Shahuda’, who was best known for her cover of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” and for ripping up a picture of the Pope on Saturday Night Live, becomes the latest celebrity to embrace Islam and change his or her name, although it is doubtful anybody will start calling her that in the near future. If you don’t believe me, ask Cat Stevens, or, as he has preferred to be called since the last century, Yusef Islam.
Yeah. I had to Google that.
Yusef’s motive for converting to Islam was simple—he never wanted to have a hit song again, and it worked for him. Shahuda’s motives must be more complex, since she hasn’t had a hit song since the ‘80’s anyway. No doubt making people angry was part of her motivation—the name itself inspires anger, especially the apostrophe at the end. Do you have to put an extra apostrophe after it to make it possessive? Shahuda’’s? Shahuda,’—where does the comma go? There, or here--Shahuda’, who used to be Sinead…
But enough grammar Nazi-ing. The point is, no celebrity has converted to Islam and had anybody remember their new name since Muhammad Ali. The lesson here is, don’t change your name and expect anybody to remember it unless you can punch their lights out. Or you can just continue to be famous, like Ali also did, instead of just having the turbulent life of a bipolar, bisexual couple-hit wonder, which is what Shahuda’ has had.
Christians don’t have to change their names when they convert. They can quit being Methodists and start going to the Church of the Divine Waters of Christ’s Flowing Love and start speaking in tongues and juggling rattlesnakes and still stay simple John or Mary Smith. Bob Dylan was, for a couple years, a Jew for Jesus, but he still stayed Bob Dylan.
Don’t think I am in favor of Christians when I note that; I am just saying they are easier to keep track of.
What prompted Shahuda’ to take up the path of the Prophet? It does seem an odd choice for a lady who has proclaimed herself a lesbian feminist many times, since lesbianism and feminism are both punishable by stoning in her new faith. Maybe she was attracted by the words of the Quran, although I doubt it, because the Quran was the most boring holy book in the world for hundreds of years, until some other wannabe prophets wrote, in sort of rapid succession, the Book of Mormon and Dianetics.
Maybe she was just up for trying to figure out what direction Mecca lies in on any given day. Maybe she just got tired of having an ugly haircut and wanted of cover it with an unattractive shawl.
Or maybe she just wanted people to pay attention to her again. Saturday Night Live isn’t calling her back, that’s for sure.