Appropriate Negro Spelling (ANS)
Recently, I took a trip to Chicago for work. I was there for a trade show, so I spent two days walking around talking to a variety of different people trying to hit me with their best sales pitches. At one particular booth, I came across a dude named Eric. After giving each other the customary corporate version of the black man head nod, we shook hands and introduced ourselves. He took a quick look at my name tag and with concern in his voice asked, “Oh, hey, did they spell your name wrong?”
Out of pure instinct, I immediately shot him the hottest of hot side eyes. Just because his mom didn’t possess the wherewithal to spell his name correctly, he had the audacity to ask if mine was wrong. The nerve, right?
Anyway, I let it slide. But it got me thinking about black people and our names. I mean, it’s no secret that black people have a unique propensity to either create a hood baby name out of thin air or to take an otherwise common name and apply, what I like to call, the Appropriate Negro Spelling (ANS).
It makes sense if you think about it. I mean, you can’t have three children with names D’Brickashaw, Le’Genius Wisdom and Erika. Nah, that doesn’t fit well. In this instance it’s necessary to take the root name, Erika, and apply the Appropriate Negro Spelling. So, Erika becomes Airwrecka.
You see? This goes far beyond the proverbial notion of taking all the letters from a game of Scrabble, shaking them up in the box, and throwing the box against the wall to come up with a solid name. By simply applying ANS, one can take a common name and give it some originality. It can be taken a step further when we start taking common words, applying ANS, then giving them as names.
For example: Did your baby display any somewhat spontaneous behavior while you were pregnant? Perfect. Take the word “spontaneous”, apply ANS, and you get Spontaniouse. Fantastic… Or do you just have a sneaky suspicion that your baby boy is going to be great at something? Awesome. Look at you being optimistic. Take the phrase “the realest”, apply ANS, and you get Darealyst. It’s that easy!
See, that was fun… Man, I love black people.