50 Black Baby Names and Meanings for Boys

Learn the meaning and origin behind popular names for Black baby boys.

Beautiful African-American newborn little boy just a few weeks old swaddled in a cream colored soft blanket with copy space

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Black names can be unique and come from different backgrounds and origins worldwide. They hold significant importance in the way Black people view themselves, presently and historically. Some names, such as Dominique, are gender-neutral and can be used for both baby boys and baby girls. Other names, like Michael or Isaac, are more traditional and typically used for boys. 

There are several factors many parents consider when deciding what to call their new bundle of joy. Some opt for finding a name with a strong message such as Jarel, which means brave and open-minded. Parents with strong religious ties may choose to go with something biblical like Malachi. Regardless of the reasoning, Black names are so diverse that there are virtually limitless options to fit each family’s desires. 


  • Origin: Hebrew, Arabic
  • Meaning: Strong, exalted
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Aron, Aaryn
  • Famous Namesakes: Rapper and singer-songwriter Aaron Dontez Yates, known as Tech N9ne
  • Peak Popularity: Aaron’s popularity has remained steady over the past 40 years with its lowest ranking peaking at 63 of the top 1000 baby names for boys in 2020.


  • Origin: Latin, Greek
  • Meaning: Angel, messenger
  • Famous Namesakes: American composer Angelo Badalamenti
  • Peak Popularity: The name Angelo has consistently remained in the top 1000 names, currently ranking at 314 as of 2020.


  • Origin: Roman, Latin
  • Meaning: Praiseworthy, priceless
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Antony, Anthonie
  • Famous Namesakes: Actor and director Anthony Hopkins, American professional skateboarder Anthony ‘Tony’ Hawk
  • Peak Popularity: As of 2020, Anthony is ranked at 41, having consistently remained within the top 50 most popular names for the past 40 years.


  • Origin: Hebrew, African
  • Meaning: Eternal 
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Aumari
  • Peak Popularity: Amari is currently at its highest ranking of 217 as of 2020.


  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Fortunate
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Asad
  • Peak Popularity: Asaad does not rank in the top 1,000 baby names.


  • Origin: Irish, Old English
  • Meaning: Brave, prince
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Branden
  • Famous Namesakes: American actor and martial artist Brandon Lee
  • Peak Popularity: Once reaching a peak of 6 in the early 1990s, Brandon has significantly fallen to a ranking of 166 as of 2020.


  • Origin: English, Scottish
  • Meaning: Crooked nose
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Kameron, Camron, Camryn
  • Famous Namesakes: Rapper and record executive Cameron ‘Cam’ron’ Giles, NFL player Cameron ‘Cam’ Newton
  • Peak Popularity: Cameron has steadily remained in the top 1000 names, with its most recent rank at 64 in 2020.


  • Origin: English, Irish, Scottish
  • Meaning: One who transports goods
  • Famous Namesakes: Carter Beauford, American drummer and founding member of Dave Matthews Band
  • Peak Popularity: Carter is a very popular name, remaining in the top 50 baby names for boys for the last decade and most recently ranking at 33 in 2020.

Fun Fact: Carter is more likely to be used as a surname. 


  • Origin: Greek
  • Meaning: Carrier of Christ
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Cristofer, Cristopher 
  • Famous Namesakes: Actor and singer-songwriter Christopher Maurice Brown, Actor Christopher Hemsworth
  • Peak Popularity: Ranking in the top 50 names for baby boys for the last 40 years, Christopher has been consistently popular and most recently ranked at 47 in 2020.


  • Origin: Olde Norse
  • Meaning: Coal town
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Kolby, Colbi
  • Peak Popularity: As of 2020, Colby ranks in the top 1000 names at 617.


  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: Beloved, friend
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Daveth
  • Famous Namesakes: Award winning actor David Oyelowo, actor and comedian David Alan Grier, former English soccer player David Beckham
  • Peak Popularity: At its lowest rank of 28 in 2020, David has remained in the top 30 names for baby boys since the 1980s.


  • Origin: Greek, American
  • Meaning: Courageous, valiant, warrior
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: D’Andre
  • Famous Namesakes: American rapper DeAndre Cortez Way, NBA player DeAndre Jordan, NFL player DeAndre Hopkins
  • Peak Popularity: DeAndre most recently ranked at 766 in 2020.


  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Lover of earth
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Demetrios
  • Famous Namesakes: Actor Demetrius Shipp Jr., professional boxer Demetrius Andrade
  • Peak Popularity: As of 2020, Demetrius is ranked in the top 1000 names for baby boys at 856.


  • Origin: French
  • Meaning: Of the Lord
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Domenique, Dominic
  • Famous Namesakes: Former NBA player Dominque Wilkins
  • Peak Popularity: With a peak of 170 in the early 1990s, the popularity of this name has dropped to a ranking of 981.

Fun fact: Dominique is a primarily gender-neutral name. 


  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Work, rule
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Embrey, Embree
  • Peak Popularity: Embry does not rank in the top 1000 names for baby boys.


  • Origin: Hebrew, Jewish
  • Meaning: Laugher, rejoice 
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Issac, Isaak, Isaack
  • Famous Namesakes: American singer-songwriter Isaac Hayes, writer and professor Isaac Asimov
  • Peak Popularity: Isaac has slightly fallen from a peak of 30 in 2012 to a rank of 39 in 2020.


  • Origin: American
  • Meaning: Loyal, trustworthy, God’s light
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Jamir, Jahmeir
  • Peak Popularity: Jahmir is not in the 1000 most popular name rankings.


  • Origin: Arabic, English
  • Meaning: Handsome, beauty
  • Famous Namesakes: American soccer play Jamar Beasley, professional wrestler Jamar ‘Jay Lethal’ Shipman
  • Peak Popularity: Jamar has fallen out of popularity since 2016 when it ranked at 1000. 


  • Origin: German, English
  • Meaning: Strong, brave, open-minded
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Jarrel, Jarell, Jerrell
  • Peak Popularity: This name has not made the top 1000 most popular names list.


  • Origin: English, Greek, Hebrew
  • Meaning: Healer, Lord is salvation
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Jace, Jase
  • Famous Namesakes: Musician Jayce Fincher
  • Peak Popularity: This name peaked at a rank of 132 in 2015. It has since fallen slightly, ranking at 151 in 2020.


  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: The Lord exists
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Jessiah, Jeshaiah
  • Peak Popularity: Reaching a peak in the most popular names for the first time in 2018 at 980, Jesiah has recently fallen out of popularity.


  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Mighty, strong, great
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Jelaney, Jelanie
  • Famous Namesakes: American writer, educator and author Jelani Cobb
  • Peak Popularity: The name does not rank on the most popular name list.


  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: To increase, God will give
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Josef, Jozef
  • Famous Namesakes: Former professional boxer Joseph Frazier, former boxer Joseph ‘Joe Louis’ Barrow
  • Peak Popularity: Peaking at number 6 in 2003, Joseph has remained a very common name, only falling to a ranking of 26 in 2020.


  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Righteous, Just
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Juston
  • Famous Namesakes: Hop hop record producer and DJ Justin ‘Just Blaze’ Smith, Justin Scott also known as rapper Big K.R.I.T.
  • Peak Popularity: In 2020, Justin ranked in the top 1000 baby names for boys at 168.


  • Origin: Welsh, Greek, Hawaiian
  • Meaning: Guardian, keeper, sea
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Cai, Chi
  • Famous Namesakes: Singer-songwriter Kai Altair, historian and journalist Kai Bird
  • Peak Popularity: The name Kai has steadily risen in popularity, peaking at 93 in 2020.


  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: Acquire, to take possession
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Keenan
  • Famous Namesakes: American actor and comedian Kenan Thompson
  • Peak Popularity: Kenan only reached the top 1000 most popular names in 1997 at a rank of 969.


  • Origin: Hebrew, American
  • Meaning: God is gracious
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Keishaun, Keishawn
  • Famous Namesakes: Former NFL player and Rose Bowl Hall of Famer Keyshawn Johnson
  • Peak Popularity: Falling out of the top 1000 names after 2006, Keyshawn reached its highest popularity in 2000, ranking at 519.


  • Origin: Arabic, Muslim
  • Meaning: Friend
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Khaleel
  • Famous Namesakes: American actor and film produce Khalil Kain, NFL player Khalil Mack
  • Peak Popularity: Rising from 301 in 2019 to a ranking of 276 in 2020, Khalil has consistently ranked in the top 1000 names.


  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: United, joined in harmony
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Levy
  • Famous Namesakes: Former singer Levi Stubbs
  • Peak Popularity: Levi has gained popularity over the last 10 years, rising from a rank of 70 in 2010 to number 18 in 2020.


  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: Messenger, angel
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Malachy, Malaki
  • Peak Popularity: Malachi has consistently trended in the top 1000 names and was most recently ranked at 157 in 2020.


  • Origin: Gaelic, Scottish
  • Meaning: Devotee of St. Colomba
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Malkolm 
  • Famous Namesakes: Actor, producer, and musician Malcolm-Jamal Warner, minister and human rights activist Malcolm X
  • Peak Popularity: The name Malcolm is gaining more popularity and currently ranks at 290 as of 2020.


  • Origin: French
  • Meaning: Nobleman, royalty
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Marquis
  • Peak Popularity: This name consistently remained popular from the 1980s to the late 2000s with a peak ranking of 370. It has not reached popularity since 2009.


  • Origin: Spanish, Italian
  • Meaning: Gift of God
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Matteo
  • Peak Popularity: Mateo has recently become extremely popular, ranking at its highest position of 20 in 2020.


  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: Gift from God
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Micheal, Mikael, Mihkael
  • Famous Namesakes: Singer-songwriter and dancer Michael Jackson, former NBA player and businessman Michael Jordan
  • Peak Popularity: Michael is an extremely popular name, ranking in the top 10 most popular names for over 20 years. The name was most recently ranked at 12 in 2020.


  • Origin: Spanish, Italian
  • Meaning: Mountain
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Montrel
  • Famous Namesakes: Gospel singer Montrell Darrett
  • Peak Popularity: Montrell has not been in the top 1000 names since 1993 where it ranked low at 955.


  • Origin: African, Hebrew
  • Meaning: Flourishing, populous
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Omaree
  • Famous Namesakes: Actor Omari Hardwick
  • Peak Popularity: With a peak ranking of 471 in 2018, its popularity in the top 1000 names has dropped to 500.


  • Origin: Germanic
  • Meaning: Bright, fame
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Roberte, Robart, Robertes, Roberrt
  • Famous Namesakes: Actor Robert Pattinson, 
  • Peak Popularity: Robert ranked at 80 in the top 1000 names for baby boys in 2020. 

Fun Fact: Robert ranks second on the list of the most popular names of the last 100 years, with over 4,455,000 people given the name during that time period.


  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Strength, power
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Romanus, Roman
  • Famous Namesakes: Actor Rome Flynn
  • Peak Popularity: First breaking the top 1000 baby names in 2019 at 999, Rome currently ranked at 970 as of 2020.


  • Origin: Spanish
  • Meaning: Holy
  • Peak Popularity: Santana has risen in popularity over the last few years, going from 983 in 2013 to 542 in 2020.


  • Origin: Arabic, Muslim
  • Meaning: Autumn
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Sherrod
  • Peak Popularity: Sharod has not been in the top 1000 names.


  • Origin: Irish, English
  • Meaning: Gift from God
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Shawn, Sean 
  • Famous Namesakes: American writer Shaun King
  • Peak Popularity: As of 2017, Shaun has fallen out of popularity, where it ranked at 894.

Fun Fact: Shaun or Shawn is often used a suffix in many first names such as Deshawn and Leshaun. 


  • Origin: Arabic, Hindi, Sanskrit
  • Meaning: Crown
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Taj
  • Famous Namesakes: Tahj Mowry, actor and brother to Tia and Tamera Mowry
  • Peak Popularity: Tahj is a rare name, only having reached the top 1000 names in 1998 and 1999 and peaking at 772.


  • Origin: American, Celtic
  • Meaning: Beautiful, Handsome
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Tevon, Tevyn
  • Famous Namesakes: American singer-songwriter Tevin Campbell, NFL player Tevin Reese
  • Peak Popularity: Tevin has not ranked in the top 1000 names since its last rank of 804 in 2000.


  • Origin: English, French, Latin, Greek
  • Meaning: Priceless one
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Toni
  • Famous Namesakes: Pastor and author Anthony “Tony” Evans, professional skateboarder Tony Hawk
  • Peak Popularity: Tony’s popularity has declined over the years, but it still ranks in the top 1000 baby names for boys at 633.


  • Origin: Scandinavian, English
  • Meaning: Stubborn, puller
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Tyrel, Tyrrell
  • Famous Namesakes: Former professional boxer Tyrell Biggs
  • Peak Popularity: Tyrell fell out of popularity in 2013, where it ranked at 984.


  • Origin: Old Norse, German
  • Meaning: Hope
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Vaughn
  • Famous Namesakes: NFL player Von Miller, singer-songwriter Von “Wayne Wonder” Charles
  • Peak Popularity: Von does not rank in the most popular baby names list. 


  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Bright, enlightened
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Xayvier
  • Peak Popularity: Xavier has been a steadily popular name for the last 40 years with a current rank of 92.


  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Helper, supporter, manifest
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Zaahir, Zyhir, Zyeir
  • Peak Popularity: Zahir only recently ranked in the top 1000 names in 2017 but has risen to 889 as of 2020.


  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: River
  • Alternative Spellings & Variations: Zyaire
  • Famous Namesakes: Zaire Wade, professional basketball player and son of former NBA player Dwyane Wade
  • Peak Popularity: The name Zaire has recently become more popular, with a current rank of 522.


  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: Highest point
  • Famous Namesakes: NBA player Zion Williamson
  • Peak Popularity: Zion’s popularity has risen over the past few years. Ranking at 144 in 2020, it previously ranked at 227 in 2015.

Fun Fact: The name Zion’s rising popularity is in part due to singer Lauryn Hill giving the name to her son in 1998. This was the first year the name broke into the top 1000 baby names for boys.

4 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Social Security Administration. Popular Baby Names.

  2. Quranic Names. Asaad.

  3. Muslim Baby Names. Sharod.

  4. The Bump. Von.