Saturday, December 27, 2008

Hiding behind a Fictitious Name?

My favorite, favorite, favorite artist, Beyonce Knowles, recently unveiled her stage name, Sasha Fierce, with the release of her latest album, “I Am...Sasha Fierce.” Sasha Fierce, Beyonce’s performing alter ego, shows her more outgoing and sensual side. Beyonce has been reported by as saying: “I have someone else that takes over when it’s time for me to work and when I’m on stage. An alter ego I’ve created that kind of protects me and who I really am. Sasha Fierce is the fun, more sensual, more aggressive, more outspoken and more glamorous side that comes out when I’m working and when I’m on the stage.”

Of course there’s been a lot of buzz about Beyonce’s alter ego, Sasha Fierce. I’m not sure why, because she’s not alone. Writing under a fictitious name has been a very common practice since the eighteenth century, when writers and journalists used pseudonyms to pen controversial or even illegal articles and letters to the editor. It’s still common practice today for actors and artists to use fictitious names (e.g., Eric Bishop as Jamie Foxx). And it’s just as widespread for writers, who sometimes choose to write under a different persona as well -- pseudonyms or "pen names" (e.g., Stephen King writing as Richard Bachman).

Like many artists, I, too have a pseudonym, Sage. Like Beyonce, when I write under the name, Sage, I am bolder and less inhibited. However, unlike Beyonce, it’s not an alter ego; instead, it’s a way to make my name more distinctive. More importantly I am free from preconceived notions, assumptions, stereotyping, etc., as my race and gender are disguised. But I am open to judgment -- of my words and craft, which I always welcome wholeheartedly.