As usual, the disclaimer: Some of the names below were already on the rise. Others may have been influenced by more than just the single pop culture person/event listed. I leave it up to you to judge the degree/nature of pop culture influence in each case.
I was surprised that Adonis and Wade jumped in usage as much as they did.
I was also surprised that Wrigley barely jumped at all in usage. Maybe “Wrigley” reminds too many people of gum?
Where the heck is Usain? Why is Usain not in the data yet? Sure, track and field is relatively unpopular in the United States. Still, I thought Rio might do it — with the help of that viral photo of Usain Bolt cheekily grinning at the competition in the middle of that 100 meter sprint.
Finally, as a former ’80s kid, I did have my fingers crossed for Voltron. Oh well…
How about you? Did any of these rises/falls surprise you?
It’s December 2 — the doubly momentous day on which Britney Spears celebrates her birthday and on which we start another round of the annual Pop Culture Baby Name Game.
Which baby names will see significant movement on the charts in 2016 thanks to popular culture (TV, movies, music, sports, politics, products, current events, video games, etc.)? Below are some possibilities. Leave a comment with the names you’d add — and don’t forget to mention the pop culture influence.
The phenomenally popular mini-series Roots (1977) didn’t just set TV viewership records and win a slew of awards. It also had a big impact on U.S. baby names — the biggest impact of any pop culture event of the 20th century, in fact.
Because it’s back! The History Channel will be airing a 4-part remake of Roots in a couple of weeks, starting on May 30.
Many of the ads I’ve seen so far happen to be name-focused, ironically. Several of the teaser clips on YouTube feature a voice saying, “Your name is your spirit. Your name is your shield. Your name is Kunta Kinte.”
I don’t expect the new version of Roots to have the same impact that the original did. But I’m sure it will raise the profile (and thereby increase the usage) of at least a few baby names — likely a mix of names we’re already familiar with (e.g., Kizzy, Kunta) and names that are new this time around, such as:
Malachi – the name of the actor who plays Kunta Kinte
Regé-Jean – the name of the actor who plays Chicken George
Emayatzy – the name of the actress who plays Belle
E’myri – the name of the actress who plays young Kizzy
Cyrus – the name of a (new?) character, played by hip-hop artist T.I.*
Which baby name do you think will get the biggest boost from the remake of Roots?
*The baby names Major, Messiah and King made big gains in 2012 thanks to T.I.’s reality show T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle.
A reader named Heather has a 2-year-old named Tucker David (nn Tuck) and is expecting twin boys. She writes:
We were thinking of Henry Edward and Andrew William (we would call him Drew for short) as names because all 4 are family names, but think they might be a bit too traditional and might flow with Tucker. We are looking for some suggestions. Nothing starting with the letter T, please. We have nephews named Travis and Timothy and our dogs name begins with T as well – haha!
Two or three syllables would be best. 1 syllable can be kind of short considering our last name is only 1 syllable.
Our heritage is English, Irish and Czech. We are not bound to that, but typically are drawn to it as a preference. :)
(Their surname sounds like Hoyt, but starts with an F.)
I think Henry and Andrew sound good with Tucker. I know some parents prefer that their children’s names “match” on a stylistic level, but I think non-matching sibsets sound just fine, so long as they don’t go too far in the other direction (e.g. Abdul-Aziz, Rodolphe & Bud).
I’m also a big fan of family names, so I like Henry and Andrew (and Edward and William) for that reason as well.