Retta: My parents are from Liberia, and Liberians are ALL about school. It’s like, no joke. Most of them send their kids to the States to go to school because they think that’s where the best schools are, that sort of thing. And I was a math-science girl, I was pre-med. I was supposed to be a neurosurgeon.
And I remember when I started doing stand up, I was like, “Shit! My mother is going to be like, ‘Are you fucking kidding me right now?’” And I remember calling my mom and saying, “So I’m going to drive to California and do the stand-up thing so I can get into TV.” And my mom, you know, she didn’t freak out like I thought she was totally going to freak out. My dad freaked out. He was like, “Please get health insurance.” That was his big thing, “GET HEALTH INSURANCE.” But my mom was like, “Just remember you’re carrying around your father’s last name. So don’t embarrass him.” She was like, “Do the best that you can. Don’t go playing. If you’re going to do, do it.” So, I dropped my last name so as not to embarrass my father.
But God bless, because a lot of parents wouldn’t…
Ming-na: You know, we have to talk. Because I dropped my stage last name Wen for the longest time when I did ER - which, by the way, I got to tell my mom, “I got to be a doctor for 5 years so, write that off the list.” because of same issues, fatherly things.
But now, I have it back because I’m proud being who I was born as. And we have so much to talk about, girl.