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Orange is the New Black’s Uzo Aduba on Almost Changing her Igbo Name



Uzo Aduba - May 2014 - BellaNaija.comUzo Aduba is a Nigerian-American actress who plays Suzanne a.k.a Crazy Eyes in the hit series – “Orange is the New Black“.

She was born in Boston and raised in Medfield. After graduating from Medfield High, she studied classical voice at Boston University.

In an interview with Improper Magazine, she says she almost changed her Nigerian name when she was younger.

“When I started as an actor? No, and I’ll tell you why. I had already gone through that. My family is from Nigeria, and my full name is Uzoamaka, which means “The road is good.” Quick lesson: My tribe is Igbo, and you name your kid something that tells your history and hopefully predicts your future. So anyway, in grade school, because my last name started with an A, I was the first in roll call, and nobody ever knew how to pronounce it. So I went home and asked my mother if I could be called Zoe. I remember she was cooking, and in her Nigerian accent she said, “Why?” I said, “Nobody can pronounce it.” Without missing a beat, she said, “If they can learn to say Tchaikovsky and Michelangelo and Dostoyevsky, they can learn to say Uzoamaka.” she says.


  1. some hater

    May 28, 2014 at 9:37 am

    correct Mom!!!!

  2. osi gini?!

    May 28, 2014 at 9:53 am

    Gbam! Your mom gets my vote. I used to wish i could change my name too as these oyibos and afro amurricans couldnt pronounce it and always asked if i get nickname or try to give me a nickname. No! Heifer can i dash u a nickname? -__-

  3. Nife

    May 28, 2014 at 9:58 am

    I love her mum. Ori won pe sibe

  4. mrs chidukane

    May 28, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Wow,what a mother.

  5. Bella

    May 28, 2014 at 10:17 am

    I agree 100%.


    May 28, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Haha. Her mother is the truth!

  7. Chiomski

    May 28, 2014 at 10:46 am

    Uzoo, please tell your mom that I love her!!!

  8. Oompa Loompa

    May 28, 2014 at 11:13 am

    And that is why I have no English name. According to my father, let the white man twist his mouth like we twist ours when trying to pronounce their names. Until an oyinbo man names his child Bola or Nkechi or Hauwa or even Xobile(I love the click lol), my children would have no foreign names. However I draw the line at extremely long names my Yoruba people are fond of. Oluwagbotemisomidire. Really?!

  9. Cheliz

    May 28, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Your mum is right! lol. Come read loads of weight loss tips, you wont regret it.

  10. juju

    May 28, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    spoken like a true African …nigerian mom!!!! i love her…

  11. @edDREAMZ

    May 28, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Mum on point no doubt….

  12. Oby

    May 28, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    That’s the kind of mom I wanna be! On point!

  13. slice

    May 28, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    proud Nig’n but I no get time for my difficult name abeg. Most times i just use a difft one.

  14. Modey

    May 28, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Correct mama!! I have always wondered myself why white people can pronounce thick Russian/Ukrainian names flawlessly but they cannot pronounce the simplest of names like Chika and Shola.

    • K

      May 30, 2014 at 10:40 pm

      If that’s makes any difference-you and them might think they can, but they can’t. Russian by English speaking people sounds like they were chewing spoonful of shoelaces, compared to Russian amazing flow and singing-drawling quality, it’s really pretty language.
      But I agree- no one should be made to abandon their name and their identity, because it’s uncomfortable to say. My name gets mangled all the time and is pronounced like “duck” in my language, instead of actual name, and all I have to say is that everyone should just try harder, since I have no problems with “James”.

  15. elohor

    May 28, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    I love that tv series…was so proud to see the nigerian name

  16. [email protected]

    May 28, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Her mum’s words is true on every front! Beta mama wey get sense

  17. jcsgrl

    May 28, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    omg how did I miss this feature on Uzo my love. BN shaa I was expecting a full interview na. Make una holla at this chic and download it here

  18. Berry Dakara

    May 28, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    “If they can learn to say Tchaikovsky and Michelangelo and Dostoyevsky, they can learn to say Uzoamaka.”

    YOU GO, MA!!!!

  19. Fatima Ahmad

    May 30, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    I relate to this a lot 🙂

  20. nombuyiselo

    September 9, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    aren’t we all love this mother. I remember when I got to my new work the white IT guy refused to use my Xhosa name Nombuyiselo saying it’s too long. five years later another girl with the same name came and he agreed.

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