The Pseudonym Conundrum And All The King’s Men » VSB

Pop Culture, Theory & Essay

The Pseudonym Conundrum And All The King’s Men

I’m going to go ahead and assume that most people know that my real name isn’t Panama Dontavious Jackson. On the off chance that this is news…

Palindrome swag.

Palindrome swag.


Anyway, while my name is my name, my “name” also isn’t my name. Dig? This has been the case in my life for quite some time. In high school, I had a nickname. I was Phife, though we spelled it Phyffe. I was short and one of

my boys yelled PHIFE across the room one day in English class while attempting to wake me up and a nickname was born. Apparently he’d already mulled the idea of giving me that nickname and time + opportunity


Well, I was just “Sexy” in college and then after a wayward walk through some bushes, I became Panama Jackson. Point is, I’ve had nicknames for a while. In DC, where I work, sleep, eat, and entertain I’ve been “Panama” for at least 8 years. Point is, my name is a working, functional outside of the Internets nickname. I trade my name for value at this point. F*ck with me you know I got it. Dig?

What this means it that more often than not, seeing as I have a working, monetized pseudonym, I introduce myself as “Panama”. Many people introduce me as “Panama” and most folks either don’t know or don’t remember my real name. This presents very few issues…until it does.

See there is a populace who either thinks I’m a douche or an idiot when I introduce myself as such. See, for me its just easier since 9/10 I’m at an event because of things I’ve done related to the name Panama. But folks are always like, “is that your real name?” And its just rude to lie to people, so I just say “no, but I write under this name and that’s why I’m here today so, thanks for these dry crackers and cheese.”

But it always leads directly to, “so what’s your real name?”


Now…sometimes I answer and sometimes I say “you won’t remember, its not important” but people seem to be really interested in knowing real names. I dont know if this is because I’m not a rapper or because people really hate talking to pseudonyms. They’d rather call you by your real name unless your a celebrity. I mean, how many folks know Jamie Foxx’s real name is Eric Bishop? But nobody is calling him Eric. Hell, half the entertainers you come across are using some variant of their name, if they’re using a variant at all.

Oh, and by populace, I mean women and white people. Women ALWAYS want to know my real name. In fact, they are the most persistent. And as soon as I say my real name, they then refuse to refer to me by Panama. Which is fine, except, chances are we met because of the whole “Panama” thing. In fact, folks go OUT of their way to call me my real name upon learning it. I can’t figure out why this is for the life of me. I suppose its because I’m not famous and I’m not 13 so the idea that nicknames are childish, even ones that have become a job.

Interestingly, guys don’t seem to care at all. I’ve only had a few men ask me if Panama was my real name and that was ONLY once they got to know me down the line. Maybe we’re all so used to calling ninjas named Dwayne Carter “Lil Wayne” and people named Clifford Harris “T.I” that nicknames don’t mean much to us. Or perhaps its just a bit…um…special…to be that enthusiastically interested in another man’s anything.

So maybe, for women its the intimacy involved. This idea that if I know your name, I’ve got a leg up on other people, even if I never see or speak to you again. It’s the knowing…and since women do tend to be more interested in details that makes sense. But…I live and work in a Twitter and blog world where I don’t know half the folks outside of their handles. If you tell me your name is LickMeBigDaddy, I may call you LMBD, but your real name is kind of not that important to me unless we intend to take it a step further…and only because I can’t tell my momma that I’m dating a woman named LickMeBigDaddy.

So the point of all this is this: am I douche for introducing myself to people as Panama even if I know they’re gonna want to know the real name and it’s gonna become a thing? Do you have a problem speaking to a person using “not their real name?” Do you have this issue? Are you a nicknamer? Do people always want to know your real name?

Tell your story. Do you care to know a person’s real name or not (assuming it aint in a professional setting like at a law firm and you’re trying to get me out of a sexual harassment charge from the time I humped a pole near a playground. Which totally never happened.)

How do you feel about pseudonyms?



Filed Under:
Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future. You can hit him on his hitter at

  • Val

    Welp, there was a time when I worked in radio. Part of that time I worked as an on air personality, as they used to say. Just before I started working on air I was convinced by a few other djs that I should come up with an on air name. So, I did.

    At first it was strange because before long almost everyone I knew began to only call me by my on air name. And, since I was living in an area where I didn’t know a lot of people prior to my radio work, my radio persona kind of became my entire persona.

    All in all it was cool because it gave me a sort of invisibility since few people knew my real name. Also, I think most people assumed that my radio name was my name. Which meant that almost no one ever asked me what my real name was.

    As I think about it I kind of miss that anonymity. These days I seem to spend a lot of time trying not to be tracked by large corporations while online. So a little of that same anonymity would be nice right about now.

    And, no, I’m not going to tell you what my on air moniker was. So there.

    As for other people with AKAs/ pseudonyms, it just depends. If I’m going to be spending time with a person out and about I like to know their real name. I mean if you should turn up missing while we’re shopping at the mall I don’t want to sound like an idiot telling the police I only know you by ‘Spanky Fuqua’. That would be embarrassing.

    • Sahel

      Ghostery and TOR browser. And i also paid to have my digital footprint reduced to ghost form,thats how i avoid being tracked. But you wonder how VSB meetings would go ey,imagine if ish gets real and you tell the cops you were with TX10 inch,man.

      • Val

        Thanks for the info, Sahel. I’ll check those out. Lol. Yeah, that’s the funny part about meeting online friends in real life, the online names.

        • Good thing no one on VSB wants to meet me in person- Whew! LMAO!!!

          • Sahel

            Yeah,imagine a table full of people being introduced to the perverted alchemist

            • And I’ll introduce myself like this- as I have always done:
              “Hello, my name is Perverted Alchemist, who and how the f*ck are you?” LOL!

              • HRH Prince Farouk I

                That would be hilarious

                • You have to admit though, it’s quite a formal way of greeting isn’t it? LOL!

          • Todd

            Come up to New York sometime. We New York VSBs and VSSs do hang out together. Though it was a trip hearing Rewind’s government name for the first time. LOL

            • Don’t tell me his real name is something like Aloysius, LOL!

              • panamajackson

                I have no idea what his real name is…but what’s wrong with the name Aloysius? *folds arms*

      • Tx10inch


    • Oshun

      LMAO @ Spanky Fuqua!

      Heyyy Val!! :) *waving*!!

      • Val

        Hiya, AM!


    • 321mena123

      If I have to tell the police that your name is Spanky, you just won’t be found.

    • panamajackson

      Clearly, I know that life. Funny thing is I dont even mind telling folks my real name, it just ends up becoming a story or a moment of confusion. I feel more sorry for my friends who ALWAYS struggle with how to introduce me. lol

      • Val

        Once a relative came through on a road trip with a couple of friends of hers and it was funny the first time she introduced me to her friends. She didn’t know which name to use and got frustrated and told me to explain my name situation. Lol.

  • I Am Your People

    Kid Fury has done a few podcasts talking about the fact that people need to chill with finding out his real name. It’s like, look, you know my blog/Twitter/YouTube/podcast. Even though it gets personal in these social media streets. you know “Kid Fury,” you don’t know [real name redacted], so stop trying to find out the real name.

    If I know you from back in the day, I’m calling you by your real name. But if I meet you for the first time and you’re Panama Jackson, then PJ it is….

    Random note: I once met a performance artist names Amber Flame. She complained that people always ask what her real name is. Amber Flame is the name on her birth certificate.

    • nillalatte

      My daughter sent me a text one day of a customer’s name she was dealing with: Philonya D!ck . Pronounced: feel on ya d!ck. That was the poor girls REAL name. Someone should have smacked her mother.

      • Oshun


      • Sahel

        The mom got seriously turned out by that girls father lol

      • HRH Prince Farouk I

        Stop playing! lol. some parents are mean

      • AngelaOnToday

        Smh, I took my son to school last week to drop off school supplies. I walked by the teacher’s little wall of her students’ names. I see the name “Icyc”. Y’all, the teacher informed me that it was pronounced “Isaac”. Just No.

        • WIP


        • Val

          That’s what happens when your mother is a hip hop head. Lol.

      • panamajackson

        That is the epitome of f*cked up.

      • WIP

        So I was just talking about this with a co-worker ( I work with a lot of teachers) and she advised me of twins given the names Syphalia and Gonneria (no idea how they were spelled). The mother saw the names in the clinic…

        • Aly


          • WIP

            I found it a little hard to believe but she has assured me these children exist, LOL. I’d be surprised if the names haven’t been changed by now…

        • 321mena123

          This makes no sense. Like, one of the nurses didn’t speak up. Why would you be so ignorant?

      • Call child protective services, just based off that.

      • SuperStrings

        When I taught, there was a girl whose name was pronounced Shay-bliss. Her mother said she named her after the wine (Chablis).

        • Val

          Wow, that’s why people need to do a little researcher before naming a kid something like that.

          • SuperStrings

            Yeah you’re right. Shoot, people should do a lot little research on a whole lotta things.

    • Todd

      Hey, I went to school with a girl named Precious Paris…as in what is on her birth certificate.

      Some people need to stop with these names! *smh*

    • panamajackson

      Can’t lie…I’d probalby ask somebody if that was their stage name.

    • ForeverCC

      My husband has a very “interesting” name. Interesting enough that when we met I asked to see his government issued ID because I didn’t believe it was really his name. It annoys him to no end that he is constantly asked what his real name is…and he’s the third. lol Needless to say, I informed him that if we ever got married and had children, he would be the last with that name…

  • Nubiana

    *resists urge to yell, “FIRST!” left over from recently-concluded adolescent years*

    I usually have at least one semi-philosophical theory about things like this, especially when you’re talking about female tendencies versus male tendencies. But tonight, I merely have this to say:

    As a humanoid being of the feminine persuasion, I can testify that women are especially keen on real names. I have a friend who, just this week, allowed me to call him by his guv’ment name for the first time, and I almost did a happy dance. Why is that, you ask? What takes place in the inscrutable labyrinth of the female mind to make the ability to reach beyond someone’s street name so coveted?

    Menoknow. The mystery remains.

    • Sahel


    • “What takes place in the inscrutable labyrinth of the female mind to make the ability to reach beyond someone’s street name so coveted?

      Menoknow. The mystery remains”

      I know, but I’m not going to blow up the spot at this point.

      Maybe some other time…

    • Todd

      The answer to the mystery is simple…INTIMACY!

      I had this friend in college that hung out at the rec center playing ball a lot, and I only knew him by his nickname. We hung out, but we weren’t particularly close. One day, we were walking out of the rec center, and came across some girls who screamed out his government name, which to that point a) I’d never heard, b) sounded a bit less…macho and c) screamed it in a tone that made it clear that homeboy could get it. I looked at him and asked “is that your government name?” He nodded yes…then ran after the girls.

      Methinks he got a workout after that, if you get my drift. LOL

      • some (but not all) gub’ment names have an attractive, borderline sexy ring to it, esp after being known by your nickname for so long….this dude everyone called Que, finding out his name was Quentin kinda made him sexier lol….theres no logic to it, its just life lol

      • Soula Powa

        Cosigning Todd, it is really that simple.

    • panamajackson

      And there it is. LOL. I’ve long wanted to know a real good answer to that. Menoknowtoo.

  • LadyIbaka

    No, I do not care to know a person’s real name. If you introduce yourself as humpty dumpty, I’ll just call you humpty d. 99.9% of my phone contacts have nicknames. Why? When I first meet a person, I nickname them. Each and every person I meet. Today I met an elohssa, his name is stupido on my phone.

    I have a hard time remembering names and faces, especially those of white people (girls in particular. But if you are a red head-I’ll def remember you). African names are complex, I don’t have the time to memorize your name when it is Ofongologofufuegusi. So I’ll just nickname you the glutton.

    No, you are not a douche for introducing yourself as PJ. What’s their business anyway. Are they your moda or fada?!

  • Dignan

    I met my best friend on the internet. He and I were damned close, and yet it was several years before he ever knew my real name.

    In my defense, he never asked. He knew some of my darkest secrets, but he didn’t know my name.

    • Quick question: Who in the world is Dignan?

    • I have PLENTY friends who are shocked that my real name isnt India…my first name is only used on official documents, its no big deal if ppl dont know it….

  • nillalatte

    People always calling me by nicknames. I swear, I kid you not, black folks are the worst for giving me nicknames! LOL I could get several ID’s on the nick names my friends have come up with, silly people. Didn’t we talk about this once before? Okay, never mind. Anyways, I’m from the South. ERRBODY has a nickname. Shugah, honey, sweetie and who can forget the infamous June Bug? LOL Tito. Tito and I worked together. I have no idea to this day what that man’s real name was either. Bo is a popular nickname too and it ain’t even close to Bo’s real name. Then you wanna get really country? Squeeky, Butch, Bubba (err hillbilly and his cousin is named Bubba!) Oh, and Dash I see you! :D Anywho, whatever. You want me to call you Elmer. Okay, but you really don’t look like glue.

    • Val

      One of the funniest nicknames I’ve heard is ‘Little Junior’. That’s was from some Nick Cage film I saw. And, I actually gave a guy I used to know the nickname ‘June Bug’. He was a junior and I always figured that nicked name was for people who were juniors. Am I wrong?

      • nillalatte

        Oh, girl, Junior, little or not, is a popular hillbilly nickname too. Don’t know about the correlation of June Bug and Junior, but I found that name one of the more interesting ones. The June Bug I knew hung on street corners where the sneakers hung on power lines. I have never figured that out either. *walks away whistling.

        • Val

          I think back in the day sneakers hanging on a telephone wire meant something. Now, I think people do it because it’s always been done. Just a city tradition. I have no idea what the original meaning of it was.

          • Sahel

            I always thought it meant a gang related murder.

            • Val

              Well, I’ve seen it in places where I don’t think there were any gangs.

              • Sahel

                I see meth labs in places i didnt expect to,lol

            • Oshun

              Me too!!

          • esa

            sneakers are thrown on powerlines in memory of someone who died ~*~

            • Val

              I kind of figured that may have been the original meaning but I wasn’t sure.

          • SuperStrings

            Where I’m from it was to let you know who’s turf you were on. You see the sneaks, you better not have on the wrong gear.

        • miss t-lee

          My late uncle was nicknamed June Bug…lol
          I think every family has one.

    • panamajackson

      You do NOT want to get me started on family nicknames of country folks. I was in Alabama a few weeks ago, Opelika to be exact (sup PA) and had a long convo with my dad about the name of one of my cousins which I didn’t know until I saw his REAL name printed in the wedding program. This cousin is 45 years old. My ENTIRE life I thought his name was another regular name only to find out the regular name I’d been calling him was the shortened version of a nickname his father gave him at birth.

  • If you introduce yourself by your nickname or “pseudonym” then I think it’s okay to call you by that name. On the other hand, if I do not know you personally and introduce myself as Mildred and you take it upon yourself to call me “Pooh bear”, then we have a problem. I didn’t introduce myself as Pooh bear, my name is Mildred!

    Also, I don’t care to know your real name Panama. You look like a Panama. lol

    • nillalatte

      Whenever I think of Panama Jackson, I envision sun glasses and Hawaiian shirts. lol

      • HRH Prince Farouk I

        I think like a hispanic indiana jones or something. Dont know why. “Panama Jackson and the Island of lost beauties” produced by Lucasfilm and ish

        • panama jackson and the sirens of black twitter

          • Panama Jackson and the Dope Boys of Old National Hwy should close out the trilogy.

            • panamajackson

              This is my favorite movie.

        • Brother Mouzone

          When I first heard the name Panama Jackson,I envisioned a welterweight boxer from a place with a high hispanic population like Miami or New

          • I thought of a matador/revolutionary from Central America :o)

    • panamajackson

      When I tell folks my real name, they often rename me anyway. YOu don’t look like an XYZ…you look like a Brandon…or a Panama. That’s been said to me.

      • ForeverCC

        The funny thing is you look like a friend of mine named Brandon, and I wondered if that was your government name. Because all Brandons look alike…

        • panamajackson

          So I’ve heard. lol

  • Pillows McGee

    i dont really care about pseudonyms ill call people whatever you want to be called to a point. For example, If you insist on being called Sho Nuff Big Tyke and im trying to have a conversation, im not going to try to get your attention or address you as sho nuff big tyke, ill just say excuse me sir, mister, mam, something like that. also i feel like if we are conducting business of any kind, I need to know your real name if money or services are being exchanged in any form (that sounds so wrong)

    • oh if i dont particularly care for your name, you getting my man or sweetie all day

      • I’m horrible with remembering names, so everyone is darling, shnookums, sweetheart and bew till I get that name memorized

        • Kema

          I’m worse… I just wont ever address you by anything.

          • everyone is sir and ma’am at work cuz i just dont care enough to remember everyone’s names lol

        • Epsilonicus

          I just point and say “you”

    • panamajackson

      for contracts, i put my real name b/c of my SSN. other than that…its PJ…hell all of my invoices have my name and pka Panama Jackson on them.

  • HRH Prince Farouk I

    I call people whatever they want to be called. “He momma call him Clay imma call him Clay…”Funny you would write this, I have the same experience with ladies I meet especially off the internet (not in a sketchy way), its like once we get to chatting on twitter I get a DM asking if Farouk is my real name and if I m a prince, I usually go no “I m a goat herder” lol. I m not good at giving nicknames but I m that person from high school you meet 20 years later who would remember your nickname and why we even started calling you that.

  • Oshun

    My comment was swallowed like Jonah in the belly of the fish.

    -If you introduce yourself as humpty dumpty, no eyebrows will be raised. You shall be known to me as humpty d.

    -I am a nicknamer because I can never remember people’s names and faces, especially if they are white (particularly white girls. But if she is a red head, I’ll definitely recognize her). 99.9% of the people on my phone have nicknames.

    -African names are complex, sometimes tedious, so therefore I resort to nicknames. If your name is Olofongofufuegusi, your nickname will be the glutton. Today I had the real pleasure of meeting an elohssa, whom was promptly nicknamed and filed away on the phone as stupido.

    -No, you are not a douche for using a pseudonym. Why are people bothered? Are they your moda or fada to have a say in it?

    • Sahel

      I like suits but they under use Gina Torres in my opinion.

      • LadyIbaka

        How so? She is well utilized in that show. This season she’s pissed/pissing the lleh out of me. She is being flaky with her loyalty to Harvey. Harvey deserves a whole lot more than whatever morsels he’s been offered thus far. But the tables done changed….every man for himself and God for us all.

      • She was underused in “Firefly” as well, but I’ll talk about that later…

        • Sahel

          Geek alert

        • If they ever find a way to make an interesting Wonder Woman movie Torres should play Artemis.

          • no such thing as an “interesting Wonder Woman movie”

            • There was no such thing as an interesting Wonder Woman TV show and they made that. Of course, Lynda Carter having a rack didn’t hurt anything either, LOL!

            • Yeah, for such a cornerstone character her villians gallery is for sh*t. No one is paying their scrilla to see Diana battle the Cheetah and Male Patriarchy.

          • If that happens, I’ll watch it for no other reason than her being in it. She’s also the reason why I watched Cleopatra 2525- don’t judge me, LOL!

            • I’m will judge you but I feel like I should give you an award for that too.

      • Oshun

        How so? Gina T is utilized just fine.This season she has pissed me off. Her loyalty towards Harvey has been absolutely flakey.

        • Sahel

          She made Harvey. Shes the boss,i dont get why they dont give her a more intricate story line other than putting out fires that Harvey starts.

          • Oshun

            She did NOT make Harvey! Harvey made himself! What?!?! Harvey put in WORK. Being a boss does not mean that you made anyone, just means you running the ship. That’s all.

            • Sahel

              She put the dude through Harvard and gave him a chance. She made him

              • Oshun

                excuse me?! with her PERSONAL monies?! Or was he working his ssa off. C’mon. She also benefitted tremendously from this business transaction. She can have several seats at this point if that’s her thought process.

    • BreezyX2

      MAMI: Don’t encourage Shamira to talk about Suits, I have not caught up on this season as yet.

      • Oshun

        Dear God! Catch up already. There are so many discussables about that show and because of your slowness…..lawd!

    • WIP

      “My comment was swallowed like Jonah in the belly of the fish.”

    • Shamira


      YOU KNOW IT DID !!!!!!

      In my head I’m Donna. But in real life I’m actually pretty lame, lol.

      I’ll save any discussion of specifics for Breezy’s sake :-)

      • Val

        What is suits?

        • ForeverCC

          The best show EVER on USA. It’s about lawyers…I’m not really sure how else to describe it.

          • Val

            Okay, thanks. I don’t have cable so I’ll have to wait until it comes on Netflix of Hulu.

            • Shamira

              first season is on netflix, I believe. Might be the first 2. they’re on season 3 right now.

              • Val

                I’ll check it out when I’m finished watching Sleeper Cell.

            • Oshun

              Errrm, Val….you don’t have to have cable, nor netflix or hulu. Watch it for free online!!!

              • Val

                Where, on

                • Oshun

                  lol, no.


                  -click on tv shows, type in suits. enjoy. Use putlocker or sockshare.

          • Oshun

            DAMN STRAIGHT! The BESTEST show, period in the history of American television.

      • Oshun

        Girrrrl, I have a super girl crush on Donna! DAMN. Scratch that, I LOVE her. As for Harvey, he and Idris Elba are on the SAME level. That man, JESUS. Mmmmmh, mmmmmh. He got some hidden brotha in him.

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