Popular Baby Names 2012: Blue and Django Made the List. Insert Deep Sigh Here.

Well yeah—that didn’t take long, did it? Turns out that as original as Beyonce and Jay-Z thought they were being when they named their daughter Blue Ivy Carter, chances are she probably won’t be the only “Blue” out on the soccer field. That’s because everybody and their unoriginal mama is borrowing the name for their own newborn daughters, making it one of the “hottest names of 2012.”

Nameberry.com, the baby naming site run by the experts behind the bestselling book The Baby Name Bible, says Beyonce and Jay-Z’s choice of Blue for their daughter “catapulted this stylish but quietly-used color name to superstardom,” with the numbers of parents viewing the name Blue rising more than 600 percent on Nameberry in the first half of the year.

Blue joins  a strange list of most viewed baby names of the year thus far—many of which are tied to characters in popular movies, TV shows and ancient rome, including names from Hunger Games, Game of Thrones, Gladiator and even Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming slave action flick, Django. o_O

I mean, I guess there are a bunch of 30-somethings named Kizzy walking around—the TV Epic, Roots, featuring a slave woman by that name, debuted in 1977, 35 years ago. When you’re thinking up a name for your kid, you find your inspiration where you can get it. But you’ll have to forgive me: I’m finding it hard to reconcile that when my Mari is old enough to babysit, she just might be pulling Saturday night shifts watching over children named Django, Decimus (from the Hunger Games), Theon (from the George R.R. Martin fantasy series), Halcyon (the name of actress Beth Littleford’s baby girl), Arya (from Game of Thrones), Gatsby (after the classic novel) and Niall (one of the curiously-styled singers in the boy band One Direction).

Of course, each of these beats the hell out of La-ah (pronounced Luh-DASH-Uh), a name that keeps popping up in yearbooks from Texas to Georgia and Florida. Southerners are some really creative, colorful people to come up with a baby name that substitutes actual dashes for letters. *insert image of Denene making a loooooong blank stare*

I’m not going to front: there was some celebrity name thought that went into my daughters’ names. I adored Mekhi Phifer’s first name so much that it found its way into my first novel, Love Don’t Live Here Anymore—the character’s name is Mekhi and her nickname is Mikki—and eventually got chosen as Mari’s middle name. (It would have been her first name, with the nickname Mikki, but Nick put his foot down on that one—talmbout Mekhi is a “boy” name.) Years later, after I interviewed Mekhi Phifer for Honey magazine and found out what a neanderthal he was to his ex, Malinda Williams, I was grateful my child answers to Mari.

Later, when I got pregnant with my second daughter, I wanted her name to be Schuyler, with Sky as her nickname. The inspiration? An old white guy who ran New York City’s Cultural Affairs department under former mayor Rudolph Giuliani—Schuyler Chapin. I just liked the name. Nick chimed in that it was a “boy” name and that was the end of that. I also considered Selah, a beautiful Bible word that means “Amen” or “forever”; I thought it was such a lovely, feminine name—rich in meaning. Biblical. Later, though, I remembered that it was the name of Lauryn Hill’s first daughter and I didn’t want my daughter to spend the rest of her life explaining that she was NOT named after L-Boogie’s baby, so we went with a name that has much more personal meaning to us: Lila Elisabeth, after my grandmother and mother. It’s sweet, feminine and, a decade ago, was pretty uncommon.

Of course, the name “Lila” made it onto Nameberry’s “Top Boy and Top Girl Baby Names of 2012” after going a decade virtually undetected, debuting at No. 10 among the names parents are most likely to choose for their children. I can’t blame them—it is a lovely name. I’ve heard that it’s Arabic for “Lilac,” means “night” in Persian, “Divine play” in Sanskrit and “Good” in Swahili—all words that accurately describe my baby girl, who is a ball of chocolately, flowery, divine goodness. We chose well.

Here’s to hoping the people who name their babies Blue after Beyonce and Jay-Z’s girl, or, my God, Halcyon or Django, feel the same way years after their kid is out on the soccer field and the fellow parents are all, “Oh. Your kid’s name is Django. Like the movie.” o_O


1. What’s In a Baby Name? For Some of Them, No Interview
1. Baby Names In the 1940 Census: Turns Out My Grandparents Were Trendy
2. Carrying Low, the Nose Spread & A New Blood Test: How To Tell If You’re Having A Boy Or A Girl

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.


  1. Great article. People don’t realize that you need to put lots of thought into what you name your children. I have 2 sons…Daddy named the oldest and I named the youngest one. Daddy just named the first one after him and I wanted my youngest son to have a “W” name like me. His name is Wisdom Nicholas and I love it. When people hear his name they just love it.

  2. Not Django – please… this can’t be life…

  3. At least the little Djangos have the option of pretending to be named for Django Reinhardt the jazz guitarist. And Niall is a real name, quite mainstream and popular here in Ireland. But the La-ahs and Theons, erm, maybe it will build character.

    • I’m Jamaican and I have a friend (who’s also Jamaican) by the name of Theon. She’s almost thirty and I don’t think anyone even knew where her name came from. I like the name actually.

  4. I was amazed at so many people have named their daughter Blue now! But I guess I can’t be too surprised, because when Beyonce hit the scene alot of little girls were named after her too. OH well. I wonder how many people will add the Ivy!

  5. Maybe people think by naming their newborns after celebrities that some of that shine will rub off on them. Who knows? I can only speak for me and the name game was all about meaning, not trends (…and getting them the interview!)

  6. My husband is a teacher and he had a La-ah in his class. Unbelievable.

  7. Ha! I have a Sela, and she loves to remind people that she was born BEFORE Lauryn Hill’s Selah… 🙂

  8. All I have to say is………La-ah (pronounced Luh-DASH-Uh) which took me at least three re-reads to actually understand how it was pronounced, well I think those folks who started that trend need to seriously rethink that. Now if you will excuse me I am going to go laugh hard and rapidly and tell other people about that nonsense.

  9. Everyone claims to have know a La-a but I it’s a big fat lie. I am trying to do a documentary and feature her (or the number of them) but anytime I ask the person who says they know one to contact me there is no response. Furthermore, in my research I’ve found that that this story is relatively recent, starting around 2008 yet La-a is any where from 5 years old to 20 years old. And no matter the age difference she’s always belligerent and speaks fake Ebonics. Racist much? Please Black people let’s not perpetuate this.

  10. I do like unique names to a degree. My youngest son’s name is Legend Xavier (Legend X sounds like a super hero) and I’m currently pregnant and we will name this child London Ellington. London and Ellington aren’t exactly unique but I think they have a great ring to the name. I’m not big on biting other’s names. Due the fact that beyonce named her daughter blue that would reallllly make me shy away from such a name. But that’s just me.

    • I have a unique name myself and it made me feel ‘set apart’ even as a child. I still have to break my name up in syllables for people to pronounce it but I’m accustomed to that. I’m having my first child in less than two weeks and we’re naming him Teig Xolani. Both names just spoke to us when we did our research to find a name for our son that was unique and meant something special.

  11. I was named after the doctor who delivered me, Doctor H.F. Brock, he was black. I named my oldest son Dace (from a Air Force buddy), short and unusual. He was the only Dace in any of his classes all through school and college even up to now. I second son is named Derek. I always liked the name Derek, but not the name Derrick who was my child hood friend. Bo Derek did it for me and it went along with the name Dace.

    My grandson will be born in Mar or Apr i hope they use the name Darius!

  12. I have a very unique name

    but i prefer echo

  13. My name is Mari and my daugher is named Lila!

  14. Her name is Lila Blue! wild

  15. My husband and I thought we were clever and ‘cool’ to call our son James by the nickname Django. He was born with only 2 fingers and a thumb on one hand (and no hand on the other arm). When we found out, the first thing my husband said was ‘well I guess he’ll never play guitar’…this was meant to be lighthearted and neither of us play any instruments. It just popped into his head. The doctor said ‘well, there is always Django Reinhardt’. We are all Caucasian so now that the movie came out we get a lot of flak over the name and he is often teased about it. Not really bullied because everyone knows him as Django just a lot of teasing. Nobody used to know what Django meant (I lot of kids confused it with the movie Jumanji when he was little). And yes, we have said many times through the years ‘the D is silent’.

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