Oh, look at that pretty girl riding around LA on scooters with Larry Crowne. He called her Talia, didn’t he? What a funny name? Aren’t those things called Vespas or something like that? What a funny name.
God I love the movies. They can be so rich for The Blog of Funny Names.
I didn’t even pay any attention to the name of the actress playing that supporting part opposite to leading man Tom Hanks. Yet for some reason I watched “Larry Crowne” with Hanks and Julia Roberts not only in the theater went it came out in 201I but again on HBO, again if I was scrolling idly past … Yeah, it became one of those.
Then I saw that familiar face as the star just a month again in the romantic drama musical “Beyond the Lights.” My favorite Scooter girls Talia had grown into Beyonce-like singer Noni. And the actress name was Gugu Mbatha-Raw.
Now that’s a funny name now matter how many times you blot your nose with a handkerchief.
How does such a beautiful woman become such a syllabic stew?
On to Wikipedia to get to the bottom of this.
Turns out it’s not her real name.
No. This woman was born on June 30, 1983 in Oxford to father Patrick Mbatha and mother Anne Raw, a black doctor dad originally from South Africa and a white mother nurse from right there in merry old England. Sounds quite normal so far. And then they up and named their darling baby girl Guguletha Sophia Mbatha.
While you’re scratching your head, consider that they tried to make things easier down the road for her. That first name is actually a contraction of igugu lethu, which means “little treasure” in Zulu.
Living in tiny town Witney in Oxfordshire, they sent her to the Henry Box School when she got a little older. Fortunately, instead of fisticuffs or packing, her talents surfaced in acting and singing. And so Gugu Mbatha-Raw, first shortened, middle name abandoned and sur names hyphenated, attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.
From whence she succeeded in living up to the signifant meaning of that big and funny first name of hers.
Mbatha-Raw’s IMDb page carries 28 credits.
Her TV resume includes the BBC TV hit “Doctor Who,” with the recurring role of Tish Jones in 2007. That’s the show with a funny name with a cult following that leaves me scratching my head and wondering, Doctor What?
Her movie resume includes the role of Dido in this past summer’s “Belle.” Yeah, a funny name from the 1800s.
Wrote reviewer Mark Kermode in The Guardian:
“Rising star Gugu Mbatha-Raw is terrific as Dido, a nuanced performance that perfectly embodies the increasingly independent spirit who refuses to accept that – in issues of both race and gender – ‘we are but their property’.”
And playing Noni, who goes from pouty and straight-haired and more than slightly slutty scoundrel to determined and curly-haired and more than slightly marvelous in the time it takes to soar with Nina Simone’s song “Blackbird” and win a good dude played by Nate Parker’s heart, Mbatha-Raw’s funny name will be raising eyebrows for years to come.
I reviewed this one for the Syracuse New Times, and I declared:
“Gugu Mbatha-Raw owns the screen wholly and freely as Noni, both the extension-haired version all shiny, violet, and preening, and the curly-haired version all subdued, earthy and modestly confident.”
I didn’t even mention that funny little British accent in that quote, did I? Oh, yeah, it’s my name and born-in-Brooklyn accent that are funny … Somebody ele’s turn.