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Okay But Did You Know Lena Horne Personally?

Updated on May 11, 2010


I get that we identify with celebrities, especially those that come into our homes on a regular basis via our televisions. But see, just cause you know who they are and watch everything they do whether it be acting or on Entertainment Tonight doesn’t mean that you actually know them. Shocking to some I’m sure but that’s the truth of the matter. I don’t care how much you delude yourself into thinking you could be best friends with a celebrity if the two of you met, the bottom line is that in most cases you’re never going to meet them nor have their cell number and become BFFs. So why oh why do some of you feel the need to refer to celebrities you’ve never met only by their first name? Unless they’re Cher or Charro it’s just silly to me that some people think it’s acceptable to call a celebrity or anyone they don’t really know by their first name only. I just have to ask as you write on your Facebook page, “Lena you were such a true talent and inspiration. I’ll miss you, girl.” If you really knew the Lena Horne at all other than watching her movies or going to one of her live shows then by all means I guess you’re on a first name basis if not, keep it to Lena Horne or Ms. Horne please. I get that you liked her as a performer, okay but did you know Lena Horne personally? – Don’t Get Me Started!

It’s this strange phenomenon I’ve never been able to understand. How people can take things that happen to celebrities so personally to the point where they feel they know them. Take the whole Tiger Woods thing for example. I don’t care how many women Tiger Woods has shtopped, it’s none of my business frankly but when you watch the entertainment shows and worse, read comments online with millions of people commenting about “Tiger” and “Elin” as if they’re their personal friends I wanna puke. The same only gets worse when someone has a nickname that their closest friends use but then becomes part of the language of the online Cheetoh stained finger set when they post their comments. Sandra Bullock is a perfect example. Here’s a typical comment, “Sandy, move on with your life and forget all about that scum bag, you’re a classy lady who will find someone that truly deserves you.” I’m sure Sandra Bullock is reading (not) and if she were thinking, “Oh thank you catlvr267, you really made me feel better about the whole situation. Are you available for lunch next week?”

And it’s not only the common folk who do this, the reporters on entertainment shows drive me crazy with their seeming comfort in referring to celebrities whom they don’t know or have never interviewed by their first names. “I saw Tom and Katie backstage at that event as I was interviewing the girls from The Hills and they were just great.” Were they? Was what they were doing having anything to do with you or are you just a typical celebrity-fucker trying to get your fifteen seconds of fame by having been in the same room with someone who is famous?

I know to many this may seem a very small and petty thing to be going off about but it makes me crazy. I particularly love living in Las Vegas where it seems as though every celebrity winds up eventually. I love to read on acquaintances Facebook pages, “Was at Lavo last night with Kim and Chloe” – were you really with them or just among the crowd of people who were in the same room as Kim and Chloe Kardashian? And while we’re on the subject can anyone explain to me what these celebrities do when these nightclubs hire these types of celebrities to “host” nights at their club? What do they do besides show up and sit at a VIP table with their friends?  I don’t get it.

I admit it, I don’t get a lot of things. This whole thing reminds me of an experience a friend of mine had at a theatre his family owned. There was a special event and Dr. Maya Angelou was a special guest speaking to a women’s group that had rented the theatre. My pal is one of those great Italian family guys who thinks and treats everyone like family from the moment that he meets them so it was no surprise that after being in the room with Dr. Maya Angelou for five minutes he said to her, “Hey Maya Angelo (making her name Italian), we need to get you to the stage now.” Dr. Angelou stopped what she had been doing and said, “Have we met before?” My friend nodded to signify they had not. “I didn’t think so. My name is Dr. Angelou.” Now while some may think this was snotty, I totally get it. If you don’t know someone, address them appropriately and respectfully.

So while I too was a fan of Ms. Lena Horne, I can assure that there will be nothing on my Facebook page or website that refers to her by her first name only because I didn’t earn that right by ever even meeting the woman. I do appreciate all that Lena Horne did in her career not only at a time when African Americans were only slightly represented in the movie industry as well as the American society and I’m grateful to be able to watch Ms. Horne’s performances that were captured in film but I also respect her enough to say, “Ms. Horne your talents will be missed.” And for those who choose to just use her first name again I ask, okay but did you know Lena Horne personally? – Don’t Get Me Started!

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    • MotherHubber profile image

      MotherHubber 7 years ago from Southern California

      I loved Dr. Maya Angelou before I read your anecdote, and that just made me love her more.

      The way I see it, there are two themes working in this hub: 1. Our society's mindless celeb-obsession as a (totally agree with you about the Kim and Khloe name dropping b.s. What the hell do these people DO??)


      2. Respect, and the general lack of it. I think I am the only one of my friends who insists that my young children use Mr. and Mrs. prefixes when addressing our 60-something neighbors. I'm sorry, but there is something weird about a 6 year old boy calling a 60-year old woman "Tanya."


    • somelikeitscott profile image

      somelikeitscott 7 years ago from Las Vegas

      Tonymac and Frieda, Thanks so much for the validation. My spouse thought I was crazy on this one!

    • Frieda Babbley profile image

      Frieda Babbley 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      There is much to be said about how we throw people's first names and nicknames around. That goes for the non celebrities as well. I think using first names does make getting into other people's personal lives more "comfortable" for the sayer, but not for anyone else. It's another way of rubbing shoulders with those one doesn't know, I suppose. I'm with Tony, "respect is a very good thing and many people don't use it enough." Great hub, somelikeitscott.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      Great Hub and I think you are absolutely right. Respect is a very good thing and many people don't use it enough.

      Thanks for this.

      Love and peace