British actress Thandie Newton says she is reverting to the original Zimbabwean spelling of her name, Thandiwe, after decades in Hollywood. Newton, the daughter of a British lab technician and a Zimbabwean princess, told Vogue magazine the spelling-which means “beloved” in the African country’s Shona language and is pronounced “tan-DEE-way”-was changed in the credits for her first acting role, in 1991’s “Flirting,” when she was just 16. Now, the 48-year-old “Westworld” star said, she is changing it back.
“That’s my name. It’s always been my name. I’m taking back what’s mine,” she was quoted as telling the British magazine in her May 2021 cover interview. Newton, who has long been an advocate for women who have been sexually assaulted, has been outspoken about racist and sexual abuse in Hollywood. In the Vogue interview Newton said “Flirting” director John Duigan asked her to “be a bit darker” for the role, and repeated allegations that the then-39-year-old embarked on what she has previously described as a “coerced” sexual relationship with her.
She recalled other derogatory incidents of racism and sexual abuse, including a director who abused her and then showed footage of the incident to others. “I was traumatized,” she told the magazine. And she spoke frankly about her battles with an eating disorder, calling it “the most horrific dance with something that’s supposed to bring you life.” “Black women are truly the nexus where all of this overlaps,” she said. “Think of what else has the potential to heal if we support and care for Black women.” – AFP