Why did Braxton debut as a girl name in 1994?

Toni Braxton's self-titled album (1993)
Toni Braxton album

The surname Braxton — which has a long history of usage as a boy name in the U.S. — started popping up in the data as a girl name in the mid-1990s:

  • 1996: 25 baby girls named Braxton
  • 1995: 27 baby girls named Braxton
  • 1994: 17 baby girls named Braxton [debut]
  • 1993: unlisted
  • 1992: unlisted

(Hundreds of baby boys were also being named Braxton during these years.)


Because of R&B singer Toni Braxton, who released her successful debut album, Toni Braxton, in mid-1993.

The album’s first single, “Another Sad Love Song”, peaked at #7 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart in late 1993. The second single, “Breathe Again,” peaked at #3 in early 1994. Also in early 1994, she won her first two Grammy Awards: Best New Artist and Best R&B Vocal Performance (for her first single).

Despite Toni’s influence, the name Braxton never became as popular for girls as it was for boys:

Graph of the usage of the baby name Braxton in the U.S. since 1880.
Usage of the baby name Braxton

The year it saw peak usage as a female name — in 2004, with 53 baby girls — it was still picking up steam as a male name. Braxton’s trendiness as a boy name topped out in the mid-2010s, when the name was getting close to the top 100.

Prior to going solo, Toni Braxton was part of a quintet called The Braxtons with her four younger sisters, all of whom have T-names: Traci, Towanda, Trina, and Tamar.

What are your thoughts on Braxton as baby name? (Do you prefer it for girls, or for boys?)

Sources: Toni Braxton – Wikipedia, Toni Braxton – Billboard, Tamar Braxton shares Vincent Herbert love story

P.S. In 2013, Toni’s youngest sister Tamar Braxton welcomed a son in 2013 with then-husband Vincent Herbert. They named him Logan Vincent — in part for the initials “L.V.” On the talk show Bethenny, Tamar explained: “It gives me lots of reasons to buy Louis Vuitton.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.