In a resurfaced clip from 2017, singer Dawn Richard sat down for an interview with TV host Nessa to talk all things Danity Kane, Diddy and her solo career. But before the conversation kicked off, Nessa prefaced the interview by asking the singer to pronounce her name.
“OK so I don’t want to mess up your name because everyone has been telling me your last name is pronounced differently,” the TV host said.
Richard quickly responded with the correct way to say her last name, confirming it’s actually pronounced like “ree-shard.”
“That is my name. I’m not trying to make it special. That is my father’s name. His given name. My dad’s Haitian. My mom’s creole. Middle name is Angelique. It’s not like a gimmick,” she said, continuing to prove the authenticity of her name.
“My nephew’s name is Francois. I promise it’s not something that we’re trying to do,” she added.
Despite some of her fans being shocked, the New Orleans native revealed growing up she never had an issue with people mispronouncing her name.
“They knew our name. My dad was a musician, he was pretty big in New Orleans. Mt grandfather was like a president of the Zulu Ball. So the name was quite present in the city. It was a popular name,” she said.
“It’s only when you go outside they’re like ‘Richards’ ‘Richardson’ “Richardsonson,'” she added.
To much of her fans’ surprise, some were even unaware of the singer’s heritage.
“Never knew she was Haitian till a second ago,” one person commented under the reshared video.
But someone assured others that the former Danity Kane bandmate has been repping her roots since her days on Making The Band.
“Dawn has been saying she was half Haitian since P Diddy’s Making of The Band on MTV. She even sang a lullaby in creole to a friend on the show! Dawn been repping Haiti,” they said.
At the beginning of the year, Richard joined Merge Records to release new music after being an independent artist for some time, according to the company’s website.
“I set out a long time ago to create a lane where genre was optional. Where a Black woman could thrive in electropop and Afrofuturism unapologetically,” she said at the time.
“This record has been such a cathartic experience. To create an immersive story highlighting New Orleans culture through a futuristic lens has just been… a wild-ass ride. I’m stoked to take the wild ride with Merge, and hopefully the world wants to jump on, too. I plan to reshape the way people see and hear New Orleans,” she added.