100 Popular African American Baby Names With Meanings

African American culture arose as a result of a fusion of African (from West and Central Africa) and European traditions. In South America, this culture evolved over time, and African American baby names became popular. African American names are generally influenced by French culture, Muslim names, and Christian names. On the other hand, some are the outcome of parents’ distinct imaginations. If you’re looking for African American names that are both native and trendy, distinctive, and global, this post is for you. We have compiled a comprehensive list of African American names that you can choose for your baby girl or boy.

In This Article

African-American Girl Names

1. Akilah

Akilah is a variation of the Arabic name Aaliyah. It means ‘intelligent’ and ‘logical’.

2. Amani

Amani is a variation of the Arabic name Imani and means ‘faith’. Amani Toomer, former football player, is the most famous bearer of this name. He played for the New York Giants for 13 seasons.

3. Brianna

This cute-sounding Celtic name is not just cute. It means strong and virtuous and is the feminine version of Brian.

4. Braelin

‘A wise person’ or ‘intelligent’ is what this sweet and unique name means. We are sure there won’t be many Braelins around at school!

5. Capria

Coming from Italian origins, this name means whimsical and musical. Sounds good for a girl who loves whimsical music, don’t you think?

6. Cedrica

A female version of Cedric, and meaning a battle chieftain, this strong african american name is sure to give your girl the attitude to be brave and strong.

7. Destiny

Sometimes your fate plays a major role in a lot of things, and it is this fate that takes you places. Destiny means just that and naming your girl would help her design her own fate.

8. Dallas

Dallas is a Scottish name which means meadow dwelling. It is a unisex name, but we think girls can totally carry off this name.

9. Dazzline

Dazzline is a spelling variation of dazzling and means luminous. Sounds apt for a little angel.

10. Edith

This name comes from an old English word ‘ead’, which means blessed. It is also blended with French and Dutch associations and happens to be the name of one of the protagonists in the animated movie Despicable Me!

11. Ezra

Wouldn’t you want your baby girl to grow up into a loving and caring person? Then name her Azra, which is Hebrew for ‘someone who helps’.

12. Fatema

Fatima was the daughter of Prophet Muhammed, and Fatema is a spelling variation of the same. The name means ‘captivating’.

13. Fayth

A spelling variation of Faith, this name will hold your daughter up close to God or a powerful someone. When we put our faith into something, it gives us the strength to battle things out.

14. Gabrielle

What could be better than naming your darling ‘woman of God’? This good african american name is a French word for just that!

15. Gail

A short form of Abigail, this name means ‘my father rejoices’. This name stands at #844 in the US Social Security Administration’s 2016 name list.


Haben is an African American feminine name, which means pride in Tigrinya.

17. Hazzell

A spelling variation of Hazel, this name means ‘the hazelnut tree’. Hazel colored eyes are to fall in love with, and if your daughter has this name and those eyes, wouldn’t it be the perfect combination?

18. Hannah

A name that is spelled the same front and backward, it means ‘grace’. Hannah was made popular by pop singer and actress Hannah Montana and stood proudly at #25 on SSA’s list in 2015.

19. Hanita

This is an Indian origin name and means ‘divine grace’. So, if you believe in God Almighty, then your baby girl is a gift from Him!

20. Indigo

Indigo is a kind of blue color and has Greek origins. It is one of the leading color baby names.

21. Imani

A perfect African-American origin name, Imani is Kiswahili for ‘faith’.

22. Ida

A name from the Germanic language, it means ‘labor’ or ‘work’. This diverse name is used excessively in Dutch, English and Spanish countries.

23. Jashanna

We are sure you would have heard this name very rarely, which is good, as your daughter will have a unique african american name. Jashanna means ‘celebration’ and is a possible variation of Jashn, which means the same.

24. Jada

Jada is a short and sweet nickname for your baby boy. It’s one of those names that are ethnic yet cool. You can switch to Jade if you want it to be taken seriously.

25. Kalisha

Kalisha is a feminine name formed using the prefix ‘ka’ and the name Lisha, which is a short form of Alicia, Felicia, and other titles ending with the same sound.

26. Kimani

This is a beautiful african american name, meaning ‘beautiful’ and ‘sweet’, just how your little girl would be.

27. Lafyette

Associated with the French fighter Marquis de Lafayette, this name means ‘surname’ in French.

28. Lashonda

Lashonda is an invented African-American feminine name formed using the prefix ‘la’ with the name Shonda.

29. Latanya

Latanya is a feminine name formed by combining the prefix ‘la’ with the title Tanya, which is a Russian diminutive of Tatiana.

30. Latasha

Latasha is a feminine name formed using the prefix ‘la’ and Tasha, which is a short form of Natasha. Natasha derives from the root word Natalia, which means Christmas Day.

31. Latonya

Latonya is formed using the prefix ‘la’ and the name Tonya. Tonya is a diminutive of Antonia from Anthony, which means flower from the root work anthos in Greek.

32. Latricia

As one of the popular African-American feminine names, Latricia is formed by the prefix La and the names Latisha and Patricia. Latisha derives from Laetitia in Late Latin meaning joy and happiness, while Patricia comes from the Latin root Patricius meaning nobleman. Hence, Latricia means a happy noblewoman.

33. Liana

Liana is a feminine form of Julian and means ‘youthful’ or ‘climbing like a vine’. This is a French name and stood at #527 in 2015.

34. Makayla

The Latin form of Michael, this Hebrew name means ‘who is like God’. This is a unique and sweet name, which is rare and should be your choice to grant exclusivity to your daughter.

35. Marquita

Marquita is one of the most popular feminine titles and a variant of Marquis. This name derives from the Old French and refers to a ruler of the borderlands.

36. Merryll

This Celtic Gaelic name means ‘bright as the sea’.

37. Nakala

A spelling variation of Nike, this Greek name means ‘victory’.

38. Nevaeh

Read this word backward and you will be amazed. This is an absolutely creative word meaning ‘heaven’.

39. Orlena

Our babies are precious to us and this name signifies that. Orlena is French for ‘gold’.

40. Patriciana

This Latin name, with English and Spanish variations of Patricia, means a ‘noblewoman’.

41. Quetta

Quetta is an English name for ‘wildflower’ and is also a place in Balochistan.

42. Rhianna

Now who doesn’t know this international name? Made famous by the African-American singer Rihanna, this name is a spelling variation of the same and means ‘great queen’.

43. Shania

This is a Native American name and means ‘on the way’.

protip_icon Trivia
Known as the queen of Country Pop, Internationally acclaimed Canadian singer and songwriter Shania Twain is a popular bearer of this name.

44. Shanika

Shanika is a trendy title formed by the combination of the popular phonetic elements sha, nee, and ka.

45. Shanique

As a unique feminine name, Shanique is a variant of Shaniqua, which is an invented name using the popular phonetic elements sha, nee, and qua.

46. Shanita

This title derives from the common name beginning with shan and the common name ending with ‘ita,’ found in Anita.

47. Talisa

Talisa is an Afrikaans feminine name, which is a 19th-century elaboration of Tale, from the Old High Germanic element adal meaning noble.

48. Sheniqua

This name is another example of an African-American origin name and means ‘God is gracious’.


Talisha is a combination of the popular name prefix ‘ta’ and Lisha or any other short forms of names ending with the same sound like Alicia and Felicia.

50. Tia

Tia is Greek for ‘goddess’. Name your daughter this and make her feel like one too. It is also short for Althea.

51. Umbrosia

A spelling variation of Ambrosia, this is a Greek name meaning ‘food for gods’.

52. Yolanda

A given name meaning ‘violet’, this name has Greek origins. It is also the name of a top pastry chef Yolanda Gampp, who is famous for her unique cake designs.

53. Zari

A name from the African-American origin, Zari means ‘golden’.


African-American Boy Names

54. Ahmod

An Arabic name that means ‘highly praise’, this name is a beautiful variation of Ahmed. The spelling makes it unique, so that no other boy around would have it.

55. Asaad

This spelling variation of Asad is Arabic for ‘lion’, which means your son has a brave name.

56. Autry

Autry is a non-traditional French name meaning noble strength. This name isn’t used much and might just bounce back to popularity anytime soon.

57. Booker

An English occupational name, Booker means ‘scribe’. It is famous among literary people and might just give your little boy a nerdy attitude.

58. Busta

A variation of the name Buster, this unconventional American name means ‘fellow’ or ‘friend’.

59. Calvin

Calvin and Hobbes is one of the most famous comic series in the world. It means ‘little bald one’ and is one of the most popular African American names.

60. Caleb

Caleb means ‘devotion to God’ and is a Hebrew word.

61. Cleavon

Cleavon is a handsome masculine name adapted from other titles containing the element cleav and the suffix ‘-on’ and meaning cliff.

62. Craig

This is a Scottish name and means ‘from the rocks’. Daniel Craig ‘James Bond’ is a famous namesake.

63. Dajon

Dajon is a variation of Dijan and is an uncommon name.

64. Daran

Daran is an English baby name and means ‘great’. This would be quite a name for your baby boy, giving him an amazing personality.

65. Elijah

This is a Hebrew name and means ‘God is powerful’. The name Elijah was made famous by a character from The Originals TV series featuring vampires.

66. Elroy

Elroy is an altered form of Leroy, which means the king in French. It has been used in the United States by African-Americans since 1920.

67. Farrell

A spelling variation of the name Pharrell, Farrell means ‘superior man’ or ‘heroic’ and is a classic rough and tough name. This famous african american name owes its fame to the American singer and songwriter Pharrell Williams.

68. Furnell

With a beautiful meaning of ‘fern covered hill’, this name is a variation of the name Farnell.

69. Gabriel

This unisex name can be used for a girl as well with an extra ‘e’ at the end (which, of course, is not compulsory). It means ‘God is my strength’.

protip_icon Did you know?
Some other variants from across the world include Gabriela (Bulgaria), Gabriella (Hungary), Gabriele (Germany) and Gabrielle (Netherlands). You could also give nicknames like Brie, Bella, Elle, Gab, Gabs, or Gabby.

70. Guyton

This name has a lot of variations. It is not only a French variation of ‘Gayton’, but also a long form of ‘Guy’.

71. Hampton

This name means a ‘high settlement’ and has spelling and name variations such as Hamdyn, Hampden, etc.

72. Herold

Herold has Germanic origins and is a Scandinavian variation of Harald. It means ‘to rule’ or ‘be a warrior’.

73. Isaiah

Isaiah is a Hebrew name and means ‘Yahweh is salvation’. This was also the name of one of the prophets from the Old Testament.

74. Izaak

We would all want our babies to be happy and joyful, so cherish this quirky name. It is Hebrew for ‘laughter’.

75. Jamal

Handsome as a prince, isn’t your son? Jamaal is Hebrew for ‘handsome’.

76. Jaylen

An original African-American origin name, Jaylen stands for Jaybird. It is also the variant of English Jalen.

77. Joshua

Like Isaiah, Joshua also means ‘Yahweh is salvation’. This name has Hebrew origins and is a very common African-American name.

78. Karlus

Karlus is a variation of Karlos and has Geltic, Irish, and Germanic origins. It means a ‘free man’ and stands for an independent thinker.

79. Kaseko

Kaseko is a baby name inspired by the musical genre from Suriname. It is a fusion of numerous folk styles derived from Africa, Europe, and the US.


80. Kwamie

This eccentric name is unique on our list as it is an African-Akan origin name. It is a variation of Kwame and means ‘born on a Saturday’. So, if your prince is born on a Saturday, you could choose this name for him.

81. Latrell

Latrell is a fashionable invented masculine name with the prefix ‘la.’ It is used in Africa and the US.

82. Lavar

Lavar is a popular African-American masculine name inspired by Lamar. Lamar is a French and English surname and toponym from a place in Normandy, meaning the pool from the Old French la mare.

83. Leshawn

Leshawn is a unisex African-American variant of LaShawn,  formed by using the article le and the name Shawn. Shawn is a variant of Sean or John, which means god is gracious in Hebrew.

84. Llyod

A name that can be used as a first or surname, Lloyd means ‘gray’.

85. Luther

Martin Luther King is a symbol in so many ways. The name Luther can be used as a first or surname and means ‘people’s warrior’. Apt, isn’t it?

86. Malik

According to the Holy Quran, Malik is the name of God and means ‘king’.

87. Major

We all know what this sweet little name means. Isn’t it important and great? Yes, this Latin derivation means ‘one who is great’.

88. Nathan

A Hebrew and biblical name, Nathan means a ‘gift from God’. Isn’t your little boy a gift from the Heaven above?

89. Noah

We hope your baby gives you all the comfort in the world. Noah, having Hebrew and Slavic origins, means ‘comfort’ or ‘rest’.

90. O’Brian

This is an out-and-out Irish word meaning ‘a descendant of Brian’. It is used mainly as a surname but can be used as a first name too.

91. Owen

This is a Welsh name for ‘young warrior’ and has been on a rise since 2000. This name held a fantastic #36 positions in 2015. Owen is a unisex name but is used mainly for boys.

92. Perry

Perry is an English name used for ‘a dweller near a pear tree’.

93. Parvez

Parvez is an old Persian name and means commendable.

94. Pierre

Pierre is a famous French brand that goes by Pierre Cardin. It means ‘rock’ or ‘stone’.

95. Qasim

Want to teach your little boy to be loving and caring? Then name him Qasim, which is Arabic for ‘sharing’.

96. Roshaun

Roshaun is a great choice of a unisex baby name, which is a variant of Rashawn. It is formed by using the prefix ‘ra’ with the name Shawn, which derives from John and means god is gracious.

97. Warren

Warren is an Old English word meaning ‘to protect’. Warren Buffet is the most influential namesake.

98. Xavier

Used as a unisex name, Xavier means a ‘new house’ and has French and Spanish origins.

99. Yogi

Remember the Yogi Bear? This name means a ‘spiritual guru’ and is a very pleasant and calming name.

100. Zephan

This Hebrew name that means ‘treasured by God’ is probably one of the cutest names on our list of multiracial names.

Discover More Names

When you have to choose a name for your baby, a few hundreds of names may not be just enough. Keep digging our mine of baby names until you find that one precious gem.

With the vast influence of the French, Gaelic, Irish, and Spanish cultures, these baby names grew vast in numbers. Yes, there was some originality and a lot of creativity at work as well, which resulted in such a great collection of these names with both an urban and rural feel. Go ahead and splurge.

Do tell us if you know of more such cosmopolitan names and of your favorite pick too.

African american baby names_illustration

Image: Stable Diffusion/MomJunction Design Team

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do African-American baby names have any symbolic or spiritual significance?

In African-American culture, names often hold deep meaning and are drawn from historical icons or spiritual importance. For instance, Luther signifies a ‘people’s warrior,’ and Elijah embodies the meaning of ‘God is powerful.’ These names offer parents a chance to choose something truly meaningful. Another name, Nathan, has a biblical origin, symbolizing a ‘gift from God,’ reflecting the profound religious connections within African-American families.

2. Are there any positive connotations or associations with African-American baby names in society?

African American baby names have meanings that connect to their culture, history, and who they are as individuals. Names like Autry, which means ‘noble strength,’ and Gabriel, which means ‘God is my strength,’ show qualities like not giving up easily and having a strong will. Also, some names honor people from the past who worked hard for change and equality. These diverse names show how varied their cultures are and why respecting and enjoying various ways of naming is good.

Infographic: Best Baby Names Of Afro-American Origin

Many African-American mixed-racial families you can find across the USA and other parts of the world symbolize harmony. So, if you’re intrigued by their rich history and are a part of it, look at the infographic below for some name suggestions you may want to use for your little one.

african american names for your little one (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • African American names are a mixture of African, European, and Arabic cultures.
  • Many African American names carry profound meanings. For instance, Ezra means ‘someone who helps’ and Hannah means ‘grace.’
  • African American names like Kalisha and Lashonda are creative and invented using prefixes like ka and la.
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Shikha is a writer-turned-editor at MomJunction, with over seven years of experience in the field of content. Having done a certification in Relationship Coaching, her core interest lies in writing articles that guide couples through their courtship to marriage and parenthood. She also specializes in baby names. A postgraduate in Human Resources from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, she likes understanding...read full bio