Today, I finished reading Evita: In My Own Words, an autobiography of Eva Perón, former First Lady of Argentina . And while I loved its insight into Perón's thoughts on social equality, religion and the need for people to actively pursue what is rightly theirs, the below quote is my take away. It was written by John Page in the book's introduction. He had just relayed that Perón refused a hysterectomy after being diagnosed with the uterine cancer that would eventually claim her life:
Psychological and perhaps even cultural pressures may have made it impossible for the "Spiritual Mother of All Argentine Children" to cope with the symbolism of a hysterectomy.If Perón had opted to have her uterus removed, the odds were in her favor that she would have lived a long, cancer-free life. Instead she got engrossed in her title of the "Spiritual Mother of All Argentine Children," refused to have her womb, the physical embodiment of motherhood, removed and ultimately gave her life to continue playing the role that was cast upon her by others.
After reading this, I couldn't help but think about the similarities between Perón's story and Ol' Dirty Bastard's. At first glimpse, you'd think an Argentinian women who died in 1952 would have nothing in common with an African American man who died almost nine years ago, but hear me out.
RZA, of Wu-Tang Clan, provided a eulogy at ODB's funeral. Here's a video of, what is in my opinion, one of the most notable things he said. There's a text summary below:
RZA remembered back to when Jones was a young teenager and chose the righteous name of Ason Unique. He said that as Ason Unique, his cousin was radiant, beautiful and angelic, more powerful than he was in the ODB persona. As the years passed and RZA gave him the name of Ol' Dirty Bastard, he noticed his cousin changing more and more, adopting the characteristics of his stage moniker and going wild. (From MTV.com)The important thing to note about all of this, is these names were not intended to be a burden. They were bestowed upon Perón and ODB as a way of people showing appreciation for their work. Perón was given her title as the Spiritual Mother of All Argentine Children in gratitude of her humanitarian efforts. ODB received his alias by RZA as a way of recognizing his unique delivery. His flow was said to have no father, a reference to a 1980 martial arts film titled Ol' Dirty and the Bastard.
But ill intent or not, these two stories are proof that words have power. So, whether you're naming a child or offering up a prayer, remember the expectations you're speaking into existence should be delicately balanced.