NEW RELEASE: The Black Names Book: Dissecting and Defining the Origins of Contemporary 'Ghetto' Names

The Black Names Book: Dissecting and Defining
the Origins of Contemporary 'Ghetto' Names
by Bobby Cenoura

Can you pronounce “Breionshay” , “Zacombrion” or “Tayvarius”? The Black Names Book investigates the origin of names commonly referred to as “Ghetto”, “Ratchet” and “Hood”, in American society by dissecting them. The lesson that the book teaches is that the lion share of “Black Names” aren’t African at all, but are unique names that come from combinations of two or more names, names constructed with common prefixes and suffixes, “foreign” names, and names of other nouns. In many cases, names are “conjugated” with a formula that can be applied to names such as DaNiqua, LaNisha, and Tayshaun.

In between the different naming conventions, research is addressed regarding the affect that these unique names have on society such as getting job interviews. At the back of the book are the definitions of the “Base Names” which are the “common” names that the Black Names are derived from.

This book is the first installment in what may be a further investigation into unique naming conventions used by different ethnic groups in America, as well as a second edition to this book from the suggestions received by readers to our author. Reader suggestions for names can be emailed to: 

The Black Names Book: Dissecting and Defining the Origins of Contemporary 'Ghetto' Names by Bobby Cenoura.  Purchase the book online: 

Intimate Conversation with Author Bobby Cenoura

Black Pearls readers, I’d like to welcome back Bobby Cenoura, who has been with us before and has promoted his two previous literary fiction novels, Seoul Revelations and Male Angst Vol 1: FML I Always Get ‘Those’ Chicks through Black Pearls Magazine and BAN Radio Show.  Bobby’s newest book will spark your synapses. The Black Names Book: Defining and Dissecting the Origins of Contemporary ‘Ghetto’ Names is an informative reference guide that uses tables and research to explain the method to the madness of Black Names.

BPM: We’ve all heard from different African American personalities that what we name our kids can affect the way society perceives them.  We're showcasing an author who not only will tell you where the name “LoQuisha” comes from, but shares HIS views on how naming your daughter “LoQuisha” can affect her socio-economic prospects.  So Bobby, where does “LoQuisha” come from?
The name “LoQuisha” can be broken into two parts. First the “Lo” part. The Lo part is the part I call a “Short Vowel Prefix”. Short vowel prefixes originate from the French and Spanish prepositions “La” and “De” from names like “De La Croix” (De La Cruz) which were common names of slaves from Louisiana if the slave owner’s name was “Croix”. “De La” means “of the” or “belonging to” it’s analogous to using an apostrophe s. Since Croix means “Cross”, it’s like saying “Cross’s” (since the slaves belonged to Cross).
This is also why black folks tend to have the name Davis because their owner was proabably David. In Spanish the word “Lo” is actually a Spanish pronoun meaning “him” or “it” (masc) and in the same token “La” means “her” or “it” (fem). Hence the prefix “Lo” in “LoQuisha” can be replaced by many different prefixes and have the name stay readily in tact. Some of the prefixes I have in the book based off of the logic I presented above are as follows: Ja, Sha, Ta which would produces JaQuisha, ShaQuisha, TaQuisha. I know that was a mouthful, but now to explain the “Quisha” part. Quisha has two parts. First the “Kwee” sound in “Quisha” that comes from “Qu-“ is derived from Jaqueline. The “eesha” part from “-isha” is derived from Keisha, which itself comes from the Hewbrew name “Keziah” who was one of the daughters of Job. The name Keziah is said to be the equivalent to Cassia which is a spice tree. So the name is of something aromatic and bountiful.

BPM: My I never thought about the name in that way. Can you tell us a little bit about how the book breaks down the names for readers? 
The book breaks down names across a few sections as follows: Affixes, which literally means ‘attachments’ that include prefixes and suffixes. Prefixes like I mentioined in the previous example and suffixes which you will actually find that your first name, “Ella” is actually a part of!  But more popular ones end in “-dae” like Jondae and Shardae, which are the names John or Joan + dae and Charlend and/or Charla + dae.

Then a section called “Concatenations” which are combinations of two or more names. So say for example, a man “Ronald” and a woman named “Taylor” were expecting a baby and they wanted to decide on a name. They could choose Tayron or Rontay. This particular section we are still looking for reader suggestions—which we have a concession for that in all parts of the book.

Then we have a couple more sections.  “Foreign Lands Names” are names wholly or partially influenced by names from other cultures and other points in time. One common theme we find in black names are borrowings from Ancient Rome and Arabic. Names that you hear such as “Quintavius” is nothing more than the combination of two Roman names: “Quintus” and “Octavius” , which mean “Fifth” and “Eighth” (of a house) respectively. Arabic names come from actual adoptions like Rakeem to combinations such as Jamar (Jamal + LaMar) .

Finally “Miscellaneous Names” that include odds and ends such as being named after a place (Kenya, Rawanda, India, Asia), being named after a consumer good like Covasha (Courvasier + Tasha) and spelling names with symbols involved like the infamous “La-a” for LaDasha and other names such as “LaR&a” (LaRanda). All of these names are tabular so the reader can read from right to left about the black name and all of the inherent parts that compose it.

BPM: So I’m curious Bobby since you mentioned it, how does my name appear in the book?
Your name appears in the book, and it is not considered a Black Name. It is actually considered either a base name, which are one of the many “original” names from which the black names are derived, or as a suffix diminutive. Let me explain each in its turn.

As a base name the name “Ella” means “goddess” in modern Hebrew. As a suffix diminutive, it is found in names like Donnella, Jonnella, Dannella, and Rochella. Using the word “-ella” after a name “softens” or makes it “cute”. Diminutives are like kitchenettes (mini kitchens), raisinettes (mini raisins), etc. “elle” and “ella” are also used for diminutives, so the names I mentioned above mean “little Donna”, “little Joana” , “little Daniel”, and “little Roche” respectively.

BPM: What is the book genre, target audience and subject matter of the book?
Non-fiction and the target audience are primarily African Americans but anyone who is interested to learn about different ways to view the Black Names and their origins.

BPM: You mentioned that there were socio-economic effects to giving our kids “Black Names.” Are they in the book? What are they?
The data I compiled while putting this book together indicates that people with Black Names got 50% less callbacks on job applications. In addition, research has indicated that white applicants (equivalently applicants with white-sounding names) received 30 percent higher callbacks for increased resume quality (i.e. having a college education) as opposed to 9 percent for Blacks.

BPM: What is the lesson your book is trying to teach?
The lesson here is that if you want to name your kid an exotic or unique name and you are African American, be cognizant of the potential societal effects it could have on your children if you foresee them working in corporate America. However, if the child is to be an artist or if there is already a family business in force or connections in a particular industry, then less awareness is needed.

BPM: Where can we find your book and how can we contact you for questions about it and the name suggestions?
Sure, my book can be found on Amazon under “The Black Names Book.”  I can be emailed at  And follow me on Twitter at @BobbyCenoura for updates to this book and other upcoming literary ventures.

More Books by Bobby Cenoura

Disclaimer:  The views, opinions and positions expressed by the authors and those providing written interviews and articles for Black Pearls Magazine are theirs alone, and do not reflect the views, opinions or positions of Ella Curry, EDC Creations Media Group, Crown Holders Transmedia Group, Black Pearls Magazine or any employee thereof. We make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability or validity of any information presented by individual authors and/or guest writers for this online blog/magazine and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use.

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