Where did the baby name Tamba come from in 1977?

Advertisement for Tamba hair relaxer in Ebony magazine (July, 1977).
Part of a Tamba ad in Ebony (1977)

The name Tamba debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1977:

  • 1979: unlisted
  • 1978: 6 baby girls named Tamba
  • 1977: 6 baby girls named Tamba [debut]
  • 1976: unlisted
  • 1975: unlisted


Because that’s the year the makers of liquid hair relaxer Tamba launched a national advertising campaign, with ads appearing prominently in Ebony magazine (among other places).

The product seems to have been on the market only a few years, but it made enough of an impression on RuPaul that he mentioned Tamba in his 1993 song “Back to My Roots”:

This song reached the #1 spot on the Hot Dance Club Play chart, believe it or not.

What do you think of the name Tamba?

P.S. Did you know the “Ru” in RuPaul was inspired by roux, the a flour-and-fat mixture used to thicken sauces? RuPaul’s mother was a Louisiana native, and she chose the name to “pay homage to her creole roots…Mama always said “the best Gumbo starts with the perfect roux.”” She also liked the name’s star-power, proclaiming (rather prophetically): “He’s gonna be a star, ’cause ain’t another m*therf*cker alive with a name like that.”

Sources: The Perfect Ru – News | RuPaul, RuPaul: The King of Queens

Image: © 1977 Ebony

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