African American Names

These names are a subset of American names used more often by African Americans. See also about African-American names.
gender
usage
Aaliyah f Arabic, English (Modern), African American (Modern)
Feminine form of Aali. It was popularized in the English-speaking world by the singer Aaliyah Haughton (1979-2001), who was known simply as Aaliyah. This name received a boost in popularity after she released her debut album in 1994, and also in 2001 after her untimely death in an airplane crash.
Africa 1 f African American (Rare)
From the name of the continent, which is of Latin origin, possibly from the Afri people who lived near Carthage in North Africa. This rare name is used most often by African-American parents.
Aisha f Arabic, Urdu, Western African, Eastern African, Hausa, Swahili, African American
Means "living, alive" in Arabic. This was the name of Muhammad's third wife, the daughter of Abu Bakr. Some time after Muhammad's death she went to war against Ali, the fourth caliph, but was defeated. Her name is used more by Sunni Muslims and less by Shias.... [more]
Akeem m African American
Perhaps a variant of Hakim.
Amare m African American (Modern)
Variant of Amari. This name is borne by basketball player Amar'e Stoudemire (1982-).
Amari m & f African American (Modern)
Meaning uncertain, perhaps from Arabic Ammar. This name has risen in popularity in America at the same time as similar-sounding names such as Jamari and Kamari.
Aniyah f African American (Modern)
An invented name, probably based on the sounds found in names such as Anita and Aaliyah.
Antoine m French, African American
French form of Antonius (see Anthony).
Antwan m African American
Variant of Antoine, in use since the 1960s.
Beyoncé f African American (Modern)
Popularized by the American singer Beyoncé Knowles (1981-) whose given name came from her mother's maiden name (which was originally Beyincé, of Louisiana Creole origin). This name appeared on the United States top 1000 list in 2001, around the time her group Destiny's Child was at the height of their popularity.
Damarion m African American
Combination of the popular phonetic prefix da and Marion 2.
Daquan m African American (Modern)
Combination of the popular phonetic elements da and quan. It can be spelled Daquan or with a capitalized third letter as DaQuan.
Darnell m English, African American
From an English surname that was derived from Old French darnel, a type of grass. In some cases the surname may be from a place name, itself derived from Old English derne "hidden" and halh "nook".
Darrell m English, African American
From an English surname that was derived from Norman French d'Airelle, originally denoting one who came from Airelle in France. As a given name it was moderately popular from the 1930s to the 1970s, but it dropped off the American top 1000 rankings in 2018.
Darryl m English, African American
Variant of Darrell. In the United States, this spelling was more popular than Darrell from 1960 to 1966, being especially well-used in the African-American community.
Davion m African American (Modern)
Recently created name, based on the sounds found in names such as David and Darian.
Davon m African American (Modern)
Combination of the phonetic elements da and von.
DeAndre m African American
Combination of the popular name prefix de and Andre.
DeAngelo m African American
Combination of the popular name prefix de and Angelo.
Dedrick m African American
From an English surname that was derived from the given name Diederik.
Deion m African American (Modern)
Variant of Dion. A notable bearer is retired American football player Deion Sanders (1967-).
Deja f African American (Modern)
Means "already" from the French phrase déjà vu meaning "already seen". It received a popularity boost in 1995 when a character named Deja appeared in the movie Higher Learning.
DeMarcus m African American
Combination of the popular name prefix de and Marcus.
DeMario m African American
Combination of the popular name prefix de and Mario.
Deonte m African American (Modern)
Combination of Deon and the common phonetic suffix tay.
Deshawn m African American
Combination of the popular name prefix de and Shawn. It can be spelled DeShawn or Deshawn.
Devante m African American (Modern)
Combination of the phonetic elements da, von and tay. DeVanté Swing (1969-), stage name of Donald DeGrate Jr., was a singer with the group Jodeci. His name dramatically rose in popularity in the early 1990s when the group released their first successful songs, though it soon began to recede again.... [more]
Diamond f English (Rare), African American (Modern)
From the English word diamond for the clear colourless precious stone, the traditional birthstone of April. It is derived from Late Latin diamas, from Latin adamas, which is of Greek origin meaning "invincible, untamed".
Iesha f African American (Modern)
Variant of Aisha. It was popularized by the song Iesha (1991) by Another Bad Creation.
Imani f & m Eastern African, Swahili, African American
Means "faith" in Swahili, ultimately of Arabic origin.
Ivory m & f African American
From the English word for the hard, creamy-white substance that comes from elephant tusks and was formerly used to produce piano keys.
Jalen m African American (Modern)
An invented name. In America it was popularized in the 1990s by basketball player Jalen Rose (1973-), whose name was a combination of those of his father James and maternal uncle Leonard.
Jaliyah f African American (Modern)
An invented name, based on the sound of Aaliyah.
Jamaal m Arabic, African American
Alternate transcription of Arabic جمال (see Jamal).
Jamal m Arabic, African American
Means "beauty" in Arabic.
Jamar m African American
Invented name, based on the sounds found in names such as Jamal and Lamar. It has been in general use in America since the 1970s.
JaMarcus m African American
Combination of the popular phonetic prefix ja and Marcus.
Jamari m African American (Modern)
Elaborated form of Jamar, sharing a sound with names such as Amari and Kamari.
Jamarion m African American
Combination of the popular phonetic prefix ja and Marion 2. It can also be seen as an elaboration of Jamar.
Janiyah f African American (Modern)
An invented name, blending the popular phonetic prefix ja with names like Shania and Aaliyah.
Jaquan m African American (Modern)
Combination of the phonetic elements ja and quan. It can be spelled JaQuan or Jaquan.
Jaron 2 m English (Modern), African American (Modern)
Invented name, probably based on the sounds of names such as Jared and Darren.
Javion m African American (Modern)
Invented name, using the sounds found in names such as Javon and Davion.
Javon m African American (Modern)
Combination of the phonetic elements ja or jay and von.
Javonte m African American (Modern)
Combination of the phonetic elements ja, von and tay.
Jaylen m & f African American (Modern), English (Modern)
Variant of Jalen (masculine) or Jaylynn (feminine).
Jaylin m & f African American (Modern), English (Modern), Dutch (Modern)
Variant of Jalen (masculine) or Jaylynn (feminine).
Jelani m African American (Modern)
This name began to be used rarely in the United States in 1973 after it was featured in a nation-wide newspaper article about African baby names. It probably represents the Arabic name Jilani, given in honour of the Sufi scholar Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (the meaning quoted by the newspaper article ("mighty") coincides with the meaning of Qadir).... [more]
Jermaine m African American
Variant of Germain. This name rapidly increased in popularity in the early 1970s as a result of the newfound fame of Jermaine Jackson (1954-), a member of the singing group The Jackson 5.
Kalisha f African American (Modern)
Combination of the name prefix ka and Lisha.
Kaliyah f African American (Modern)
An invented name, based on the sound of Aaliyah.
Kamari m & f African American (Modern)
Combination of the sounds found in names such as Jamari, Amari and Kamaria.
Kamiyah f African American (Modern)
An invented name, blending the popular phonetic prefix ka and Maya 2.
Kanye m African American (Modern)
Meaning uncertain. It could be from the name of a town in Botswana (of Tswana origin). Yoruba, Igbo, Xhosa and Fula meanings have also been suggested. It is borne by the American rapper Kanye West (1977-), and the name briefly appeared on the United States top 1000 list in 2004 when he released his debut album.
Keisha f African American
Possibly invented, or possibly based on Keziah. It began to be used in the 1960s.
Kenya f English, African American
From the name of the African country. The country is named for Mount Kenya, which in the Kikuyu language is called Kĩrĩnyaga meaning "the one having stripes". It has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world since the 1960s.
Keshaun m African American (Modern)
Combination of the popular name prefix ke and Shaun.
Keshawn m African American (Modern)
Combination of the popular name prefix ke and Shawn.
Keshia f African American
Probably a variant of Keisha.
Kyrie 1 m African American (Modern)
Invented name, based on the sounds found in names such as Tyree and Kyle. It was popularized as a masculine name by American basketball player Kyrie Irving (1992-).
LaChina f African American (Rare)
Combination of the popular prefix la with the name China.
LaDonna f African American
Combination of the popular prefix la with the name Donna.
Lagina f African American (Rare)
Combination of the popular prefix la with the name Gina.
Lakeisha f African American
Combination of the popular prefix la with the name Keisha. It can be spelled LaKeisha or Lakeisha.
Lakeshia f African American
Combination of the popular prefix la with the name Keshia. It can be spelled LaKeshia or Lakeshia.
Lakisha f African American
Combination of the popular prefix la with the name Kisha. It can be spelled LaKisha or Lakisha.
Lamar m English, African American
From a French and English surname, originally from a place name in Normandy, which was derived from Old French la mare meaning "the pool". In the second half of the 20th century this name has been well-used in the African-American community, probably because of its popular phonetic components la and mar.
Lamont m English, African American
From a Scottish surname that was derived from the medieval Gaelic given name Lagmann, itself from Old Norse lǫgmaðr meaning "law man". This name reached a peak in its American popularity in 1972, the same year that the sitcom Sanford and Son debuted, featuring the character Lamont Sanford (the titular son).
Laquan m African American (Modern)
Combination of the phonetic elements la and quan. It can be spelled LaQuan or Laquan.
LaShawn f & m African American
Combination of the popular prefix la with the name Shawn.
Lashay f African American (Modern)
Combination of the popular phonetic elements la and shay.
Lashonda f African American
Combination of the popular prefix la with the name Shonda. It can be spelled LaShonda or Lashonda.
Latanya f African American
Combination of the popular prefix la with the name Tanya. It can be spelled LaTanya or Latanya.
Latasha f African American
Combination of the popular prefix la with the name Tasha. It can be spelled LaTasha or Latasha.
LaTonya f African American
Combination of the popular prefix la with the name Tonya.
LaToya f African American
Combination of the popular prefix la with the name Toya.
LaWanda f African American
Combination of the popular prefix la and the name Wanda. This name has been used in America since the 1910s. It peaked in popularity in 1977, the same year that actress LaWanda Page (1920-2002) finished portraying the character Aunt Esther on the television comedy Sanford and Son. It subsequently faded from the charts.
LeBron m African American (Modern)
Probably an invented name, though it does coincide with the Spanish surname Lebrón, derived from liebre meaning "hare". This is the name of basketball player LeBron James (1984-).
Levar m African American
Popularized by the American actor LeVar Burton (1957-) after he starred in the popular American miniseries Roots (1977). His birth name was Levardis, after his father, of unknown meaning. It can be spelled Levar or with a capitalized third letter as LeVar.
Marquis m African American
From a noble title that derives from the Old French word marche meaning "march, borderland". The title originally referred to someone who ruled on the borderlands of a realm.
Marquise m African American (Modern)
Variant of Marquis. Technically, marquise is the feminine form of the title marquis.
Marquita f African American
Feminine variant of Marquis.
Nakeisha f African American (Modern)
Combination of the phonetic prefix na and the name Keisha.
Nakisha f African American (Modern)
Combination of the name prefix na and the name Kisha.
Natisha f African American (Modern)
Variant of Natasha, probably modelled on Latisha.
Precious f English (African), African American (Modern)
From the English word precious, ultimately derived from Latin pretiosus, a derivative of Latin pretium "price, worth".
Qiana f African American (Modern)
From the word for the silk-like material, introduced by DuPont in 1968 and popular in the fashions of the 1970s.
Quanna f African American (Rare)
Elaboration of the phonetic element quan.
Rashaun m African American (Modern)
Combination of the prefix ra with the name Shaun.
Rashawn m African American (Modern)
Combination of the prefix ra with the name Shawn.
Shamika f African American (Modern)
An invented name, blending the popular phonetic prefix sha and the name Tamika.
Shanae f English (Modern), African American (Modern)
Combination of the popular phonetic elements sha and nay.
Shanice f African American (Modern)
Combination of the phonetic elements sha and nees.
Shanika f African American (Modern)
Combination of the popular phonetic elements sha, nee and ka.
Shaniqua f African American (Modern)
An invented name using the popular phonetic elements sha, nee and qua.
Shaniya f African American (Modern)
Variant of Shania, or simply a combination of the popular phonetic elements sha, ny and ya.
Shaquille m African American (Modern)
Variant of Shakil. This name is borne by basketball player Shaquille O'Neal (1972-).
Shavonne f English (Modern), African American (Modern)
Anglicized form of Siobhán. In some cases it might be considered a combination of the phonetic element sha and Yvonne.
Shelena f African American (Rare)
Combination of the phonetic prefix sha and the name Lena.
Tajuana f African American
Combination of the prefix ta and the name Juana.
Talisha f African American (Modern)
Combination of the popular name prefix ta and Lisha.
Tamia f African American (Modern)
An invented name, using the initial sound found in names such as Tamika. It was popularized by the Canadian singer Tamia Hill (1975-), who is known simply as Tamia.
Tanika f African American (Modern)
Invented name, probably modelled on the sounds found in other names like Tamika, Tanisha and Tanya.
Taniqua f African American (Rare)
Combination of the popular phonetic elements ta, nee and qua.
Tanisha f African American
Popularized by the African-American actress Ta-Tanisha (1953-), born Shirley Cummings. The name spiked in popularity in the early 1970s, when she was featured on the television series Room 222. She apparently took her stage name from Swahili tatanisha meaning "puzzle, tangle, confuse". The name probably resonated with parents because of its similarity to other names such as Tamika and Natasha.
Taniya f African American (Modern)
An invented name, based on the sounds of names such as Tanisha and Shania.
Tavon m African American (Modern)
Combination of the phonetic elements ta or tay with von.
Terrell m English, African American
From an English surname that was probably derived from the Norman French nickname tirel "to pull", referring to a stubborn person. It may sometimes be given in honour of civil rights activist Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954). It was common in the African-American community from the 1970s to the 1990s, typically stressed on the second syllable. A famous bearer is American football player Terrell Owens (1973-).
Trevon m African American (Modern)
Combination of the phonetic elements tre and von.
Tyquan m African American (Modern)
Combination of the popular phonetic elements ty and quan.
Tyra f Swedish, English, African American
From the Old Norse name Þýri, a variant of the Norse names Þórví or Þórveig. Use of the name in the English-speaking world (especially among African Americans) may be in part from the Swedish name, though it is probably also viewed as a feminine form of Tyrone or Tyree. A famous bearer is the American model and actress Tyra Banks (1973-).
Tyree m African American
From a Scottish surname, a variant of McIntyre. It has been well-used as an African-American name, especially since the 1970s, probably inspired by other similar-sounding names such as Tyrone.
Tyrell m English (Modern), African American (Modern)
From a surname that was a variant of Terrell. Influenced by similar-sounding names such as Tyrone and Darrell it has been used by African-American parents, usually stressed on the second syllable.
Tyrese m African American (Modern)
Invented name, an elaboration of the initial sound in names such as Tyrone, Tyrell and Tyree. It jumped in popularity after the American singer and actor Tyrese Gibson (1978-) released his debut album in 1998.
Tyrik m African American (Modern)
Invented name, influenced by the sounds found other names such as Tyrone, Tyrell, Tyree and Tariq.
Tyrone m English, African American
From the name of a county in Northern Ireland, which is derived from Irish Gaelic Tir Eoghain meaning "land of Eoghan". This name was popularized by American actor Tyrone Power (1914-1958), who was named after his great-grandfather, an Irish actor.
Tyshawn m African American (Modern)
Combination of the popular phonetic prefix ty and Shawn.
Zaire m African American (Modern)
From the name of a country in Africa from 1971 to 1997, now called the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is said to be derived from Kikongo nzadi o nzere meaning "river swallowing rivers", referring to the Congo River.
Zendaya f African American (Modern)
Borne by the American actress Zendaya Coleman (1996-), known simply as Zendaya. Her name was apparently inspired by the Shona name Tendai.