The curious name Taimak debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1986. It appeared twice more, both times in the 1980s, before dropping out the data entirely.
1989: 5 baby boys named Taimak
1987: 6 baby boys named Taimak
1986: 8 baby boys named Taimak [debut]
Where did it come from?
Taimak Guarriello, the martial artist who played lead character Leroy Green in the movie The Last Dragon (1985). Leroy, a martial artist living in Harlem, was known to the other characters as “Bruce Leroy” because of his obsession with Bruce Lee.
It was Taimak’s first professional acting role, and, to date, his only lead role in a feature film. He was credited simply as “Taimak” in the opening credits.
(One of his co-stars in the movie was Prince protégé Vanity, and one of the songs from the soundtrack was the hit “Rhythm of the Night” by DeBarge.)
What does Taimak’s name mean? Here’s what he told Jet magazine in 2013:
I’m Black and Italian, but the name Taimak comes from the Aztec culture. “Teimoc” means striking eagle.
(I’m guessing it was based on the name Cuauhtémoc, which means “eagle that descends [in order to strike its prey]” in Nahuatl. Cuauhtémoc was the name of a 16th-century Aztec ruler.)
I recently read something about Prince and Apollonia, and it reminded me I hadn’t yet blogged about Prince and Apollonia. So here we go…
Prince — his real first name — was born in Minnesota in 1958. His full legal name is Prince Rogers Nelson. The “Prince Rogers” part comes from his father, who was a jazz musician with the stage name Prince Rogers (real name: John Nelson).
Prince’s albums started coming out in the late ’70s: For You (1978), Prince (1979), Dirty Mind (1980), Controversy (1981), and so forth.
Did Prince’s musical career affect the usage of the baby name Prince?
1986: 150 baby boys named Prince
1985: 195 baby boys named Prince
1984: 206 baby boys named Prince
1983: 167 baby boys named Prince
1982: 137 baby boys named Prince
1981: 146 baby boys named Prince
1980: 131 baby boys named Prince
1979: 92 baby boys named Prince
1978: 73 baby boys named Prince
1977: 59 baby boys named Prince
1976: 65 baby boys named Prince
Usage of the name Prince, which had been relatively steady for decades, started to rise right away. It hit a high point in 1984, the year Purple Rain (both the album and the movie) came out. After that, usage declined. (Perhaps Prince had become a little too famous at that point?)
In mid-1981, Prince put together an all-female R&B trio called Vanity 6 — named after lead singer Denise Katrina “Vanity” Matthews. The group put out their one and only album (the self-titled Vanity 6) in August of 1982.
Vanity left the band in 1983 after just 2 years, but she continued putting out music as a solo artist during the ’80s.
So did Vanity influence the usage of the baby name Vanity?
1989: 102 baby girls named Vanity
1988: 116 baby girls named Vanity [peak]
1987: 89 baby girls named Vanity
1986: 76 baby girls named Vanity
1985: 103 baby girls named Vanity
1984: 45 baby girls named Vanity
1983: 56 baby girls named Vanity
1982: 5 baby girls named Vanity [debut]
The name Vanity debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1982 and saw peak usage in 1988.
When Vanity left the band, Prince replaced her with (Patricia) Apollonia Kotero and changed the name of the trio from “Vanity 6” to “Apollonia 6.”
In 1984, not only did the group put out an album (the self-titled Apollonia 6), but Apollonia co-starred with Prince in the movie Purple Rain. (Her efforts earned her a Razzie nomination for “Worst New Star” of 1984.)
Did Apollonia influence the usage of the baby name Apollonia?
1987: 29 baby girls named Apollonia
1986: 53 baby girls named Apollonia
1985: 67 baby girls named Apollonia
1984: 28 baby girls named Apollonia
The name had charted a few times before, back in the early 1900s, but Prince’s protégé Apollonia put it back on the map in 1984. She also gave variants Apolonia and Appollonia a boost.
Did you know Prince had a female alter-ego named “Camille” for a time?
In fact, Camille was going to be the name of a 1986 album by his alter-ego Camille, but the project was scrapped. (The songs were going to be sung with altered vocals.)
If the album Camillehad come out that year, though, what affect do you think it would have had on the trajectory of the baby name Camille?