Author Feature~ Andrea Daniel

‘What’s In A Name’

There are some cultures that use rituals when naming a baby. I recently read the blog Just Genesis about African Naming Practices, which states:


Giving a child a meaningful name in Africa requires accepting that the child has a personal dignity right from the moment of conception that needs to be respected and protected. This respect for the dignity of the newly born is symbolized through practices associated with the naming ceremony. Among the Yorubas of Western Nigeria, water is dabbed on the child´s face during the ceremony to symbolize the child´s purity and the importance of having no enemies. In some other African countries, honey and bitter kolanuts represent the sweet and bitter dimensions of the life that the child is about to begin.

I’ve also heard of parents who waited seven days before naming their children. They watched to learn their baby’s attributes through facial expressions and little mannerisms, to determine what revealed itself, for the sake of their names.


When I as born, there was no ritual. I was the last of three children. My parents named my brother, the eldest, and my brother named my sister. My mother said she named me Andrea, (pronounced Ahn-dria) because it sounded soft and peaceful. She was very purposeful in the pronunciation – the beginning carries the “ah” sound at the back of the throat, rather than the nasal “an,” often used for the name. She said it sounded warmer.

It’s a name I didn’t particularly like as a little girl. It sounded stern, and oldish. Not at all fitting for a child who liked to play. I really wanted the name Carmen.

I believe this desire came after I saw the movie “Carmen Jones,” starring Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belefonte.

Carmen. The character was beautiful. She was sassy, sexy and feisty. She got her way. She didn’t take stuff from anybody. Though she was a bit of a troublemaker, I wanted those “Carmen” attributes, although I was skinny, and in elementary school.

I’ve since learned to appreciate my name, which is the feminine of Andre or Andrew. I‘ve looked up its meaning, which is “manly,” with its feminine counterpart “womanly,” a rather boring description. But through a friend, Reshounn who does name analyses through what she calls the NaMe Project, I’ve learned a great deal about my name. This is from a recent analysis she performed:


Of Latin, your name means “beloved one filled with grace”.

Ps 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.


The name of Andrea gives you a clever, quick, and analytical mind. Your idealistic and sensitive nature gives you a deep appreciation for the finer things of life and a strong desire to be of service to humanity. It is far easier for you to express your deeper thoughts and feelings through writing than verbally. As such, you find pleasure in literature, in poetry, and in your ideals and will turn to them when you feel you have been misunderstood. You are deeply moved by the beauties of life, especially nature.


I was touched by this analysis. Reshounn also suggested doing a word unscramble of my name. I got words like and, ear, dear, end, ran, near, read… just fun stuff. (I also did one of my middle and last names, which revealed even more words that relate to my life.)


Turns out, I’m glad I didn’t change my name to Carmen, though I badly wanted to. As I learned from Reshounn’s name research, we are, in essence, our names.


Andrea Daniel is a lifelong poet, with work in publications and as part of a visual poetry exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts. When she’s not writing poetry, Andrea is a freelance writer for various publications. She also has freelanced for an internationally distributed arts and entertainment magazine. Andrea is co-owner/operator of Dakota Avenue West Publishing and copywriter, editor and voice over artist with her own small business, AND Communications. She is a member of the Motown Writer’s Network, and the Michigan Literary Network and is producer of the Michigan Literary Network’s Internet radio show on Additionally, she is a registered songwriter with BMI. She lives in Detroit, Michigan with her son and a sweet little Terrier-Poodle-mix named Dot.

Author: Andrea Daniel


Twitter: @andi2747

Facebook: Andrea Daniel


Like Gwendolyn, Andrea Daniel’s debut book of poetry, epitomizes nearly forty years of her life as a poet. The first chapter, “Life, death and stuff in between,” is about just that, as Andrea or someone else has experienced or she imagined it to be. “Love and such,” depicts love in its many forms. As a survivor of domestic violence, Andrea shares in “Abused Tales,” poems written in her years of recovery. And she wrote the poems in “Love for Jay,” the final chapter, during the frequent periods of separation from her (now adult) son in his early childhood years. It is the legacy of poet Gwendolyn Brooks and the beauty of her work that inspired the completion of this book.






117I’ve realized how uncomfortable I get when people talk about other people, be it their clothes, their hair, and especially their personal business. I am not sure when it started, or if that feeling of being uncomfortable was always there lying dormant some place. Lately I’ve noticed it more and more. Now, it’s not to say that some things aren’t funny but I think something about laughing at other’s pain, or at their expense is what makes me uncomfortable. Maybe it’s the fact that I realize that if it were me, people would be laughing at me too.

I think we don’t realize each other’s pain. If we did we wouldn’t be laughing right. I see pictures of people at their lowest, the clothes they wear, or the mistakes they’ve made on Facebook and twitter and I scroll passed it fast, so as not to be an accessory or guilty by association.

Everyone doesn’t have what we have. We must first be conscious of that. We have got to understand that some people don’t have jobs or clothes, things have happened in their lives to were loss and lack have permeated their total existence; and we laugh because their clothes are too tight, too small, or too something. We offer these people neither sympathy nor understanding. Maybe it’s because we’ve never been there so it’s a bit hard to understand loss in that particular area. But you have lacked or needed something, haven’t you?

On the other spectrum, to see others expose when some people wear on purpose clothing that are revealing, tacky, or whatever, makes me uncomfortable as well. Not because the person is revealing too much of their assets or what have you, but the person who calls it into attention make me uncomfortable because I’m not sure if they still don’t see the pain of that person.

We go into excessive situations when we are indeed in lack, no father in the home, mother not there to teach us how to be a lady, or whatever the case may be. We expose them without offering them something in exchange; something positive to their negative. I wonder if it would be okay when I see some young girl with her shorts up her spine and a low cut shirt to say “You have the most amazing eyes” if she would focus more on them the next time she decided what to wear.

Well, at least if we decide to say nothing, maybe we should say nothing on Facebook or twitter too. I don’t know, I haven’t tried it but I think I will, next time.



Happy Mother’s Day Mom

My Mother
Paulette Ernestine Hall

Mother’s Day

I have been without my mother for the last twenty-four years. Most of that time she was here in the physical but her spirit was long gone. I was nineteen when my mother was diagnosed with Pre-senile Dementia which later would become Alzheimers. My Mother lived twenty-one years with this disease taking away a very lively and vivacious woman, turning her into something totally opposite.  It was tough seeing someone who had portrayed such a strong passion for life; trade it in for something almost non-existent. At one point in my life I felt robbed, during the time I was to come into the person I was going to be, I felt left without instruction. As time grew I came to realize that my Mother had been teaching me in such a short period of time about life and how to enjoy it while you’re here.

My Mother loved life and lived it to its fullest every day that she could.  I can still hear all the wives-tales that she would say and my thinking “What?” and laughing. Now as I am older, I realize that she was leaving me bits and pieces of herself and giving me words that I would live by. Although I have missed her since I was a teen, I have also carried her beautiful smile with me ever since.  The saying goes “You only have one Mother” is without measure and the one I had, was the best one for me. Thank you mother for our time together, the dancing we did will forever be in my heart and spirit. Much Love Queen!

Whitney Houston

Words cannot express how deeply hurt I am over the loss of one of the greatest voices of my time. My only solace is of the many memories I have of laying on the floor in my livingroom as a teenager and playing her albums over and over again. My heart aches for Whitney’s daughter Bobbi Kristina; as one of the toughest things in a young woman’s life is to lose the one thing that reminds them of why they are here, a mother. I literally am holding back tears as I think of how Whitney’s songs would roll through my mind as love’s truth would seem to flow from her lips and course through my veins. We never really know how much we love someone until they are no longer with us and Whitney, I am realizing how much I have loved you. I pray for the spirit of peace and comfort over your family, especially Bobbi Kristina. I also ask that everyone pray over this young lady’s life as she has lost the most valuable gift, a gift that can never be replaced. Peace & Blessings…Kai