Eiii! It’s not me ooo. But if you do a Google search on my name, you might mistake this criminally inclined woman for yours truly. Allow me to explain.
Last night I was indulging in my not-so-secret fantasy of becoming a Ghanaian script writer/call center operator. My obsession led me to Google Shirley Frimpong-Manso, whom you’ve heard me mention on M.O.M. before, Ken Attoh, Charles Novia and Pascal Amanfo, all heavy hitters in the West African movie scene. I was friends in secondary with one of these gentlemen.
Now of course, when you’re in the entertainment industry, your private life becomes fodder for blogs, gossip columns and other places where low information thinkers seek amusement. Yes, I am counted amongst this tawdry group, and I am NOT ashamed.
Thread after thread, I discovered something shocking about each of these individuals. Shirley was secretly carrying one of these men’s child. Pascal had swerved some up-and-coming actress who had spent oodles of money coming to shoot a film in Ghana and had left her project DOA. I didn’t even get a chance to ‘investigate’ Charles Novia further, because all this information got me wondering ‘what is out there about me on the innanets?’
I plugged in my name and waited for a firestorm to erupt. To my relief, there were no nude pictures of myself or clandestinely sourced images of me puking my brains out in an alley somewhere. Everything was pretty standard: reports of radio interviews I’d done, my blogs, my work with KBFF, and an arrest report for making terroristic threats.
Who is this woman tarnishing my fairly adequate name? I was frantic. Images of Malaka Grant buying property in my name, opening credit accounts and waving a gun while at it whizzed through my mind. A quick scan through her file revealed that she had lived in several places that I had also lived and worked. Oh, God. No wonder the recruiter for the job I had applied for had not called me back. I was a criminal!
When I woke up this morning, I resolved to sort out this issue as quickly as possible. There have been way too many incidents of innocent people being pulled over and arrested for crimes they didn’t commit simply because another individual shared similar information. I am too pretty to go to prison. I wouldn’t last ten minutes in there. I high tailed it to the one place that could assure me that I would not be serving unjust time: the police station.
I explained my worries to an unconcerned clerk who told me to fill out a background check form and take it upstairs to the admin. Ah. Why couldn’t she seem a bit more sympathetic? I mean there was a woman out there named MALAKA GRANT making terroristic threats! In Fulton county! How is that even statistically possible?
“Maybe you guys just have the same name,” said the balding, pink-faced man in a green polo behind the window pane where I submitted my form.
I looked at him like he was crazy. There aren’t many Black women called “Malaka”, no matter what his prejudice might inform him. Malyka, Malika, Malayka – yes – but NOT Malaka.
“It’s not likely,” I replied tersely before asking him if this step was even necessary. “Should I just get my credit report run?”
“It doesn’t hurt to make sure your BGI (background information) is clean,” he replied. He then told me it would cost $15 to run.
Yeah. He just wanted to make that money. He didn’t care about my safety (or paranoia) at all! I thanked him and prepared to leave. That’s when the receptionist informed me that I could call the police station to get a copy of the arrest report.
“Is that standard protocol?”
“Yes,” she said incredulously. “It’s public record. You have a right to see it.”
Well okay then! I would do that. But first, I needed to run my credit report to make sure I wasn’t an arms dealer or money launderer or anything like that. For some reason, I assumed my bank could help me with that. They could not.
“We can protect your credit for $10-15 a month,” the manager informed me congenially.
“No. I don’t think I need that for right now,” I sighed. “I just want to investigate my credit and make sure nothing fishy is on there. I mean, the odds of another woman with MY name living in Fulton County are pretty slim.”
“Yeah… I’d be concerned if I were you too. Your name is pretty unique.”
Finally! Some validation of my fears!
I thanked the manager and stepped outside to call the police station where Malaka Grant was arrested. A bored officer of the precinct picked up the phone and asked how she could help me. I told her I needed a copy of an arrest report.
“Do you have the incident number?”
“Did you get a copy of your victim’s rights pamphlet?”
“Were you involved in the incident?”
“No! I just want to make sure some woman isn’t using my identity to blow up planes and federal buildings!”
This made the officer pause. Crap. You can’t say “fire” in a movie theater and you probably shouldn’t say “bomb” on the phone with the American police. She was probably putting a trace on my phone at that moment.
“I see,” she said. “What is your name? Spell it. Date of birth?”
I provided her with all my information and waited.
“Okay. Got it right here. This is not you. This individual has a different birthdate.”
“Yeah,” she said, finally letting out a small chuckle. “I guess someone just has your same name!”
“Yeah… I guess. Thanks for all your help!”
I should have been more grateful, but for some reason I was disappointed. Oddly, I was looking forward to the drama of filing a police report and telling Malaka Grant how repugnant she was to me for presuming to steal MY identity! It was going to be an epic showdown, and I was now feeling robbed. However, it’s far more likely that I’m just pissed because I’m not as unique as I had previously presumed – or at least my name isn’t.
Have you ever Googled yourself? Did you find something that gave you cause for concern? Go ahead and share. I promise we will laugh at you.