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Whether your little one is coming soon or you're just thinking ahead, this is the ultimate baby girl naming guide. (The Black Girl Magic edition, of course.)
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If you simply read about the life of Audre Lorde —growing up extremely nearsighted and battling cancer— you'll know why "noble strength" is the perfect definition for her first name. The poet's work is still lauded today for its beautiful honesty.
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Billie Holiday took on the name for performance purposes, but her name meaning "resolute protection" matched the power of her presence. We also love how it can be applied in unisex.
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To reflect her new consciousness as a Black Panther, Assata Shakur took on the name that means (respectively) "she who struggles" and "thankful", both from West African tribes. What's interesting is that her birth name Joanne means "God is graceful" expla
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In all of her work Ava DuVernay gives us life, so it's really no surprise that the filmmaker's name literally means "life". For a little one who's birth brings you a renewed sense of joy, Ava is fitting.
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"My God will never fail" is Nigerian Igbo name that has such a great message. Beloved author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie carries the name well as a intelligent feminist.
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The name Amandla is perfect for a baby you hope to be more woke than the rest. In Zulu it means "power" and was used as a rallying cry during Apartheid. Amandla Stenberg's parents clearly knew who their outspoken child would be.
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Aside from being fun to say "kam-a-la," the Indian name means "lotus" and is another name for Hindu goddess Lakshmi— who stood for prosperity, good luck, and beauty. We have a feeling the first Indian American senator, Kamala Harris, will bring good energy to government.
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While she was proudly Mexican, Frida Kahlo's first name is the derived from the German word for "peaceful". The painter (born Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón) didn't have a peaceful life, on the flip side, she shook up gender and class paradigms.
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While Miriam Makeba was South African, her last name is said to mean "greatness" to Ethiopians. The late singer, affectionately known as Mama Africa, was definitely one of the greatest fighting against Apartheid her entire career.
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The origin of Michelle is the Hebrew name Michael, which means "stems from God". Former First Lady Michelle Obama is said to have revived the name into popularity for being one of the most influential (and badass) women of the 21st century.
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The name Elaine is derived from Helen, which is Greek for "light". Many would consider Elaine Brown, former Black Panther Party chairwoman and activist, a beacon of light in the resistance.
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Nina Simone actually changed her named because of the nickname niña given by her boyfriend when her career started. But the meaning of Nina in Native American, Quechua is "fire", a fitting description of her passionate music.
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The name "Nzinga" holds a lot of power stemming from Queen Nzinga Mbandi who fought off Portuguese colonizers in southwest Africa for decades. There's said to be a couple meanings behind the name but a favorite is "beautiful".
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Her name means tranquil and peaceful, but don't get it twisted, Serena Williams is a force. Lauded as one of the best athletes of all time, "Serena" is a beautiful name for a zen-like baby.
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One of our greatest treasures in American literature has unequivocally been Nobel Peace prize winner, Toni Morrison. Her name, which means "priceless one" is actually short for Anthony, her baptismal name.
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Viola is a beautiful name that is a variant of violet, the beautiful purple flower. To add further special meaning, Viola is also the first name of Viola Davis, the Oscar, Emmy and Tony-award winning actress.
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Winnie is short for Winnifred and means "holy peacemaking, gentle friend". Any woman who would wait 27 years for their husband to get out of jail, like Winnie Mandela did, is at the very least a gentle friend.
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There's so much positive energy behind the name Zora, probably because it means "dawn". Writer and anthropologist, Zora Neale Hurston is the most famous Zora because of how she reinvented herself project after project.
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The name Phylicia is Greek for "fortunate" but actress Phylicia Rashad has definitely had more than luck to make her a legend. The name Phylicia also has Creole roots.
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Ruby is a pretty literal name stemming from the precious red stone that is also the birth stone of July. In history there have been some amazing and precious women like Ruby Bridges and Ruby Dee that upheld the name.
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The name Maya has a very diverse history having been used by the ancient Greeks, Indians and Central Americans. It means "illusion" which is probably why Marguerite Johnson took on the name for her acting career becoming Maya Angelou.
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