Chances are you’ve heard of Justice Namaste ’17. Her name is undeniably unique, and if you haven’t heard of her, you’ve probably heard her – Namaste masterfully executed her solo with the Accidentals at Stone Hill last Mountain Day. But regardless of whether you’ve heard her, heard of her or neither, everyone can enjoy listening to what the first-year had to say when we sat down and talked about what article of clothing she most desires, life in Willy F and what it’s like to have two moms.
So, Justice, tell me about your name!
My parents wanted to give me and my brother names with a lot of meaning. So my first name is “Justice,” which obviously has a lot of meaning, and my middle name is “Audre” after the poet Audre Lorde, who is a black feminist poet. And my last name, “Namaste,” is a Hindu word, a greeting, and a lot of people know it because of yoga. It has a lot of translations. The one that my parents use most often is that it’s like a greeting, as in, “a place in me is saying hello to a place in you.” Sort of like in a peaceful meeting of souls – a sort of interaction. They liked the openness of that. It’s not either of their last names, but it’s my last name and my brother’s last name, so they hyphenated it onto their original last names. My younger brother also has an awesome name – his name is “Mandela” after Nelson Mandela, and his middle name is “Peace.” So my parents named each of us after a person and a value. They wanted names to have a lot of meaning, not in a “I’m-giving-you-a-name you-have-to live-up-to way,” but in like a “I-want-your-name-to-be-something-important [way].”
Has your name affected your life?
I am considering going to law school, which doesn’t really have anything to do with my name. But yeah, I get jokes that I should be like a cop. Or people say I should be a judge, because I could be Justice Justice Namaste.
How was your first ever Mountain Day?
Mountain Day was so much fun!. We [the Accidentals] sang “Royals,” and I had the solo, which is like ridiculously nerve-racking slash exciting.
Did your entry go see you perform?
A lot of my entry came to see me, which is really sweet, and both my JAs [Junior Advisors]. I love my entry so much. People always have mixed feelings about the entries. Some people love theirs, some people only spend time with a couple people from theirs, but I feel like I’m comfortable. I’ve spent a lot of time with everyone in my entry. And I feel like I have the best and most interesting and unexpected conversations with everyone in my entry, which I like.
My JA is in the Accis. My entry always cheered for her whenever she sang.
One of my JAs, Willis [Kuelthau ’15], is in Sankofa, and at the Jamboree, we [Willy F] knew that he would be performing. Literally our whole entry lost their minds. We were so loud and obnoxious. My entry’s kind of like the kind of group of people where if you’re easily embarrassed, you don’t want to be in our entry because if we go to one of your events, we’re going to be louder than anyone else, and everyone else is going to be looking at us and looking at you. If you’re not okay with that, you won’t be super comfortable in our entry. We all just, like, love each other.
What kind of entry things have you guys been up to?
We go to games. I had an orchestra performance, [for the Berkshire Symphony Orchestra], and my entry came, which is really nice because I do not necessarily expect people to come to a classical concert – that was really nice. We have people on a lot of fall sports teams, so people have been going to see all of those, and we eat together a lot.
Are you excited for Homecoming?
I’m so excited for Homecoming! I really want cow print leggings. I have so many purple and gold things, and I feel like cow print leggings will complete the whole look. I don’t really have anything cow print. I had no reason to have anything cow print before I came. I have a lot of purple stuff because purple’s been my favorite color since I was a little kid so I was like, “Yes! An excuse to wear purple pants and no one will look at me weird!”
You talked a bit about having two moms. What was it like to grow up with that dynamic?
To me, it feels no different than having a mom and a dad probably would. I mean, I’ve never experienced that. A lot of times, what you hear when people are like, “You should not be raised by two moms or two dads,” they mean that you should have a male and a female role model. Everyone needs those people in your life. [But] just because you have two moms doesn’t mean you don’t have a male role model. I have godfathers and family friends and uncles, but I also have aunts and godmothers. I feel like you need lots of positive influences in your life. So for me, having two moms is the same as having a mom and a dad except that people are more surprised.
Did you feel that way as a kid?
When I was a little kid and I told people, little kids would just belike, “Oh, okay.” They move on with their lives. But as you get older – I remember in middle school one kid came up to me and told me he knew, like it was a secret, and I was like, “It’s not a secret.” But you don’t walk up to people and say, “Hi, I have a mom and a dad and two little brothers and a fish and a cat.” It’s kind of awesome because a lot of people I’ve [met] in my life are like, “Oh, that’s so cool!” and want to ask me questions about it, which is 100 percent fine. It’s sort of interesting because I’m at the beginning of the generation that will have a lot of kids who have parents who are gay or lesbian. A lot of people our age who are in more liberal environments know people who are gay or lesbian or transgender or anything like that, but they haven’t met anyone whose parents are because that’s an older generation thing that isn’t as common. So I think that’s really cool.
It really is cool.
Also, I’m half black and half white, I have one black mom and one white mom. Only one gave birth to me but they wanted me to reflect both of them. My little brother is also half black and half white. They put a lot of thought into us between our names and everything, but that’s our thing. I look like both my moms, which confuses people because they’re like, “Which one gave birth to you?” It’s something that I don’t think about a ton because it’s so normal, but when people ask me about it, I think it’s kind of cool. People oftentimes ask and are like, “I don’t know if it’s okay [or] if you want to talk about this,” and I’m like, “It’s my life! You want to talk about your life! I want to talk about my life! It’s all good!”