No, Erin Lim, Camila Cabello Should Not Drop Her ‘Difficult’ Last Name
Camila Cabello is a newly-minted solo star, with a rapidly growing collab catalog and a bona fide hit under her belt with "Bad Things." As passionate as her most ardent fans have been both during and after her tenure with Fifth Harmony, Camila's still in the process of gaining household name recognition; by metrics including her own Billboard cover feature, it's quickly happening. But E! journalist Erin Lim is drew fire this week for suggesting that the singer drop her last name — pronounced "CabeYo," as Camila's old Twitter bio once specified — because it's "too difficult to pronounce, and unnecessary."
Lim made the (ignorant) statement in what was ostensibly a joke attempt on Snapchat:
Cabello is a proud Cuban-born Latinx immigrant of Mexican and Cuban descent, who shared her own story of traveling to begin a new life in Miami as a child just last year. As a highly successful longtime resident of the United States, she has every reason to expect both admirers and those covering her work to take the trouble of learning how to pronounce her last name (which again, Camila's even offered phonetic help with, though she shouldn't have to).
In fact, let's take it a step further, and this writer says this as someone who's grown up hearing a wide gamut of mind-blowing mispronunciations of my own Puerto Rican surname (it's Vin-SENT-y, not "Venzetti," "Vinchenty," "Vizendy" and even "McGinty" once, somehow): Don't trust a person who makes no effort to pronounce your name. It's disrespectful, and suggests a wholesale lack of curiosity about other people.
What's more, as the Twitter user above points out, it's effectively an erasure of a part of Cabello that she should never have to erase, just to make things easier for a culturally-challenged member of her audience. It's not cute or funny to ask her to hide her last name and everything it represents, particularly as the United States' current administration has enacted (often hastily executed) anti-immigrant policies under the guise of safety, largely based on Donald Trump's scare tactics regarding "dangerous illegals." In a climate where Latinx residents of America are being made to feel unwanted or that they have to hide — literally, in some cases, from officials — it doesn't feel like the time for "I don't read so good, drop your name, LOL!" jokes.
Lim has shrugged off the response from her joke (which again, fell flat in both delivery and sentiment), making her case for why she feels it's fine in her own Twitter bio: "Since you're wondering- Mom's Mexican. Dad's Filipino." The fact that plenty of people espouse ignorant ideas about a culture they're a part of, often informed by a messy and unique stew of their own insecurities, lack of a close relationship to said culture and/or shame, is an entirely separate dialogue that Lim seems to want no part of.
Instead, Erin retweeted New Girl star Lamorne Morris, who offered a subtweet to defend his girlfriend:
Check out reactions from the Morris-deemed "stupid" people who didn't enjoy Lim's tepid take on Camila Cabello's last name below.
Camila Cabello Through the Years, From X Factor to "Bad Things"
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