From a President to a Baller

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When I was younger, I did not like my name. It lacked flare. It felt old and outdated, especially since it did not match or sound like any of the cooler names that my friends had.

“What’s your name?”
“My name is Dwight, just like the president,” I learned to respond at an early age. The president was the only famous Dwight that I knew. Well, there was Dwight Gooden but I did not want people to remember my name because of a prodigy turned recovering drug addict.

I am named after my uncle, Dwight, who is named after President Dwight D. Eisenhower, our 34th president whose commander in chief duties ended in 1961…twenty two years before my birth and roughly thirty years before I had to find an interesting way to make my name seem cool. My mother named me after her younger brother because she has a strong relationship with him. My uncle received his name because during the early 60’s, many Caribbean mothers named their sons after popular American men. Thankfully, my grandmother did not name her son Elvis, as did many mothers at that time. In fact, my step father and my mother’s cousin (I call him Uncle), both born in the early 60s, are named Elvis. Additionally, my mother also did not want to name me after my father, Gerald, whose name eventually appeared on my birth certificate as my middle name.

When I found out this story, my name transformed. I suddenly liked it because there was history behind it. True, it does not fit the other 1980s-90s influenced names, but it is mine. It added a new piece to my identity puzzle.

Last night, while doing laundry at 2:30am, I introduced myself to a twenty-one year old aspiring model, Danielle, and the conversation went like this:

“What’s your name?”
“My name is Dwight,” I begin, before I am promptly interrupted.
“Just like the basketball player.”

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