What gave the baby name Shawnte a boost in 1977?

Shawnte Northcutte on "The New Mickey Mouse Club" (1977-1979)
Shawnte on “The New Mickey Mouse Club

According to the U.S. baby name data, the name Shawnte reached the girls’ top 1,000 for the first and only time in 1977:

  • 1979: 89 baby girls named Shawnte
  • 1978: 113 baby girls named Shawnte
  • 1977: 207 baby girls named Shawnte [rank: 745th]
  • 1976: 32 baby girls named Shawnte
  • 1975: 22 baby girls named Shawnte

A slew of other spellings also saw higher usage that year. Examples include Shante, Shawnta, Chante, Shaunte, Shaunta, Shonta, Shantae, Shawntay, Shauntay, Shawntee, Shonte, Shontay, and, most notably, Shawntae — the fastest-rising girl name of 1977.

What caused this sudden interest in the name Shawnte?

A Mouseketeer named Shawnte Northcutte.

She was part of The New Mickey Mouse Club — Disney’s attempt to revive the original Mickey Mouse Club of the 1950s.

The new version of the variety show featured disco-inspired music and a more ethnically diverse cast.

It premiered in January of 1977. (In fact, several days before it began, the new Mouseketeers were introduced to television audiences during the Disney-produced halftime show of Superbowl XI.)

The New Mickey Mouse Club “couldn’t recapture the magic of the original,” however, and was discontinued after just six months. Reruns finally stopped airing in January of 1979.

Interestingly, Shawnte Northcutte pronounced her first name two different ways. Sometimes she emphasized the first syllable (SHAWN-tay), as in the first episode [vid] of the show, and other times she emphasized the second syllable (shawn-TAY), as in the tenth episode [vid].

What are your thoughts on the name Shawnte? (How would you spell it?)


Image: Screenshot of The New Mickey Mouse Club

2 thoughts on “What gave the baby name Shawnte a boost in 1977?

  1. My cousin is a 1977 Shaunta! She pronounces it with an accent on the second syllable, shawn-TAY.

  2. Oh what a cool coincidence!

    My hunch is that most of the people with this name pronounce it the same way your cousin does.

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