The Launch of Normani

Normani
Normani in the video for “Motivation” (2019)

Former Fifth Harmony member Normani has seen a lot of solo success lately. In 2017, she placed third on Dancing with the Stars. In 2018 and 2019, she popped up on tracks with singers like Khalid, Sam Smith, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj. And, just a few months ago, she released her first solo single, “Motivation” [vid].

All this extra attention has put the name Normani on the onomastic map, so to speak, as it debuted in the SSA data 2017:

  • 2018: 17 baby girls named Normani
  • 2017: 8 baby girls named Normani [debut]
  • 2016: unlisted

Normani’s full name is Normani Kordei Hamilton. She was named “Normani” in honor of her maternal uncle, Norman, who died of lung cancer before she was born.

It was my mom’s brother and she promised, cause I’m my mom’s firstborn and her only child, she promised that her first child would be named after him, and his name is Norman, so she named me Normani. She was also really into fashion. She was watching an Armani fashion show and put the name together.

How high do you think the name Normani will climb in the 2019 data?

Sources: SSA, Normani – Wikipedia, Normani Is Finally Stepping Out On Her Own, Normani Kordei partners with American Cancer Society

The Coming of Kaoir

Keyshia Ka'oir, 2017

Video vixen Keyshia Ka’oir [pronounced kee-sha kay-or] founded her companies Ka’oir Cosmetics and Ka’oir Fitness in 2010 and 2011, respectively. She also started dating rapper Gucci Mane (born Radric Delantic Davis) around that time. So it’s not surprising that, within a few years, the name Kaoir started popping up in the U.S. baby name data:

  • 2018: 34 baby girls named Kaoir
  • 2017: 15 baby girls named Kaoir
  • 2016: 9 baby girls named Kaoir
  • 2015: 5 baby girls named Kaoir
  • 2014: 9 baby girls named Kaoir [debut]
  • 2013: unlisted

Usage picked up with the airing of the 10-episode TV show “The Mane Event” (Oct. to Dec., 2017), which kicked off with a livestreamed broadcast of Keyshia and Gucci’s wedding. (The other nine episodes consisted of wedding planning.) With the show also came the debuts of the variant names Kior, Kaior, Keior, and Kayoir.

Notably, Kior was a top debut name of 2017 — I think because various media outlets (including VH1 and Bossip) were misspelling her name “Kior” around that time.

kior typo
VH1 misspells Ka’oir as “Kior” in 2017

She began her modelling career as Keyshia Dior in 2009, but changed her name to Keyshia Ka’oir a few years later. She put out a press release about the switch in early 2012:

I have officially changed my name from Keyshia Dior to Keyshia Ka’oir. […] I decided to put “Keyshia Dior” the urban video model successfully to rest and launch “Keyshia Ka’oir” to continue the expansion of my imprint. 

Sources: 5 Things to Know About Gucci Mane’s New Wife Keyshia Ka’oir, Gucci Mane’s Livestreamed Wedding Made the All-White Party a Thing Again, Introducing…KEYSHIA KA’OIR

The ‘Hip Hop’ Names Kiyanne & Jaquae

Kiyanne arguing with Jaquae

Of the many Love & Hip Hop stars to influence baby names* over the last decade, here are two of the most recent: Kiyanne and Jaquae.

Jaquáe (born James Harris) and Kiyanne — both rappers — were part of Love & Hip Hop: New York. They were romantically involved during season eight (2017-2018), but broke up during season nine (2018-2019).

As a result of their newfound fame, Kiyanne’s name debuted in the data and Jaquáe’s made an impressive comeback after an absence of several years.

Do you like the names Kiyanne and Jaquáe? Would you use either one?

*Other baby names influenced by various versions of Love & Hip Hop include Somaya, Kimbella, Benzino, Tahiry, Mendeecees, Kalenna, Jhonni, Mariahlynn, Lyrica, Safaree, and Cyn.

The Name Thylane (tee-lahn)

Elle France cover, Thylane Blondeau
Thylane on the cover of Elle France in April, 2019

The French name Thylane debuted in the U.S. baby name data just recently, in 2017:

  • 2018: unlisted
  • 2017: 5 baby girls named Thylane [debut]
  • 2016: unlisted

I think the reason must be the rising visibility of French model Thylane Blondeau (b. 2001), who is followed by over 3 million people on Instagram.

Her first name is pronounced tee-lahn in French (you can hear it in this video, and also in this one). But Thylane herself (in this video) suggests that other pronunciations (like tee-layn or ty-layn) might be easier for those who don’t speak French.

What are your thoughts on this name?

Baby Name Battle: Zhavia vs. Elanese

Zhavia vs. Elanese on The Four

The baby name Zhavia — plus at least five spelling variants — debuted very impressively in the U.S. baby name data in 2018:

The name Elanese also debuted in 2018, though not as impressively:

Both names came from the same source: The Four, a reality TV music competition that began airing in January of 2018.

Vocalists Elanese [EL-ah-nees] Lansen and Zhavia [zha-VIE-ah] Ward went head-to-head in the very first episode. Elanese was eliminated, but Zhavia lasted for seven episodes (out of a total of eight).

The heavy marketing of the show toward the end of 2017 probably also played a part in highlighting these two particular contestants — and, of course, their names.

So we know that Zhavia came out on top in both the singing competition and in the baby name data, but which of the two names do you prefer? Vote below, then tell us why in the comments!

Which of these two names do you prefer?

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