This week’s news celebrates names that step outside the ordinary, from the worlds of hip-hop, college sports, and Spanish grandmothers.
Kulture and counter-culture
Maybe it’s the Cardi B effect. Last week the rapper and her husband Offset announced the birth of their daughter, Kulture Kiari. It’s a bold, possibly unique choice that reflects her father’s name and her parents’ values. Not surprisingly, the world had things to say about it.
This article is a welcome relief from the usual roll call of “crazy” celebrity baby names (which often turn out to be not actually that crazy). It’s a proud celebration of “extra juicy” names, not just because they made a change from the ones Boring Normals use, but because they challenge a dominant culture that has long belittled names that were out of the ordinary:
“As if language isn’t fluid! As if the tongue weren’t meant to always be learning! And what’s the result of it? Misplaced shaming and generations of missed opportunities.”
Now there’s encouragement to anyone thinking of naming outside the box.
Another defense of Cardi B’s baby name agrees that Kulture’s name shows her parents’ vibrancy and creativity. It’s not bestowed just for the sake of being a zany celebrity, but shows the pride they take in their, well, culture. And, as Cardi B said on her social media, “Anything else woulda been basic.”
Where do your naming tastes lie? Are you basic and proud, do you like names that blow your mind – or somewhere in between?
(And just for fun, since we’re talking about rappers: are you saying these rappers’ names correctly?)
Remember Riggins? His family is back for another boy name! Because if it’s difficult to decide whether or not to use an out-there name for a son, imagine what it’s like to name his brother!
Now I am pregnant again and it’s another boy. We struggled so much coming up with a name for Riggins, we are both clueless now.
But I don’t want Riggins to feel like his name sticks out like a sore thumb. I love his name and it suits him. The girls have family-inspired names, and Riggins’ middle is a family name, too.
My husband’s only suggestion for naming this boy has been Hardy and I’m not a fan.
I guess I’m trying to ask if we should stick to the traditional family names, or should I find something unique to go with Riggins?
Our last name is very common so unique isn’t such a bad idea to me.
The Name Sage replies:
by Sophie Kihm
Names are very revealing. They carry demographic information—names often give clues as to one’s approximate age, race, nationality, and gender. However, our names say more about our parents than they do about us. A child’s name can tell you a lot about his or her parents’ values.
For example, Jason Aldean and Brittany Kerr named their oldest son Memphis Aldean Williams. Memphis indicates their deep ties to the South—both as the birthplace of country music and of Jason and Brittany. And Aldean, the middle name baby Memphis shares with his father, tell us the couple values family, heritage, and tradition.
Brittany is now pregnant with their second child, and I wonder if the same values will come across in this baby’s name, or if new ones will be revealed. Likewise, what will we learn about the stars who have never named children before? Will Pippa Middleton use a family name for her baby, or choose something unexpected? Will Kate Upton go the typical supermodel route and pick a daring, bold baby name, or stick closer to her Midwestern roots with a safer, subdued choice? I’ve made my predictions below, but only time will tell.
There’s no two ways about it: unisex baby names are red hot right now!
The latest Top 100 lists for both boys and girls are peppered with unisex names, from once-unisex options now all but abandoned for one gender, like Evelyn and Madison, to names that are increasingly leaning one way or the other, like Aubrey and Avery, Riley and Cameron.
But there’s a difference between unisex baby names and gender-neutral ones.
Truly gender-neutral baby names are still, on the whole, a pretty rare phenomenon. Just take a look at our comprehensive list of the in the US today: only the top two or three (Charlie, Finley, Skyler) feel anywhere near mainstream. The rest of the list is populated by under-the-radar or plain invented picks, like Campbell and Ridley, Ocean and Timber, Kylin and Eastyn.
So, today we’re asking you to nominate your gender-neutral favorites — the names you like equally well for girls and boys. (You can find the thread that inspired this question.)
What’s your favorite name on Nameberry’s truly gender-neutral list?
Are there any unisex names that you prefer on the less popular gender?
Are there any 100% male names you’d consider for a daughter, or female names you’d love to use for a son?
What do you think of the trend for unisex names in general? What’s behind it, and where might it be leading?
Share your thoughts in the comments below, or head on over to or to join the conversation!
By Esmeralda Rocha
The trend has become a torrent with vast numbers of locations from all over the world being chosen for America‘s babies. We now bring you all the globetrotting examples – from hip neighbourhoods to whole continents – all beyond the Top 1000 names in the US in 2017. We’ve broken them up into regions to help us follow the patterns.