Sunny Hostin Regrets Changing Her Name From Asunción After Journalist Nancy Grace Couldn’t Pronounce It
Sunny Hostin (born Asunción Cummings Hostin) is opening up in her new memoir I Am These Truths, on her struggle with her identity and being accepted as Black and Latina.
With a Black father, and Puerto Rican mother Sunny Hostin, 51, says she never felt like she fit in.
“I have lived in the gray for so long, and it really is an uncomfortable place to be. My Black family considered me an other … my Puerto Rican and Jewish family treated me as other because I didn’t look like any of them either.”
She later started going by “Sunny” after appearing on Court TV with Nancy Grace, who struggled with her name and suggested she chose a nickname.
“She struggled with it so much. ‘Asunción, it’s not going to work, and you’re really good and you’re really talented. You should use a nickname.’ I just became Sunny Hostin, and I just went with it, honestly.”
Years later, Sunny Hostin said wishes she didn’t just accept a new name as she feels that by dropping her name Asunción, she lost a piece of her Latin identity.
“I still regret it, I think I allowed my identity to be stripped from me, for my job. I don’t think Nancy was trying to strip me of my identity, or you know, Americanize me, or colonialize me, or anything like that. Nancy’s my friend, and it wasn’t ill-intentioned. I don’t think people would question my identity as much if I stuck with my given name.”
“I want to be seen in my complexity, I am Afro-latina; I am many things. And it’s weird in this country. People can’t acknowledge that — they can’t see that.”
Sunny Hostin, who is also the Senior Legal Correspondent and Analyst for ABC News, says:
“I was given a dressing room on a different floor; and I noticed that other co-hosts that came on after I came on were given dressing rooms on the main floor with everyone else.”
When asked if she thought it was because of her race, she said:
“I think I was treated differently than a white woman would have been treated. It’s those little indignities that make you feel and question whether or not you are being treated differently, whether or not the expectations for you are just different.”
She said that her experience urged her to tell her story in her memoir.
“You wonder am I being crazy? Am I being sensitive? Am I playing the race card? And I decided that it felt wrong to not tell the truth … to paint this rosy picture.”
While she was adamant about sharing her complete story, she said ABC wanted to censor parts of her project.
“They were concerned about how it made the network look. I called the publisher and I said ‘I have something else to say’, and that was probably the hardest part of the book because my employer didn’t know that I was doing that. But I did it, and it felt good to do it because I think the foreword is hopeful but it’s truthful.”
She added that she hired a lawyer out of concern for retaliation.
I Am These Truths was released today (Sept. 22nd).
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