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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The (Emotional) Debut of Jentree

The names Jentree and Gentree both debuted in the U.S. baby name data last year. Jentree was given to 14 baby girls, and Gentree to 6 more.

Though the original form of the name, Gentry, has been on the rise recently — and has given rise to spelling variants* — these two particular variants didn’t pop up until a video featuring towheaded 2-year-old Jentree Joles went viral.

A one-minute clip of Jentree getting emotional while watching the movie The Good Dinosaur (2015) — specifically, the part where a young dinosaur became separated from his family — was posted to social media by her aunt in September of 2017.

The video racked up nearly a million views overnight. By the time Jentree and her family were featured on the local news several weeks later (Oct. 6), the video had been viewed 75 million times across several different platforms.

Gentry — both the surname and the vocabulary word — mean the same thing: “nobility of birth or character.” The word can be traced back (via Anglo-Norman French genterie and Old French gentil) to the ancient Roman word gens, which referred to one’s clan or tribe.

The baby name Gentry is particularly popular in a handful of central-ish U.S. states: Oklahoma (where Joles is from), Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Utah. It’s strongly associated with country music via duo Montgomery Gentry and singer-songwriter Bobbie Gentry (whose fame in the late ’60s inspired parents to use “Gentry” as a girl name more often).

What are your thoughts on the baby name Gentry? What spelling do you prefer?

*Gentrie, Gentri, Jentry, Jentri, Jentrie.

Sources: This 2-year-old girl’s reaction to a movie is making the internet emotional, Video Of BA Toddler’s Emotional Reaction To Movie Seen Nearly 75M Times, Gentry – Online Etymology Dictionary

The Emergence of Maleni

Maleni Cruz, from a “Get Ready With Maleni” makeup video

The fastest-rising baby name of 2018, in terms of a relative increase, was Maleni (pronounced mah-LEH-nee). The name Maleni was given to 6 baby girls in 2017, then shot up to a whopping 63 baby girls the next year.

What gave it a boost?

Maleni Cruz, one half of Insta-famous Brooklyn couple Chicklet and Maleni, who together had a breakout year in 2018.

Most Instagram feeds are carefully curated and filtered, but Chicklet and Maleni’s feeds feature funny clips of the pair butting heads (sometimes viciously) over everything from phone etiquette to the fact that they still live in Chicklet’s mom’s house. As one writer put it, Chicklet and Maleni “accumulated millions of fans by embracing everything you’re not supposed to be on social media.”

I think it’s particularly interesting to compare the rise of the name Maleni from 2017 to 2018 with the drop of the similar-sounding, FLOTUS-associated name Melania over the same stretch of time:

Usage of baby name Maleni vs. Usage of baby name Melania, 2017 to 2018

What are your thoughts on the name Maleni?

*Chicklet’s real name is Steven Negron.

Source: When this Instagram couple has vicious fights, millions of people tune in