I met a woman at my gym named Jai-Leigh and she’s white.
I told her that she has a black woman’s name. She seemed a little perplexed but said: “You know. I’ve heard that before.”
For the past two generations many black folks did not want to give their children traditional European names. That’s where the names Shaquita, LeBron, Sharifa and Jalen rose from.
I met a woman in a McDonald’s named La-A. It was pronounced La Dasha. And instead of spelling out dash, she used a dash in her name.
I was the last generation of black people that exclusively used the tradition European names. My name is Terry and I played with kids named Kevin, David and Joel. One of my first girl friends was Lydia and her cousin was Tonya.
My younger sister Rhonda hung with girls named Sharonda and Laronda. I’ve been friends with Lakeisha and Nakeisha.
I’ve always believed these were ghetto names, but some research goes into African American names which have African, Jewish and Muslim roots. For instance LeBron means brown haired. Lerato means she brings love and Haki is wise judge.
Black people used to name their children King, Queen, Corporal, Major or Sargent. I believe that was our way of saying our children can be special when the rest of the world called us degrading names.
You knew the parents who were hoping for a boy when surprise, here comes a girl. That was an easy fix. You tossed an A at the end of a name and the girl you hoped was a boy turned into Davida, Roberta or Edna.
Here is a piece of advice. Do not call a black guy Bob. They hate it and would rather be called Robert or Rob. The only black guy I know of that bucked that trend was Bob Sanders who played safety for the Indianapolis Colts and his real first name was Demond.
I went to Central Michigan University with a football player named Robert Jackson, who played for the Cincinnati Bengals. I once asked him what his full name was and he replied: “Robert “Don’t call me Bob” Jackson. He used to blast people on the field and I never called him Bob.
Let me tell you about my name. My full name is Terry Foster. Terry is not short for Terrence and I am one of 10 percent of Americans with no middle name. I went three days without a name because my family argued what to call me. Then they forgot to give me a middle name.
My new pal Jai-Leigh does not have a middle name either.
Some of the nominations that were rejected were Ronald, Eugene and Fred. It was cool going around in life with the name Terry Foster but how much fun would it be if I were Freddie Foster?
Or what if I had kept my childhood name of Cookie. Can you imagine listening to the Valenti and Cookie show on 97.1 FM.
Find Terry Foster Podcast here: