How popular is the baby name Binta in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Binta and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Binta.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Binta

Number of Babies Named Binta

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Binta

Baby Names from Alex Haley’s “Roots”

In late 1976, Alex Haley’s novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family was published.

The book tells the story of Kunta Kinte, an 18th-century African man who is captured, brought to North America, and sold as a slave to a Virginia plantation owner.

In January of 1977, an 8-episode TV miniseries based on the novel aired in on ABC.

The televised version of Roots was wildly popular — 9 Emmy Awards, 1 Golden Globe, 1 Peabody, and some of the highest Nielsen ratings of all time.

More importantly, though, it had an unprecedented influence on baby names, inspiring thousands African-American parents to name their babies after Roots characters and actors. Below are some examples.

Kizzy and Kunta Kinte, Roots
Kizzy (Leslie Uggams) and Kunta Kinte (LeVar Burton) of Roots © Ebony

Levar & Kizzy

The top debut names of 1977 were Levar and Kizzy.

Levar comes from actor LeVar Burton, who played protagonist Kunta Kinte in the miniseries.

  • 1979: 175 baby boys named Levar [rank: 645th]
  • 1978: 254 baby boys named Levar [rank: 512th]
  • 1977: 523 baby boys named Levar [rank: 343rd] [debut]
  • 1976: not listed

The names Lavar, Levarr, Lavarr and Lavare also got a boost in 1977. (The last three were debuts.)

Kizzy comes from the character Kizzy, daughter of Kunta Kinte.

  • 1979: 269 baby girls named Kizzy [rank: 648th]
  • 1978: 456 baby girls named Kizzy [rank: 439th]
  • 1977: 1,115 baby girls named Kizzy [rank: 223rd] [debut]
  • 1976: not listed

So far, Kizzy’s 1977 debut is the highest baby name debut ever.

The names Kizzie, Kizzi, Kizzey, Lakizzy and Kizi also got a boost in 1977. (The last four were debuts.)

Kunta & Kinte

Kunta not only debuted in 1977, but it popped into the top 1,000 for the first and only time that year as well.

  • 1979: 16 baby boys named Kunta
  • 1978: 52 baby boys named named Kunta
  • 1977: 215 baby boys named Kunta [rank: 572nd] [debut]
  • 1976: not listed

Kinte also reached the top 1,000 for the first and only time in 1977, after debuting the year before.

  • 1978: 38 baby boys named Kinte
  • 1977: 104 baby boys named Kinte [rank: 839th]
  • 1976: 5 baby boys named Kinte [debut]
  • 1975: not listed

Related 1977 debuts include Kuntakinte, Kinta, Quinte, and Kunte.

Fanta, Jitu, Kairaba, Lamin, Omoro & Yaisa

Here are some other Roots-related debuts I’ve noticed.

Fanta, the name of a woman captured and enslaved along with Kunta Kinte (in the miniseries, not in the book):

  • 1979: 31 baby girls named Fanta
  • 1978: 34 baby girls named Fanta
  • 1977: 66 baby girls named Fanta [debut]
  • 1976: not listed

Jitu, from Ji-Tu Cumbuka, the name of the actor who played a wrestler in the miniseries:

  • 1979: not listed
  • 1978: not listed
  • 1977: 7 baby boys named Jitu [debut & one-hit wonder]
  • 1976: not listed

Kairaba, the name of Kunta Kinte’s grandfather:

  • 1979: not listed
  • 1978: not listed
  • 1977: 8 baby boys named Kairaba [debut & one-hit wonder]
  • 1976: not listed

Lamin, the name of Kunta Kinte’s brother:

  • 1979: not listed
  • 1978: 7 baby boys named Lamin
  • 1977: 12 baby boys named Lamin [debut]
  • 1976: not listed

Omoro, the name of Kunta Kinte’s father:

  • 1979: 8 baby boys named Omoro
  • 1978: 11 baby boys named Omoro
  • 1977: 19 baby boys named Omoro [debut]
  • 1976: not listed

Yaisa, the name of Kunta Kinte’s grandmother:

  • 1979: 6 baby girls named Yaisa
  • 1978: 11 baby girls named Yaisa
  • 1977: 17 baby girls named Yaisa [debut]
  • 1976: not listed

Binta, Haley & Toby

Finally, two names that were given a boost by Roots, and one that was definitely not.

Binta, the name of Kunta Kinte’s mother:

  • 1979: 10 baby girls named Binta
  • 1978: 11 baby girls named Binta
  • 1977: 16 baby girls named Binta
  • 1976: not listed
  • 1975: 5 baby girls named Binta

Haley, from Alex Haley, the name of the author:

  • 1979: 512 baby girls named Haley [rank: 414th]
  • 1978: 516 baby girls named Haley [rank: 398th]
  • 1977: 462 baby girls named Haley [rank: 442nd]
  • 1976: 117 baby girls named Haley
  • 1975: 110 baby girls named Haley

Toby, the name given to Kunta Kinte by the plantation owner:

  • 1981: 458 baby boys named Toby [rank: 375th]
  • 1980: 648 baby boys named Toby [rank: 304th]
  • 1979: 666 baby boys named Toby [rank: 299th]
  • 1978: 884 baby boys named Toby [rank: 239th]
  • 1977: 1,060 baby boys named Toby [rank: 209th]
  • 1976: 1,095 baby boys named Toby [rank: 201st]

The usage of Toby declined quickly after Roots aired. Was it already on its way out? Was it pulled down by the slave-name association? Both? Hm…

Source: “Pride in ‘Roots’ Inspiring Blacks to Name Babies After Characters.” Morning Record and Journal 19 Mar. 1977: 14.
Image from Ebony, June 1977, page 76.