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Newton’s parents, a Zimbabewan princess and a lab technician from Cornwall, England, named her Thandiwe, which means beloved in Shona.
However, as a Black girl in a Catholic school in Cornwall, her name was anglicized. “The W of her name drifted inward, out of sight and earshot, in a futile hope to make her feel less different,” British Vogue wrote.
It played a role in her auditions. “I’ve been too Black, not Black enough,” Newton said.
Newton added she lost roles when she refused to play to racial and sexual stereotyping. When she won a BAFTA, a British newspaper pointed out that Newton was not really British because one of her parents was Black. “I remember thinking, ‘But it’s a British win! Why don’t you wanna take that?'” Newton said.
Wearing clothes representing her dual heritage on the cover of British Vogue, Newton is not hiding where she comes from, and that includes her name. All her future films will be credited with Thandiwe Newton. “That’s my name. It’s always been my name,” she said.
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