria "iCon" Sibley had a big name stamped on her birth certificate. After having a few years to understand the implications, she wrote this poem. It's good.

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Sha'Condria: Whenever someone asks me the meaning of my name I usually never have an answer. I remember looking for it once in a shopping mall kiosk where the meanings of names are engraved into keepsakes. Thinking all the while, the chances of me finding mine would be like the odds of winning the sweepstakes.
Tired of people mispronouncing it I shortened it to Con but they still got it wrong. Yet confusing me with that lady that once sang that song: Tell me something good. And tell them something I feel I should. So I correct them. It's pronounced Shuh-kon-dree-uh.
No silent letters, no accents, preferably pronounced with the drawl of a southern accent. I remember there once was a day when i wish my mother would have stuck to something simple, and pretty, and majestic like Tiffany or maybe even Alexis. But my fate was sealed by signatures on my birth certificate granting me the right to forever bear the shame of having been given a ghetto-ass name. So this here poem is for all the little black girls with big names. For the shaws and ishas, the annas and iquas, who were told never to write their names on applications. Because we live in a nation where ya name can tell someone your race or even your social status. Because they think that only dumb ghetto folk overuse the alphabet. They chalk it up to illiteracy, never creativity, or maybe even history. And I wonder those who assume would ever stop to think that maybe transatlantic submerged native tongues have re-emerged in the form of ghetto monikers. Like my little cousin whose name is Tanisha who sounds a lot like Tanoshay from the Shona tribe meaning god is with us. Or my friend Lakisha whose name sounds a lot like the Bantu name Wakeesa.
Or maybe like me, my mother knew that I would be a fighter, so she named me Shakondrea, which sounds a lot like Shaka the great Zulu warrior. See this here poem is for every daughter who ever became a professional only to shorten her name to a letter and a period, just so phone calls could be returned or higher pay earned because we all know, don't nobody want an isha or an iqua to operate on them. But you see a book can't be judged by its cover nor its title. And the story beneath your name can't be contained beneath the tide. So sisters let them rise and take the rightful places on your applications and business cards, desk placards and uniforms. Until one day ghetto-ass names become the norm. But for right now we are special you see. And there ain't another girl in the world with a name like you or me. So go forth and rep proudly for all the ghetto-named girls. And if someone happens to mispronounce your name make sure you give the neck a swirl, look them dead in the eye and correct them. It's pronounced shuh-kon-dree-uh. Say it right or don't say it at all.

There may be small errors in this transcript.

This poem was written and performed by Sha'Condria "iCon" Sibley. Check out her Facebook page.


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