African-American Names

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Looking for African-American baby names for your newborn or interested in the origins of unique and beautiful African-American names?

LeToya Luckett on the red carpet

Popular African-American name: LeToya

African-American Girl Names
African American names have origins in many languages including French, Latin, English and a variety of African languages. For example, many African-American girl names utilize the feminine French, Spanish, and Italian article “La” as their first syllable, like Latisha or LaVern. In this way, families can also choose to pass down a traditionally masculine name to a daughter. A couple with a beloved family member named Shawn may choose to name their daughter Lashawna.

African-American Boy Names
Many African American boy names are also derived from foreign languages and utilize the masculine “Le” or “El” as the first syllable, such as LeBron or Elton. Another trend that shows up as a large percentage of the top African American boy names are Biblical and classical Latin and Greek names. Names like Adrian, Dion or Gabriel are popular and timeless choices.

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Traditional African Names
Some parents choose traditional African names for their children due to their unique, musical qualities and ties to their ancestry. Not only are the traditional African names different and special, they are often derived from an African language and carry meaning. Adamma means “beautiful girl” in Igbo, a language spoken primarily in Nigeria. Tafari is an Amharic boy’s name meaning “inspires awe”. What better way to name your child than to instill in that name your love of them and your wishes for their future?

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Malcolm X picture

Famous names: Malcolm

Celebrity Names
Many names are inspired by public figures in the world of social justice, politics, entertainment or sports. Martin, Jackie, Malcolm, Maya, Ella, Harriet or Hank are all names that allude to a rich cultural history and just may lend a hand in inspiring the next generation of African Americans to follow in their footsteps.

Original African-American Names
African American names are among some of the most original. Many names make use of hyphens and apostrophes to combine two names into one or add an extra syllable, like D’Angelo or La-Teesha. Unique spelling of traditional (or not-so-traditional) names is another way to stand out in the crowd. Whether that means interesting capitalization, like TruDee or an alternative spelling, like Ryann or Stefany.

There are tons of great resources when considering what to name your newborn or when delving deeper into your own genealogy, but what is most important is that you feel good about the name you choose for yourself.

By Alison Hines

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Top 30 African-American Baby Girl Names In 2010:
Aaliyah/Aliyah
Alexandra
Alexis
Alyssa
Angel
Aniyah
Brianna
Chloe
Destiny
Diamond
Gabrielle
Hailey
Hannah
Imani
Isis
Jada
Jasmine
Jayla
Jordan
Kayla
Kennedy
Kiara
Laila
Madison
Makayla
Nevaeh
Sydney
Taylor
Tiana
Trinity

Top African-American Baby Boy Names In 2010:
Anthony
Brandon
Caleb
Cameron
Christian
Christopher
Daniel
David
Elijah
Ethan
Gabriel
Isaiah
James
Jayden
Jaylen
Jeremiah
Jordan
Joseph
Joshua
Josiah
Justin
Kevin
Malik
Matthew
Michael
Nathan
Tyler
William
Xavier
Zion

List from babycenter.com

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