If your name isn’t common, chances are it’ll get butchered on a daily basis. Such is the case for David Oyelowo, who plays Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma. Of course “David” is easy to pronounce—it’s the “Oyelowo” that may give people a hard time.
Over the weekend, Oyelowo was presented with the Breakthrough Performance Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala. Oyelowo was presented the award by Brad Pitt, one of Selma’s producers. But first Pitt wanted to make sure people got his name right.
“Tonight we celebrate an actor brave enough to step into the shoes of Martin Luther King,” he said. “And I know that there is one lingering question in the back of your minds, and that question is, how the hell do you pronounce his name?
“It's OK, it’s all right, I've been there—and I’m here to help,” Pitt stated.
The easiest way to teach people pronunciation? You do it with song. And so Pitt made everyone in the audience sing the praises of Oyelowo.
After the lesson, Oyelowo accepted his award and laughed, saying, “You know you’ve broken through when Brad Pitt sings your name!”