Man With Unique Name Refuses To Give Co-Workers His Nickname After They Asked For An 'Easier' Version — 'Never Diminish Yourself'

They told him his name was a mouthful and asked for a shortened version.

Dequiante Brown explaining the importance of his name. @dequiantebrown/TikTok

By now, it should go without saying that names are a big part of our identities. So, it’s crazy that people, especially those in the workplace, seem to dismiss the importance of pronouncing and spelling people’s names correctly.

A man named Dequiante Brown recently shared his uncomfortable experience on the job when his co-workers asked him to shorten his name to make it easier for them to say and remember.


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His coworkers asked him to provide a nickname but he refuses to conform.

At the beginning of the video, Brown first acknowledged that some might struggle with the enunciation of his name at first. He said, “So, I’m aware that my parents gave me a complicated and hard-to-pronounce name.”

At the time he posted the clip, he was working at a hospital where, according to him, he is one of four Black people in the entire facility. It’s easy for people of color to feel they have to assimilate or be someone they are not, but Brown doesn’t feel those pressures.


He told viewers, “I gotta be Black. I gotta be what God intended me to be”. So, when he introduced himself to his new colleagues, he used his full name, Dequiante (dee-kwon-tay).



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Immediately, according to the healthcare worker, his white co-workers began to say things like, “Oh my God. That is a mouthful. Do you have anything shorter?”


Though, like most people, Brown did have a nickname that he uses, he said that he didn’t like how the comments made him feel and decided he wanted to be addressed by his full first name, so he told them “No.” He said that his parents didn’t give him a “basic” name and instead chose to give him a name that “made them feel something.” He believes his name is special and unique, though he is not entirely sure what it means.

His name is a variation of ‘Dequante’, which means you are determined, stubborn, good at business, steady, practical, and responsible. It denotes an air of authority, power, and self-discipline that his parents saw in him when they first laid eyes on their son.

Brown jokingly said that his colleagues are worn out with trying to say his name and are struggling. It’s ironic that people who see complex medical terminology on a daily basis are having such a hard time saying three little syllables.

Because of all of the difficulties surrounding getting his name correct, the TikToker has thought about giving up and having them simply call him “Q” but has been steadfast in his request that they address him in the way he wants them to. He said, that his ancestors had already been forced to take on the names of slave masters, losing their own identities, and he was holding on tight to the family name he was given.


Brown ended his video with some words of encouragement. He said, “To all of you out there that have Black names— undeniably Black names— you’re not diminishing your existence to make other people comfortable. And that goes far beyond your name.”

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NyRee Ausler is a writer and author from Seattle. She covers issues navigating the workplace using the experience garnered over two decades of working in Human Resources & Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.