What's In A Name?

For the past few weeks, I've been wrestling with whether or not to re-brand and change my artist name.

I want to make it easy for new friends and fans to be able to find me, and for some reason Oladokun (O-lah-doe-koon) has proven difficult for people to look up.

 I've spent a lot of my life apologizing for my names. My first name-- Olubukola (o-loo-boo-kuh-luh) -- has been this intimidating mountain of vowels and consonants and sound for every teacher I've ever had.

On the first day of school every year, I would sit and wait for the inevitable pause of a teacher who had gone from a  slew of Brittanys and Lindsays to this....


"Here. You can call me Joy."

Just like that, a name  lovingly bestowed upon by my father (it means "one more blessing") was tossed to the wayside because it was too difficult.

For a long time, I didn't mind. I didn't think it was important at all. 

Then last week, my manager and I were on the phone, and we were searching for variations of my name in order to change my social media handles into something palatable. Something cool, and sexy, and easy to pronounce.

However, I felt this indignation rising up in me. 

Maybe it's because the people pleaser in me has been dying a slow, paaaaiiiinnffuuull death, but I realized that I'm finished trying to making my brand--and myself-- palatable and easily acceptable to any one group.

God made me with an identity, and placed inside me certain convictions and passions and fears. He gifted me with family and friends that challenge me and bring those things out of me in a beautiful way.

No more hiding. No more whittling that down to make you feel safe.

I won't ever do that with my music, so why do it with my brand?

From this day forward I refuse to apologize for believing wholeheartedly in the salvific work of Jesus Christ, or for being a Democrat, or for being black, or for not being "black enough" (which is an accusation that ALWAYS stems from a limited understanding of black culture based on my speech patterns and indifference to most hip-hop).

I refuse to apologize for not speaking out on some things, so I can pick my battles and speak when it counts.

I refuse to apologize for feeling things deeply, and holding them in my heart.

 I refuse to apologize for my name.

Joy Oladokun.

It means "Joy, One with limitless authority," and I intend to use it.