19-year-old changes name to put end to stereotypes

What’s in a name?

A lot if your former high school classmates associate it with rap songs, video vixens and tabloid TV, says a 19-year old from Kansas.

Keisha Austin says those associations are why she changed her name to Kylie, according to an article from the Kansas City Star newspaper.

For example, the story notes, the hit song,“Cashin Out” by rapper Ca$h Out refers to Keisha as a kind of marijuana, and as a whore.

Kylie’s mother Cristy, who is white, said she chose the name Keisha for her biracial daughter because “it represented a strong, feminine, beautiful black woman,” she told the newspaper. “I saw it as a source of pride.” A way for her to connect.

But her daughter saw it otherwise. The name just didn’t fit, she said. She didn’t grow up in diverse neighborhood or around many blacks, she said.

As she got older, people assumed things about her based on her name, she told the newspaper.

“It’s like they assumed that I must be a certain kind of girl,” she said. “Like, my name is Keisha so they think they know something about me, and it always felt negative.”

“I wanted to change my name because it didn’t feel comfortable. I don’t connect to it. I didn’t feel like myself, but I never want any girls named Keisha, or any name like that, to feel hurt or sad by it,” she told the newspaper.

Recently, she and her mother stood before a judge, paid a fee, and soon after that Keisha became Kylie.

When a reporter asked what it felt like the first time someone called her Kylie, “she cries and cries, with a smile on her face. She is overwhelmed by the comfort it brings,” the story recounted.

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