50 Black Baby Names

Learn the meaning and origins of popular Black baby names

Close-up of mother looking at cute newborn daughter yawning while lying on bed

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Black baby names find their roots all over the world. Some popular names for Black boys and girls have ancient Greek, Hebrew (often Biblical), or Arabic origins. Other common Black names have originated on American soil within the Black community. Newly-coined Black names are often combinations of different name elements, spelling variations, or they are completely original names.

Although many baby names are separated by gender, Verywell Family believes that sex does not need to play a role in your name selection process. So, as you look through these Black baby names, realize that many can be unisex names and you don't have to be limited by traditional ideas of gendered names.

Popular Black Baby Names for Girls

Here are some of the most popular and unique Black baby names for girls along with their meanings, origins, and other interesting information.

Aaliyah

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: High, lofty, sublime
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Alaiya, Alaya, Alayah, Aleah, Alea, Aliah
  • Famous Namesakes: R&B singer Aaliyah
  • Peak Popularity: Aaliyah has been a top 100 name since 2001, the year R&B singer Aaliyah died in a tragic plane crash. It bumped up into the top 50 in 2011 and peaked in 2012 at position 36. As of 2019, Aaliyah is at position 70.

Fun Fact: R&B singer Aaliyah was a big fan of JK Rowling's "Harry Potter" books.

Alexandra

  • Origin: Greek
  • Meaning: Defender
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Alexandrea, Alexandria, Alexandrina, Alexandrie, Alexandrina, Alejandra, Alessandra, Aleksandra, Aleksandra, Oleksandra
  • Famous Namesakes: Singer, songwriter, and actress Alexandra Burke, singer-songwriter Alexandra Stan
  • Peak Popularity: Alexandra hit its peak in 2000 at position 36. Since then, this name has seen a slow but steady decline, finally dropping out of the top 100 in 2016. As of 2020, Alexandra is at position 137.

Alexis

  • Origin: Greek
  • Meaning: Defender
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Alexia, Alexus
  • Famous Namesakes: French aristocrat, diplomat, political scientist, political philosopher, and historian Alexis de Toqueville, actress and model Alexis Bledel
  • Peak Popularity: Alexis peaked in 2001 as the fifth most popular baby girl name. It slowly declined thereafter, dropping out of the top 10 in 2004 and subsequently out of the top 20 in 2011. Since then it has been used less and less, bottoming out in 2019 at position 236.

Alicia

  • Origin: Spanish, Swedish
  • Meaning: Noble
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Alecia, Aleesha, Alesia, Alice, Alyce, Alysha, Alyssa
  • Famous Namesakes: Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys, prima ballerina and choreographer Alicia Alonso, gymnast Alicia Sacramone
  • Peak Popularity: Alicia peaked in the early 2000s as the 121st most popular name and has declined steadily in position since. As of 2020, it was ranked 414.

Angel

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Angel
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Angela, Angelia, Angelle
  • Famous Namesakes: Rapper and singer Angel Haze, basketball player Angel McCoughtry
  • Peak Popularity: Angel has always been a popular name for both boys and girls, but less so for girls. As a feminine name, Angel has never been in the top 100. It peaked in 2001 at 104 and the most recent data put it at 395 in 2019. As a boy name, however, it has always been in the top 100, peaking in 2006 at 30 and most recently in 72.

Aniyah

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Grace
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Angela, Angelia, Angelle
  • Famous Namesakes: Actor Daniyah Ysrayl 
  • Peak Popularity: Aniyah has grown steadily in popularity since the year 2000, peaking in 2010 at 177. Since then it has declined slightly, putting it at 290 according to the most recent data.

Brianna

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: High, noble
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Bria, Briana, Breonna
  • Famous Namesakes: Rapper and actress Brianna Perry, track and field athlete Brianna Rollins-McNeal
  • Peak Popularity: Brianna peaked in 2000 as the 15th most popular name before beginning a decline. Brianna dropped out of the top 20 in 2007, out of the top 50 in 2013, and finally out of the top 100 in 2017. It is currently ranked 147.

Cassandra

  • Origin: Greek
  • Meaning: To shine, to excel
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Kasandra, Kassandra
  • Famous Namesakes: American singer, songwriter, model, actress, and dancer Cassie Ventura, American jazz singer, songwriter, and producer Cassandra Wilson
  • Peak Popularity: Cassandra was at its most popular in 2000 as the 100th most popular name. It has slowly declined in popularity, with the most recent data placing it at 612.

Chantelle

  • Origin: French
  • Meaning: Stony
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Chantal, Chantel, Chanelle, Shantel, Shantelle
  • Famous Namesakes: Basketball player Chantelle Anderson
  • Peak Popularity: Chantelle is a rare name and not listed as a top 1,000 name.

Chloe

  • Origin: Greek
  • Meaning: Green shoot
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Chloë, Chloé, Cloé, Cloe, Kloe, Khloe
  • Famous Namesakes: Singer and actress Chloe Bennet, actress Chloe Webb, racing cyclist Chloe Hosking
  • Peak Popularity: Chloe has historically been a very popular name. In 2000, it was at 38 and it broke into the top 10 in 2009, staying there for three years before dropping slightly. Chloe is currently the 24th most common girl name in the U.S.

Dakota

  • Origin: Native American
  • Meaning: Allies, friends
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Dakotah
  • Famous Namesakes: Actress Dakota Fanning, actress Dakota Blue Richards
  • Peak Popularity: Dakota has steadily hovered around position 300 over the course of time. Its peak was at position 190 in 2006 and it is currently at position 257.

Fun Fact: The Dakota people are a Native American tribe and First Nations band government in North America, composed of two of the three main subcultures of the Sioux people.

Destiny

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Destiny
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Destinee, Destinie, Destiney
  • Famous Namesakes: Singer Destiny Chukunyere, actress, singer, and dancer Destiny Lightsy, basketball player Destiny Williams
  • Peak Popularity: Destiny was at its most popular in 2001 at 22. It dropped out of the top 100 names in 2012 and it is currently ranked 309.

Dominique

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Day of the Lord
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Domenica, Dominga, Dominica, Dominika,
  • Famous Namesakes: Former prime minister of France Dominique de Villepin, tennis player Dominique Monami, French politician Dominique Voynet
  • Peak Popularity: Dominique dropped off the charts in 2018 and it is now considered a rare name. Its record position was in the year 2000 at 525.

Imani

  • Origin: Swahili
  • Meaning: Faith
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Imaan, Imanni
  • Famous Namesakes: American singer-songwriter and violinist Imani Coppola, actress Imani Hakim
  • Peak Popularity: Imani peaked in 2001 as the 300th most popular name in the U.S. Since then it has seen a series of small declines and increases in popularity, with an overall trend of becoming less common. Imani is at position 521 as of 2019.

Isis

  • Origin: Egyptian
  • Meaning: Throne
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Iset, Iside
  • Famous Namesakes: American model, actress, and fashion designer Isis King
  • Peak Popularity: Isis is currently considered a rare name, having dropped off the charts in 2015. Its peak was in the year 2005 at spot 522.

Fun Fact: Isis was one of the most important goddesses of ancient Egypt. Her cult spread throughout the Roman Empire and she is still revered by pagans today.

Jasmine

  • Origin: Persian
  • Meaning: Jasmine flower
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Jasmin, Jasmina, Jasmyn, Jazmin, Jazmine, Jazmyn, Jazzmine, Jessamine, Jessamyn, Yasmeen, Yasmin, Yasmine, Yazmin,
  • Famous Namesakes: American model Jasmine Tookes; American actress, director, singer, and dancer Jasmine Guy; American model, actress, and reality television personality Jasmine Waltz
  • Peak Popularity: Jasmine has lost popularity over time but it is still moderately common. Jasmine dropped out of the top 50 names for girls in 2009 and out of the top 100 in 2015. According to the Social Security Administration's most recent data, Jasmine was at position 141 in 2020.

Fun Fact: The jasmine plant is part of the olive family.

Kalisha

  • Origin: African American
  • Meaning: Lucky
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Felicia, Kallissa, Lecia, Lessia, Lisha
  • Famous Namesakes: TV show runner Kallissa Miller
  • Peak Popularity: Kalisha is a rare name and not listed in the top 1,000 names.

Kaylen

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Pure
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Cailyn, Kaelyn, Kailyn, Kalyn, Kaylee, Kailin, Kaylin, Kaylyn, Kaylynn
  • Famous Namesakes: Alpine ski racer Kaylin Richardson, American track and field athlete Kaylin Whitney
  • Peak Popularity: Kaylen is a rare name. It did make its way onto the charts for a short period of time, between the years 2003 and 2013. Its most popular year was 2009 when it was at position 686.

Keysha

  • Origin: African American
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Keisha, Keesha, Kaysha, Kisha, Lakeisha, Lakeshia, Lakisha, Nikeisha
  • Famous Namesakes: American singer, songwriter, actress, and television producer Keyshia Cole, actress Keisha Castle-Hughes
  • Peak Popularity: Keysha is a rare name and not listed in the top 1,000 names.

Kiyana

  • Origin: African American
  • Meaning: Heavenly, divine
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Diana, Kiana
  • Famous Namesakes: Author Kiana Davenport
  • Peak Popularity: Kiyana is a rare name and not listed in the top 1,000 names.

Lacresha

  • Origin: African American
  • Meaning: Prophet, wealth
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Lucrecia, Lucretia, Lucrezia
  • Famous Namesakes: American Quaker, abolitionist, women's rights activist, and social reformer Lucretia Mott
  • Peak Popularity: Lacresha is a rare name and not listed in the top 1,000 names.

Ladonna

  • Origin: African American
  • Meaning: Woman
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Dona, Donna, Ladan, Ladana
  • Famous Namesakes: American singer, songwriter, and actress Donna Summer
  • Peak Popularity: Ladonna is a rare name and not listed in the top 1,000 names.

Makeba

  • Origin: African American
  • Meaning: Unknown
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Mahkeba, Makhiba
  • Famous Namesakes: South African singer, songwriter, actress, United Nations goodwill ambassador, and civil rights activist Miriam Makeba
  • Peak Popularity: Makeba is a rare name and not listed in the top 1,000 names.

Nikita

  • Origin: Sanskrit
  • Meaning: House
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Niketa, Nikitha
  • Famous Namesakes: Movie actress Nikita Ramsey
  • Peak Popularity: Nikita is a rare name that only made it onto the charts once. In the year 2000, it ranked at No. 884.

Tanisha

  • Origin: African American
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Tanesha, Latanya, Tanya
  • Famous Namesakes: Basketball coach and former player Tanisha Wright, model Tanisha Harper
  • Peak Popularity: Tanisha is a rare name and not listed in the top 1,000 names.

Popular Black Baby Names for Boys

Here are some popular and unique Black baby names for boys along with their meanings, origins, and other interesting information.

Andres

  • Origin: Greek
  • Meaning: Manly
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Andre, Andreas
  • Famous Namesakes: Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador
  • Peak Popularity: The name Andres has remained fairly steady around the 200 mark since the year 2000. It peaked in 2007 at position 152 and it is currently at position 220.

Antonne

  • Origin: Etruscan
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Antoine, Anthony, Antony, Antwan
  • Famous Namesakes: Book publisher, author, screenwriter, and film producer Antonne Jone
  • Peak Popularity: Antonne is a rare name and it is not listed in the top 1,000 names.

Booker

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Maker of books
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Brook, Brooke
  • Famous Namesakes: American educator, author, orator, and adviser to several presidents of the United States Booker T. Washington, jazz trumpeter and composer Booker Little, football player Booker Brown
  • Peak Popularity: Booker is a rare name and it is not listed in the top 1,000 names.

Kristian

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Christian
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Cristian, Christian, Carsten, Karsten
  • Famous Namesakes: Industrial designer Kristian Somer Vedel, painter Kristian Zahrtmann
  • Peak Popularity: The name Kristian was at its most popular in the year 2000 at position 419. It has seen a slow and steady decline since, placing at position 793 according to the most recent data.

Kristopher

  • Origin: Greek
  • Meaning: Bearing Christ
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Christopher, Chris, Kris, Topher
  • Famous Namesakes: musician, singer, and songwriter Kris Allen, singer-songwriter Kris Lawrence
  • Peak Popularity: The name Kristopher was at its most popular in the year 2000 at position 295. It has seen a slow and steady decline since, placing at No. 771 according to the most recent data.

Darius

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Possessing goodness
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Darijus, Dareios, Dario
  • Famous Namesakes: French composer, conductor, and teacher Darius Milhaud, Singer-songwriter Darius Rucker
  • Peak Popularity: The name Darius was at its most popular in the year 2000 at position 220. It has seen a slow and steady decline since, placing at position 570 according to the most recent data.

Elijah

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: My God is Yahweh
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Eliya, Eliyah, Eliayhu
  • Famous Namesakes: Actor and producer Elijah Wood, religious leader Elijah Muhammad
  • Peak Popularity: Elijah is currently the fifth most popular boy name in the U.S. It has been a top 10 name since 2016 and a top 20 name since 2010. It will likely stay common in the coming years.

Hakeem

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Wise
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Hakim
  • Famous Namesakes: Basketball player Hakeem Abdul Olajuwon, rapper known as Chamillionaire Hakeem Seriki
  • Peak Popularity: 2016 is the only year that Hakeen made it onto the charts, ranking at position 910.

Isaiah

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: Yahweh is salvation
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Isiah, Isaias
  • Famous Namesakes: Actor Isaiah Russel-Bailey, basketball player Isaiah Thomas
  • Peak Popularity: Isaiah has been about the 50th most popular name for the past 20 years. Its peak was at position 39 in 2006 and it is currently at position 53.

Fun Fact: The prophet Isaiah is said to have foretold the birth of Jesus Christ.

Jamal

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Beauty
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Dzhamal, Gamal, Jamaal, Xhemal
  • Famous Namesakes: Basketball player Jamal Murray, basketball player Jamal Crawford
  • Peak Popularity: The name Jamal was at its most popular in the year 2002 at position 363. It has seen a decline since, placing at position 860 according to the most recent data.

Jayden

  • Origin: African American
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Jaden
  • Famous Namesakes: Swimmer Jayden Hadler, cricket player Jayden Levitt
  • Peak Popularity: Jayden peaked in 2010 and 2011 as the fourth most popular name in the U.S. It stayed in the top 10 from 2009 to 2013. It is currently at position 35.

Jaylen

  • Origin: African American
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Jalen, Jaylin, Jaylon
  • Famous Namesakes: Basketball player Jaylen Brown, rapper Jaylen Robinson
  • Peak Popularity: Jaylen hit its peak in 2006 at position 291 on the charts. Its popularity has declined and it is currently at position 338.

Jeremiah

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: Yahweh will exalt
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Jeremy, Jeremias
  • Famous Namesakes: Novelist and politician Jeremiah Clemens, pastor Jeremiah Wright
  • Peak Popularity: Jeremiah has been a top 100 name since 2001. Its peak popularity was in 2010 and 2011 when it hit 51. As of 2019, Jeremiah is at 70.

Fun Fact: The Book of Jeremiah is one of the longest books in the Old Testament.

Jordan

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: The river that flows between the countries of Jordan and Israel
  • Famous Namesakes: Actor Jordan Fisher, actor Jordan Calloway
  • Peak Popularity: Jordan is a well-used name that has consistently been in the top 100. Jordan was at its most popular for boys in the year 2000 at position 36. It has slowly declined in popularity since. The most recent data from 2019 shows Jordan at position 89. For girls, Jordan is less popular but it has been a top 1,000 name since 2000.

Fun Fact: The country Jordan is home to the Dead Sea, which is actually a very salty lake that sits at the lowest point of elevation on Earth.

Josiah

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: Yahweh supports
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Iosias
  • Famous Namesakes: Scientist Josiah Willard Gibbs; potter, entrepreneur, and abolitionist Josiah Wedgwood; founder of American idealism Josiah Royce
  • Peak Popularity: Josiah became a top 100 name in 2008 and it has gained popularity since, peaking at position 45 according to the most recent data.

Justus

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Justice
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Iustus
  • Famous Namesakes: German scientist Justus von Liebig, Lutheran theologian and reformer Justus Jonas, German Actor Justus von Dohnányi
  • Peak Popularity: Justus was a top 1,000 name from 2000 to 2018 before dropping off the charts. It is now considered a rare name.

Khalil

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Friend
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Kahlil, Khaleel
  • Famous Namesakes: Moroccan footballer Khalil Azmi, Palestinian academic Khalil al-Sakakini
  • Peak Popularity: Khalil is a moderately popular name. Khalil was at its most popular in 2019 at position 302.

Lemarcus

  • Origin: African American
  • Meaning: Warrior
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Lamarcus, Lemarco
  • Famous Namesakes: Football player LaMarcus Nurae Aldridge
  • Peak Popularity: Lemarcus is a rare name and not listed as a top 1,000 name.

Lamonte

  • Origin: African American
  • Meaning: Man of law
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Lamant, Lamont
  • Famous Namesakes: Singer, songwriter, and record producer Lamont Dozier
  • Peak Popularity: Lamonte is a rare name and not listed as a top 1,000 name.

Malachiah

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: Messenger of God
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Malachai, Malachi
  • Famous Namesakes: Journalist, author, and broadcaster in Northern Ireland Malachi O'Doherty
  • Peak Popularity: Malachiah is a rare name and not listed as a top 1,000 name.

Malik

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: King
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Malak, Melik
  • Famous Namesakes: R&B singer Malik Knighten, dancer Malik Sosho, basketball player Malik Monk
  • Peak Popularity: Malik was at its most popularity in the year 2000 at position 176. Since then it has steadily declined on the charts. As of 209, Malik is at position 363.

Treyvon

  • Origin: African American
  • Meaning: Divine power
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Trevon, Tre'von
  • Famous Namesakes: Football player Treyvon Hester, basketball player Trayvonn Wright, basketball player Trayvon Reed
  • Peak Popularity: Treyvon has appeared just four times on the charts, during the years 2000, 2001, 2006, and 2007.

Xavier

  • Origin: Basque
  • Meaning: New house
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Xzavier, Zavier, Xavior, Javier
  • Famous Namesakes: Wrestler Xavier Woods, model Xavier Serrano, rapper Xavier Wulf
  • Peak Popularity: Xavier has been a top 100 name since 2001. 2007 and 2009 were its peak years, where it was the 68th most popular name. As of the most recent data, Xavier is at position 91.

Zahair

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Clear, evident
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Zaher, Zahir, Zaahir
  • Famous Namesakes: Afghan prime minister Abdul Zahir 
  • Peak Popularity: Zahair is a rare name and not listed as a top 1,000 name.

Zion

  • Origin: Biblical
  • Meaning: A citadel that was in the center of Jerusalem
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Tzion
  • Famous Namesakes: Son of singer Lauryn Hill and CFL player Rohan Marley, grandson of singer Bob Marley named Zion David Marley, son of models Isabeli Fontana and Álvaro Jacomossi named Zion Jacomossi, son of celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson named Zion Mandela Samuelsson
  • Peak Popularity: Zion has been on the charts since 2000. Since then it has increased in popularity. According to the most recent data, Zion is its peak popularity at position 154.

Fun Fact: Zion National Park is home to one of the most dangerous hikes in the world, Angel's Landing.

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  1. Social Security Administration. Popularity of name. Updated 2020.