Why are names important?
- Names have power
- Names tell a story
- Names connects you to history
- Names are a beautiful representation of who you are
- Names signify what tribe you come from
- Names represents the language you speak
- Names identify your region you come from.
I love names and names with meaning. It’s something about the thought process that goes into play when you name someone or something.
A good name is more precious than silver and gold.Yoruba Proverb
In American culture, names are usually given without meaning. American names usually tell a story about why the name was chosen. If you ask an American what does their name means 70% of the time you will hear a story about why they were given that name. In most cases, names that are given are trending or popular during that generational time period.
I was born in the ’70s, in the African American community the popular names at that time were names with La in the beginning. Many children were named LaShawn, LaKeisha, LaTrina, LaTonya, LaKeisla, and so on. My daughter was born in the ’90s and during that period, names with J were popular such as Jada, Jalen, Jaela, and etc.
My first name is LaShawn and my middle name is Antionette. Both of those names have no meaning at all. However, both of my names have a story. LaShawn is a name my mother made up and she loved the name. My mother was going to name me Georgette, thank God she didn’t give me that problem. I couldn’t imagine living with that name, lol. Antionette was given to me because it was close to my father’s name which is Anthony.
Using hindsight, I wish I would have done more research before naming my daughter. Her name is Jaela, it has no meaning. It was a name made up, but I loved it. And my daughter loves it. Her middle name is Denise, which is my mother’s middle name.
I prefer unisex names, so I was going to name my daughter Jalen, after a professional basketball player because I loved the name. A friend suggested that I name her Jaela, and I liked how it sounded and I fell in love with the name.
My husband is of African descent and apart of the Igbo tribe. He has the most beautiful name in the world. I fell in love with the name and loved it, even more, when he told me what his name means. His name is Uchenna which means “Gods Will” I loved his name so much that my legal name is now LaShawn Uchenna Ani.
According to BBC,” A West African name is much more than a simple, functional tag to identify someone, it is a symbol, an emblem.”
In West Africa, your given name can shape a person’s character, mold their social identity, and even influence their destiny. The meaning attached to a name will determine much about the present and the future of a child.
Uchenna have three beautiful sisters and two brothers. All of his siblings have the most beautiful names. His three sisters are Chinyere, Chinasa, and Chukwuemeka. His brothers are named Ejike and Nwamaka.
Chinyere-means” God Gave” in Igbo
Chinasa -means “God Answers” in Igbo
Chukwuemeka- means” God has done something great”
Ejike means “The world is not by strength but by grace”
Nwamaka means” A child is good”
In America, I wish we would have a culture of giving our children names with meaning. We must remember that our children names are the signature of who they will be and who they are.
Your name represents every transaction you will make in this life. It’s the one aspect we all have in common. Your name is the heart of your existence. Even when you expire, your name lives on.