Despite having a distinctive name, 23 year-old Quevenzhané Smith has always preferred to go by the familiar nickname, “I’m Gonna Butcher This”.
“It’s just easier for everyone,” she told us of her decision. “Whenever someone new tries to read my name, it’s how they wind up pronouncing it, anyway so I just roll with it.”
From substitute teachers reading attendance roll call, to nurses calling out her name in waiting rooms, Quevenzhané has been hearing, “I’m gonna butcher this” for her entire life. So much, in fact, that she grew to really like it!
“Don’t get me wrong, I love my actual name,” she says. “It goes way back on my mother’s side of the family, and my heritage really means a lot to me. But ‘I’m Gonna Butcher This’ has a nice ring to it that I’ve gotten really used to!”
Many of the people in Quevenzhané’s life appreciate her choice.
“Put yourself in my shoes,” said Oliver Pattenaude, Quevenzhane’s former professor. “It’s the first day of class. I’m calling attendance. I get to a name like ‘Quevenzhané’, and it’s just like, I know I’m gonna butcher this!”
“When I first met Quevenzhané, I was like, I’m NEVER going to be able to say that right,” said close friend Kate Thompson. “Fortunately for me, I never had to learn! Now I just call her “I’m Gonna Butcher This”, or sometimes “Uhhhhh” for short.”
Wow! We’re amazed that no one has thought to just ask her how to pronounce her name!
Quevenzhané is not being pushy about her preferred nomenclature, though. She understands that people sometimes make mistakes.
“I prefer ‘I’m Gonna Butcher This’,” she said. “But it’s not a huge deal if someone accidentally calls me “Apologies In Advance,” or “I’m Not Even Going to Attempt This,’. It’s all good!”
We asked Quevenzhané if she thinks she’ll ever go back to going by her given name.
“Anything’s possible,” she told us. “But for now, I’ll just go down the path of least resistance.”
You go, I’m Gonna Butcher This!