Dear Norah Jones,
You’ve never heard of me, but you’ve had a profound impact on my life. My name is Nora Jones. No “h.” I still remember that fateful day in sixth grade when a classmate casually informed me that I had the same name as an up-and-coming singer. At first, I thought it was cool; I could make a much-needed transition from “token black girl” to “girl with famous name.”
Fast-forward five years to a visit to the dentist. “Did you know you have the same name as a famous singer?” the hygienist asked excitedly, ignoring my inability to speak (due to my mouth being propped open and full of teeth-cleaning implements and tubes). “Were you named after her?” I could only bug my eyes out at her question’s stupidity: You were only 11 when I was born.
Norah, you would be shocked at how many times a day I get asked these kinds of questions. Other FAQs include “Do you sing?!” (I do, but I lie and say no) and “Did you know that you look like her, too?” The latter question is particularly hilarious; we’re both brown-skinned, but that’s about it in the look-alike department.
So, Norah, I have but one request. Please keep your nose clean. You’ve done a great job so far. Just remember, any scandals you get bound up in—unbecoming public behavior or the like—and I’ll get shit for it too. I have nothing but respect for you and your career—your new single, “After the Fall,” is one of the prettiest songs I’ve heard in years, and your vocals on it chill me every time—and I wish you the best, Little Broken Hearts and beyond. But maybe, one day, someone will misspell your name without the “h.” That’s how I’ll know I’ve made a name for myself.
NORA EILEEN JONES