After years of bullying and racist jokes, 19-year-old Keisha Austin decided to ditch her Black-sounding name for something more neutral. According to reports, the Kansas City, MO teen officially changed her name to Kylie.
“It’s like they assumed that I must be a certain kind of girl,” she told the Kansas City Star. “Like, my name is Keisha so they think they know something about me, and it always felt negative.”
The paper reports that kids in her predominantly White neighborhood would ask if there “was a ‘La’ or a ‘Sha’ in front of her name,” and a teacher “once asked if there was a dollar sign in her name, like the singer Ke$ha.”
Her mother Cristy, a Caucasian woman, said she named her biracial daughter Keisha because to her, it represented a “strong, feminine, beautiful black woman.”
“I saw it as a source of pride,” the single mom said. “I wanted her to have that.”
Unfortunately for Keisha-turned-Kylie, she never found pride or cultural significance in her birth name. She said Keisha was a beautiful, but it just didn’t fit her.
“It’s not something I take lightly,” she said, fighting back tears. “I put a lot of thought into it. I don’t believe you should just change your name or your face or anything like that on a whim. I didn’t want to change my name because I didn’t like it. I wanted to change my name because it didn’t feel comfortable. I don’t connect to it. I didn’t feel like myself, but I never want any girls named Keisha, or any name like that, to feel hurt or sad by it.”
Cristy decided to make her daughter’s wish come true as an early Christmas present.
“It felt like a gift I gave to her, and she was returning it,” she said. “Keisha was the only name I ever thought of, and when I talked to her in my belly, I talked to Keisha. But she’s still the same person, regardless of her name.”
She added, “Her happiness is what is most important to me. I love and support her, and whatever she has to do to feel good on the inside, I have to be okay with that.”
What are your thoughts on “Kylie’s” story? Does changing her name to something “less ethic” help fight racism?
My thoughts? She could have made a bigger impact as Keisha by proving all those negative stereotypes wrong!
Weigh in with your opinion below.
LIKE HelloBeautiful On Facebook!
Check Out This Gallery
Hi, My Name Is: The Craziest Celebrity Baby Names
1. Lil' Kim
Lil' Kim's daughter is named ROYAL REIGN.
2. Ciara & Future
Ciara and Future's son is named FUTURE ZAHIR.
3. Pharrell Williams
Pharrell and his wife, Helen's son is named, ROCKET MAN.
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's child is named NORTH WEST.
5. Andre 3000
Andre's son with Erykah Badu is named SEVEN SIRIUS BENJAMIN.
6. Kim Zolciak
Kim's son's name is KASH KADE BIERMANN.
7. Beyonce & Jay Z
Bey and Jay's bundle of joy is named BLUE IVY.
8. Shannyn Sossamon
Shannyn's son is named AUDIO SCIENCE.
9. Gwenyth Paltrow
Gwenyth's daughter is named APPLE and MOSES.
10. Frank Zappa
Frank takes the cake. ALL of his kids have crazy names. You have DWEEZIL, AHMET, DIVA MUFFIN & MOON UNIT.
11. Geri Halliwell
Geri's daughter is named BLUEBELL MADONNA.
12. Rob Morrow
Rob's son is named TU SIMONE AYER MORROW.
13. Jason Lee
Jason's son is named PILOT INSPEKTOR RIESGRAF-LEE.
14. Holly Madison
Holly's daughter is named RAINBOW AURORA ROTELLA.
15. Uma Thurman
Uma's daughter's name is ROSALIND ARUSHA ARKADINA ALTALUNE FLORENCE THURMAN-BUSSON.
16. Jamie Oliver
Jamie's son is named BUDDY BEAR MAURICE OLIVER.
17. Penn Jillette
Penn's daughter is named MOXIE CRIMEFIGHTER JILLETTE.
18. Alicia Silverstone
Alicia's son is named BEAR BLU.
19. Jermaine Jackson
Jermaine's sons' name is JERMAJESTY & JAAFAR.
20. Spike Lee
Spike's son's name is SATCHEL LEE.
21. Bob Geldof
Bob's daughters are named PEACHES HONEYBLOSSOM, LITTLE PIXIE and FIFI TRIXIBELLE.
22. Ving Rhames
Ving's daughter is named REIGNBEAU RHAMES.
23. Erykah Badu
Erkyah's first child with Andre 3000 is SEVEN SIRIUS and her second is MARS MERKABA.
24. Lisa Bonet & Jason Momoa
This happy couple's son's name is NAKOA-WOLF MANAKAUAPO NAMAKAEHA MOMOA.