This sentence could be found in any cheap romance novel: “The handsome stranger turned out to be my beloved companion.”
Within that sentence, however, are the first names of people who live in the Mahoning Valley. Can you guess them?
If you said “handsome stranger” and “beloved,” you are obviously the parent who recognizes the name of your child.
Since August 2008, I have been collecting some of the most bizarre first names parents have given to their offspring.
This is my third column on this subject, and the names continue to get more absurd. I just don’t understand the desire to name children after automobiles or brands of alcohol, or to give them names with commas and dashes in them.
This practice, though not unheard of in the white community, is mostly prevalent in the black community.
I did a Google search on this topic. I typed in this search: “Children’s names in the black community.” About 35,700,000 results came up in 0.32 seconds. I then typed in “Children’s names in the white community.” About 30,400,000 results came up in 0.40 seconds.
Here’s what I found by just perusing some of the websites dedicated to these two topics. It appears that there are some in the white community who are giving their children first names of American Indian tribes — Dakota, Cheyenne, Oneida or Shoshone.
Of course, there have been some truly peculiar names given to children of famous white entertainers. Rock musician Frank Zappa named his children Dweezil, Moon Unit, Diva and Ahmet. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow named her daughter Apple.
But can those names compare with these names given to black children: Tremendous 1, Sugeniea and Quinnkishea?
I found one explanation on baby-naming trends from the website people.howstuffworks.com/baby-name-trends-ga2.htm
“In the 1960s, some African-Americans began to give their children names from African cultures. Some adults also changed their names to African or Muslim names,” the website says.
“Because slaves were often assigned the surnames of their owners and given common first names, choosing African names is a way for African- Americans to acknowledge their heritage before slavery. Only a few genuine African names, however, such as Ayana, Kwame and Jabari, have become widely popular in the African-American community.
“Muslim names from the Arabic language, such as Iesha, Jamal, Malik and Aaliyah, have been more popular recently.
“Since the 1970s, it has become more common for African-Americans to create new names for their children by combining their own set of fashionable sounds and syllables. In the 1970s and 1980s, names beginning with La- such as Lashonda and Lashay were most popular. In the 1990s, Sha- names such as Shameka, Shanae, and Shaniqua were fashionable.
“In 2004, names starting with Ja- or ending in -iyah such as Jakayla, Jamya, Janiyah, and Taniyah were in vogue. But the point of this custom, for most parents, is to create a unique name for their child, and many are successful,” the website says.
Creating a unique name may be the goal, but at what cost to the child? Here are the names I collected. If you’re looking for a name for your child, I strongly suggest you avoid these.
Men: Alekum, Tremendous 1, Hickrie, Texas, Knowshon, Dashiki, D’Quale, Dafarus, D’Qwell, De’Juan, Ducis, De’Quince, Dente, Deunta, Track, Trigg, Vandy, Buckshaw, Jacquizz, Saton, Neapoleon, Sanjuan, See’Detrius, Bronx, Mowgli, MiQuale, Dellshone, Jay-juan, Visanthe, Quartez, Meguire, Marangilli, Richawn, Beloved, Handsome Stranger, Vir’Dez, Gift, Jaimin, C’Than, Wilniece, Tekquan, Kinzer, Shoelaces, Seen’Dicious, Jhontae, Morfrasio, Captain, Kwabena, Petross, Patrell, Jerbrail, Ahmaze, Taemarr, Bishop, Bre-Zan , Bre-Yant , Zvi, Glenwynn, Sedan, Melkanoe, Satan, Tabraelyn, Kazzi, Bearnest, JaTavious, Korvotney, Sefton, Suburban, Sincere, Latevin, Sellelpius, Sen’Derrick, See’Treon, Justiz, Isiaha, E’Twaun, Hawathar, Oriental, Lacedarius, Daalow, Nyjer, Tjawonher, Terrian, TraJean, Javor, A-Donte, Oge, Lucipher, Wilus, NacDaniel Jubilee, Zikome, Giezi, TyThin, Jalil, Shick, Estee, Hylen, Rabjaven, African, Curvin, Liuian, Maunjaliec, Gatonye, Secret, Lardarius, Kyriacos, Quirino, Graylyn, Forty, Syd’Quan, Tamarkis, Undemichael Pete, Pharoah, Charvonta, O’Mearo, Ja’Wuan, Khairi, Syrlester, Darshand, Marticrius, Ildefonso, Reck, Kayvon, Nijonjo, Syndric, Surgeo, Teonia, Lewer, Donfregio, Kyriacos, Beamest, Athanasias, Sundoata, Nathew, Qualm, Quayshaun, Lee’Veon
Women: Auntashae, Alyx, Antwanisha, Americka, Aquallynette, Aleidy, Anqualnette, Aspacia, Ashond , Brein, Delislah, Afrodete, Alteeka, Bryleena, Fantastic, Shamatee, Conika, Meleny, Latreena, Janicka, Shanekka, T’Licia, LaRhronda, Shantwone, Shaqawanda, Amorniqua, Chuntivia, Chakenya, La’Teisha, Sereice, Sparkil, Reniesha, Philosophy, Azhrah, Shacole, Magaly, Lorecia, Larcarra, Ieshuh, LoMary, Dawacia, Kallesha, Aquarius, Najiyah, Mutual, Sunday, Le-a (pronounced LEE-DASH-UH), Adelheid, Annletha, T’quera, Daja, Medeli, Olayiwola, Anucha, Guelmary, Maidrenn, Sedell, Kysonia, TaQuale, Semmie, Leneasha, Deondrea, Lathea, Anngella, Amiee, Verleigh, Ta’Knia, Arzaelle, TaQuaesa, Quantiera, Septima, Ebia, Azzerde, Tarajh, Saoirse, Byrdella, Alcora, Cambrelle, Nakkia, Xiomara, Sugeniea, Clematis, Wanleatha, Antikqwa, Claudoria, Neighai, Letarionne, Shandrieka, Shaclecha, Shakuilla, British, Angalyna, Shymara, Shicole, Shalakkeia, Terasja, Kurnita, Change, Nectar, Ti’Airrah, Sharayia, Vesterine, Lequila, Say-Love, See’Trail, Kawanza, Ka’Miyah, Kalyiha, Arkansas (pronounced ARE-KANSAS), Dalysha, Russlin, Jahmarrah, Tennequa, Saranne, Quinnkishea, Shatayah, Brejanae, MaAngelica, Phaneedra, Kwanishia, Thurenata, Equilla, Tawayme, Jawdy, Shaseen, Quansetta, Quansettia, Perpetual, Jahaira, Jariah, Majestic, Trinisa, Ruthsheka, DeMilee, Dwaynika Malika, Seniqua, Deaira, Qiama, Saremda, Schnueke, Cheyeyey, NNeka, Matrice, Shantare, Chree, Ny’Azia, Ny’Asia, Jazzmen, Shiffawn, Dawaica, Ga’Taeja, Marsaydizs, Thirty, Sequious, J’Quasia, Deveni, Dewellah, Peraesia, Ja-Brajasia, Sophawnia, Ja’ Brayasia, Syledah, Lay’Onna, Shauntare, Yahaira, Niakiea, Karizma, Kashia, Shay Yana, Mysh, Paffaela, Auzyonna, Iceleya, Johnikka, Dahleah, Jaquaida, Sharilille, Tochabel, Damashata, Luvely, Tahesaia, Echo, Shaquilla, Aarica, Meggein, Yonna, Iluminada, Tequila, Yumma, Fayzie, Nephateria, Nefaterri, Deairha
Ernie Brown Jr., a regional editor at The Vindicator, writes a monthly column. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org