27 Popular Black Boy Names & Their Meaning
Have you noticed a trend in popular black boy names?
Are there some names that when you hear them, you instantly know that it belongs to a black male?
Name some in your head right now.
You could probably easily name 5 or more.
There’s a trend in popular black boy names and we’re here to countdown 27 of the most popular ones and their meanings.
Darnell Is An African American Boys Name
While it could be spelled with one “l,” the most common form of this popular African American boy name is spelled with two.
With its origins in English, Darnell can be seen as a unisex name but is predominantly seen as a male name.
The name was rare at the beginning of the 20th century but began to grow in popularity during the 1950s.
With its peak hitting in the early 1980s, the popularity of the name has steadily decreased since then.
It is the 1,800 most used name at the time of writing.
Another popular black guy name, Deshawn has Irish origins.
Meaning “God is gracious,” the name is an extension of the name “Shawn.”
The use of this name peaked in the late 1990s.
After a steady decline for close to 20 years, the name began to regrow in popularity around 2015.
Someone of note with this name is DeShawn Stevenson, an NBA player on the Washington Wizards.
Marquis is a unique name on this list for the usage of the letter “q.”
With English origins, the name marquis originally came from a title.
Meaning “a nobleman ranking below a duke and above an earl or a count,” the name became more popular in 1968.
After growing through the 70s and 80s, the name peaked in the early 90s.
Even with a steady decrease over the years, it experienced another peak in 2004 and then continued to decrease before plateauing more recently.
If you’re looking for a strong male, Terrell is a great name.
Another name of this list that’s of English origin, Terrell means “strong-willed.”
Around since before the 20th century, the name has experienced increasing popularity before peaking during the late 1980s.
The name also experienced a spike in 1998.
This spike might have to do with the success of NFL newcomer Terrell Owens to the San Francisco 49ers during the 1997 season.
Few of the names on this list are like this one.
Treyvon is a combination of the names Trey and Devin.
So while Treyvon might not have its own meaning, it could be seen as having a combination of meanings.
The name “Trey” can have multiple meanings.
Coming from Old French or Latin, it means “the three.”
It could also be seen as coming from the modern French word for “very.”
The name Devin also means “divine.”
If looking at this from a religious perspective, the name Treyvon would mean “the three divine” signifying the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Tyrone Is Another Name For Black Men
Now we’ve probably all heard the name Tyrone because of the popular song by Erykah Badu.
The name comes from Greek origins and had two meanings – “land of Owen” and “young soldier.”
The use of Tyrone was very minimal at the beginning of the 20th century and began to grow in popularity during the 1940s.
It experienced its peak in 1970 and maintained relatively popular while also steadily decreasing between the 80s and 2000s.
And no, I don’t mean William.
While William is a popular name in general, Willie is a popular name for black boys.
With Germanic origins, Willie means “resolute protector.”
The name has been on a steady decline since the beginning of the 2000s.
Even so, this name was exceedingly popular at the end of the 19th century and during the early years of the 1900s.
This name peaked in 1910.
A celebrity who shares this name is Willie Taylor, a singer from Diddy’s former band Day26.
Demetrius, A Famous Black Boy Name
Demetrius might be a popular name for black males but this name has feminine origins.
The name is of Greek origins and means “Goddess of fertility.”
Many might be inspired to use this name from a number of different places like Shakespearean plays A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Antony and Cleopatra.
There’s even the character Demetrius from the Disney animated film Hercules.
Most notably, you might recognize the celebrity Demetrius Shipp Jr. with the name.
He starred as Tupac in the 2017 biopic All Eyez on Me.
Hakeem is a popular Arabic name that is often used for black boys.
A form of the name Akeem, it means wise, healer, or physician.
The name experienced a massive increase in popularity in 1988.
This could be due to the variation of the name “Akeem” being used for Eddie Murphy’s character in the 1988 film Coming to America.
The name also experienced a spike after 1993 which could be due to the NBA player Hakeem Olajuwon.
Originally for Nigeria, the basketball player led the Houston Rockets to NBA championships in 1994 and 1995.
Another name of Teutonic (German) origins, Reginald means “king.”
The name became prominent at the end of the 1800s.
Starting in 1947, the name began a steady increase until it peaked in 1968.
Although the name use has been decreasing since this time, you might recognize a few celebrities with the name including Reginald VelJohnson and Reginald Lewis.
Jamal, Often Used For Baby Black Boys
Jamal is another name on this list that has Arabic origins.
With its meaning of “beauty,” is a great name to give baby boys.
While the name wasn’t used often before the 1960s, it began to rise during the late ‘70s before reaching its peak in 1994.
There are a few celebrities with this name, one of them being actor Jamal Woolard who starred as the Notorious B.I.G. in his biopic.
Athletes Jamal Crawford and Jamal Adams also share the name.
A name of Greek origin, Maurice means “dark-skinned.”
Over time, the name has experienced a good amount of popularity steadily increasing from the late 1800s to its peak in 1913.
Although its usage decreased following this, the name began to gain more traction during the 1950.
The name isn’t as popular as it once was, but it did fall into the Top 1000 names at the time of writing.
Another fusion name on this list, Jalen comes from James and Lenore.
James is actually a form of the Hebrew name “Jacob” which means “one who follows.”
Lenore is of French origin and means “light.”
If that’s the case, then Jalen could be said to mean one who follows the light.
There isn’t much use of the name Jalen until the late 1980s, but the name greatly spiked in 2000 before decreasing in the years following.
Malik, An Arabic Originated Black Man Name
Another Arabic name on this list, Malik means “master” or “king.”
The name was rarely in use prior to the 1970s and greatly increased over the following years, spiking and peaking in 1996.
While there are few celebrities with this name, you might recognize the actor Malik Yoba.
An origin we have yet to see on this list, Darius is a name with Persian roots.
With the meaning “good,” it’s a great name to use for baby boys.
Around since the 1800s, the name and its usage began a steady increase in the 1970s.
Darius experienced a number of spikes during the 1990s as well.
Two celebrities you might recognize with the name are Darius McCrary from Family Matters and Darius Rucker, the lead singer of the band Hootie & the Blowfish.
Like most names, Xavier has Latin origins and biblical meanings.
Xavier means “savior.”
The name wasn’t very popular until a slow increase that began in the 1960s.
At the turn of the century, the name began a steady incline until it peaked in 2007.
Since then, the name has continued to be very popular even as it slowly decreases in popularity.
If you’re looking for a name that is certain to have masculine connotations as a young boy grows, DeAndre is a good choice.
With Scottish origins, Deandre means “manly.”
The name was practically nonexistent in use prior to the 1960s but experienced a period of heavy use from 1989 to 2002.
DeAndre is a popular name among athletes, a list that includes DeAndre Jordan and DeAndre Hopkins.
Terrence is a great name for someone a bit more sensitive and caring.
Just look at Terrence Howard.
The name is a form of Terence and has Latin roots.
It means “tender,” “gracious,” or “good.”
Leading with Terrence Howard, Terrence J is also a celebrity who shares the name.
The name was very popular for over 50 years between 1942 and 1994.
This name is of French origin and is a form of the name Andrew.
It means “manly.”
Since the 1950s, Andre has been a pretty popular name peaking around the late 1960s.
The name continued its popularity until 1996 when it began a slow decline.
Some celebrities who share the name are the popular Andre 3000 as well as NBA player Andre Iguodala.
Darryl Is A Famous One
While we’re used to seeing Darryl spelled with two r’s, it’s actually a form of “Daryl.”
The name is of Anglo-Saxon origin and means “dear” or “beloved.”
Darryl’s usage began in the early 1900s with its first spike being in the late 1930s.
It would continue to rise, steadily spiking in the 1960s before peaking in 1965.
Since then, the name has slowly decreased in popularity.
Some celebrities who share this name are Darryl Strawberry and Darryl McDaniels from RunDMC.
While Dominique seems like a female name, many don’t know that it actually started out as a male name before it was adapted for female use as well.
The name Dominique has French origins and means “of the Lord.”
It had very little use prior to 1981 before soaring to one of the most popular names ten years later.
A famous male celebrity with this name would be NBA All Star Dominique Wilkins, and while this list is for male names, we can’t help but mention Olympic gymnast Dominique Dawes.
Another name of Latin origin, Antoine is another popular name for black boys.
There are tons of different variations of this name including Antwone and Antonne.
The meaning of this name is “priceless” or “flower.”
Antoine had a few peaks of usage during the 70s and 80s.
While there aren’t many celebrities who share this name, you might remember seeing its used in the 2002 film Antwone Fisher starring Denzel Washington.
Cornell isn’t just the name of an Ivy League school in New York.
It’s also a popular name for black boys.
Coming from the name Cornelius, the name is of Latin origins and means “horn-colored.”
Ever since it’s usage began in the 1800s, the name has experienced steady inclines and declines before and after its peak in 1962.
This name is another one of the list that is derived from another name.
A form of Marc, the name means “warlike.”
With Latin origins, it’s been around since before the 20th century.
Since the 1950s, the name and its usage have been experiencing a steady increase that has continued into the 2010s.
Let’s be real.
Once you hear the name, you think of the restaurant Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles.
A different origin than most names on this list, Roscoe has Scandinavian roots and means “from the deer forest.”
The name was very popular prior to the 1900s.
Experiencing its peak very early on in 1888, the name’s use has steadily decreased since then.
Not only is Peter a popular name for black boys, but it’s popular for boys in general.
The name has Greek origins and means “a rock.”
It also has many biblical connotations due to Peter, one of Jesus’s 12 apostles and the pillar of the Catholic Church.
Up until the 1970s, Peter was one of the most popular names used for baby boys.
Since then, it has decreased but continues to remain a popular choice.
Jayden, Popular Black Man Name
Similar to Treyvon on this list, the name Jayden is also a fusion of two other names.
It is a combination of “Jay” and Jayden.”
The name Jay is of English origins and means “to rejoice.”
Hayden is a name that has both Old English and Welsh origins and means “fire.”
Hayden can also be said to be derived from the Celtic name “Aidan.”
The name Jaden seemed to be on a steady increase in popularity starting in the late 1990s.
It grew even more starting in 2006.
This might have to do with the film introduction of Will Smith’s son Jaden in the film “Pursuit of Happyness.”
Jayden is in the Top 25 of most popular names at the time of writing this.
The History Of Black Boy Names
While there are a few stereotypes surrounding names for black boys, they’re nowhere near as prominent as the taboo of black girl names that we cover in our post on 28 popular black girl names.
There might be names that are classically thought of as black male names, but they don’t carry the same ugly or ghetto connotations that black girl names do.
In the same vein, some of these popular black boy names are commonly associated with dark-skinned males versus light-skinned males, but there is no pattern that determines the use of these names based on skin tone.
While many of the names on this list are considered distinctively black, this wouldn’t have been the case at the beginning of the 20th century.
During the first half of the century, names like Ambrose, Booker, Elijah, Isaac, Isaiah and Presley were considered “black names.”
Clearly this has changed.
While Booker might still be considered a distinctly black name now, the same might not be said for the rest of this list.
Popular Black Boy Names Conclusion
There are tons of great black names to use for baby boys upon their birth.
While some of them have meanings that don’t translate into modern day, many of them help signifying great qualities in black men from strong and kind to great titles like king.
What are some of your favorite names for black men?
Share them with us!
And while you’re here, why not check our list of black women names and black last names.
DeVon, Dre and Necoh.
My favorite of all time is Trashawn. I see what the Momma was going for, but the name is an epic (and hilarious) fail.