What’s In A Name?

What’s in a name? So, after my last blog I had a good friend call and asked. Why did your mother name you Tamara? Instantly, a huge smile came before me. First, writing about myself is extremely difficult. Then, when writing at this level one rarely knows if their voice is being appreciated. T.B., I sincerely thank you for asking the question.

Before offering the answer to the question. I must share I asked the same question of my mother. Then, I too was presented with the same question as a parent over ten years ago. My daughter asked me this very question as she hinted that she was also contemplating changing her name. There you have it ladies and gentlemen. I got to experience the same feeling of confusion my mother did with me many years ago. I was taken aback, as to me the name Jontay is simply elegant. It carries a certain je ne sais quoi. Especially, when I hear someone with a foreign accent speak her name.

Maybe this was the reason my mother also had the same reaction to my sophomoric question? Accepting oneself completely and genuinely requires true understanding. An understanding that we are all different as we’re supposed to be. And as Dr. Maya Angelou said…”you yourself alone are enough and you don’t owe nothing to anyone.”

So, why was I named Tamara? Well, my mother was infatuated with my father. This is for good reasons. As he was a classic man, handsome and charismatic among other things. Since he was named Thomas, my mother decided all her children’s names would begin with the letter T. With that in mind, my mother’s aunt who was only a year older than her, suggested Tamara. As there was this beautiful, tall and talented actress who served as her inspiration.

While growing up, there was this beautiful, powerful and domineering actress by the name of Tamara Dobson. She was the first black actress who played Cleopatra Jones and adorns the cover of many magazines. She was born in Maryland and stood 6’2” with the confidence that would shake any man. She clearly made an impression on my mother’s aunt and many who knew and appreciated her artistry. To share my mother’s thoughts, she liked and thought Tamara was a very pretty name.

In the best way I can, I honor my mother, her aunt and of course Tamara Dobson. The name is powerful, commanding and calls for attention. No matter how it’s pronounced, there aren’t many who can say they have forgotten meeting a Tamara! Ms. Dobson, from one Tamara to another Tamara…you are appreciated and valued for paving the way!



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