Thandie Newton has said he will retrieve the original Shona spelling of his name for use in his career, declaring, “I’m retrieving what’s mine.”
For more than 30 years, the actor, born Melanie Thandiwe Newton Parker, has been known for an anglicized version of his name since the “w” was “negligently” removed from his first credit as an actor.
Thandiwe means “beloved” in the Shona language of Zimbabwe, where she is Newton’s mother. He said he was setting the record and that in all future projects he would be given his name written correctly.
In an interview with British Vogue, Newton, 48, stated: “This is my name. It has always been my name. I will recover what is mine ”.
The Westworld actor, who will appear on the cover of the May issue celebrating the “rebirth of an icon,” spoke with writer Diana Evans for the magazine about her three decades of career and what had changed and he had not changed in the industry.
“What I appreciate most in our business right now is being in the company of others who really see me. And don’t be complicit in the objectification of blacks as “others,” which is what happens when you’re the only one, ”he said.
Evans says Newton’s awareness that she was a role model for little brown girls aspiring to be dancers or actors or activists was one of the reasons she considered it essential that her clothes in the Vogue photo shoot reflect its dual heritage.
As he grew older, he had been inspired to use his personal experiences to be more frank, Newton said. “It simply came to our notice then. Many lives have been lived since then.
Last week, the actor expressed outrage over the government’s report on racial disparity and suggested it should be an April Fool’s joke. “There is no way it can be real; it would be unethical madness,” he tweeted about the report, which claimed that institutional racism did not exist in the UK.
The Emmy-winning actor was born in London to a white British father, Nick, and a Zimbabwean mother, Nyasha, a princess of the Shona tribe, and the family settled in Penzance, Cornwall, when he was three years old. “We could be the first blacks no one had ever seen. We had no conditioner. We had nothing, ”he told Vogue.
She and her younger brother attended a Catholic elementary school run by nuns, where she was once excluded from a class photography for wearing her hair to cornrows and was repeatedly ignored for dance trophies.
Newton said she becomes a Londoner unlike the British, reflecting on her Bafta victory in 2006 when a British newspaper noted that she was not really British because one of her parents was black.
“I remember thinking, ‘But it’s a British victory! Why don’t you take this? Why wouldn’t you want to dig that out and hug him and feel great? “
The actor also discussed why he recently spoke publicly about the abuse he had suffered at the hands of a director when he was 16 and when he realized he needed help with an eating disorder. “There is a time when my ghost changed, you know, and that’s when I was 16 years old. It derailed me from myself. He was traumatized. It was a kind of PTSD, for sure.
“I was so upset and dismayed that a director had abused a young actress and was going elsewhere, with minors being abused and as deserved. Basically, I was waiting for someone to come and say to me, ‘Well, what are we going to do about it?’ “
He told Vogue that he refused to silence her: “I have a seventh sense of abuse and abusers, which I think is one of the reasons I was so rejected in Hollywood. I’ll talk about it until the cows come home, because I know I’ll help someone. “