We Secretly Hope Beyoncé Considered These African Names for Her Twins
There's a lot of significance behind the naming of twins in various African cultures, here are some we think Beyoncé should consider.
DIASPORA—The twins have arrived.
Beyoncé gave birth to a boy and a girl in Los Angeles early last week.
This is pretty much all we know at this point, and given the Carter's notoriously secretive nature, it's probably all we'll know for a while. Details like the names of the two babies still remain unknown, but that doesn't mean we can't speculate or suggest that she go with traditional African twin names either.
Many sources are beginning to report that Beyoncé and Jay-Z opted to name their newborns after themselves, and have christened them Shawn and Bea. This, of course, has yet to be confirmed by Beyoncé herself, so there's still room for more—you guessed it—speculation.
While the aforementioned names are cute and all they're also—dare I say it—unimaginative. The Carter's aren't exactly known for being colorless when it comes to the naming of their children—Blue Ivy's name is Blue Ivy—and they certainly shouldn't start now with the arrival of the most famous twins in all of history.
For this glorious occasion, we think bigger and bolder is the way, after all, no one personifies this adage more than Queen Bey and given the singer's affinity for all things African, we think she should bless the twins with some bomb-ass, culturally and spiritually significant African names.
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Twins are celebrated in various cultures across the continent, so she has several options. For instance, the singer could go with the Yoruba names Taiwo, given to the first-born of twins, and Kehinde, the name given to the second-born. Though Taiwo is born first, in Yoruba culture, Kehinde is actually considered the elder twin, thought to have sent Taiwo out into the world first to make sure it's ready for his or her's presence. Sounds like a perfectly rational thing for a child born of Beyoncé to do.
Yoruba women in Southwestern Nigeria have some of the highest rates of twin births in the world. Ibeji is the name of the Orisha that represents twins, often depicted using wooden statues. The mother of twins is endearingly called Mama Ibeji, so there's potential for Beyoncé to adopt a new name as well.
These names would surely make sense for Bey given that much of her work is inspired by Yoruba spirituality. She channeled the Yoruba deity Oshun in her seminal album Lemonade last year, and in the viral maternity shoot which announced her pregnancy back in February.
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It doesn't stop there though. Bey could also follow the rich and distinctive naming process of Ghanaian culture. Amongst the Ga people, the name Akwete is given to the first-born male, and Akuete to second-born. The name Akwele is given to the first-born female twin, and Akwoko to the next.
The Akan name for the first-born female is Ataa Panin, while the second-born is given the name Ataa Kumaa. The first-born male can be named Ata Panin, and the second Ata Kumaa. There are several other possible variations of these names as well. The Ewe people often call the older twin Ye and the younger Atsu.
Twins are also cherished within Somali culture—they are highly celebrated upon their birth. Both male and females are referred to as mataano and given individual monikers that follow.
The Himba people of Northern Namibia also grant twins special status. In some areas, the first born is named Kataeko, and the second is called Tsjanakambendje regardless of gender. They are also sometimes referred to as Kataeko and Okaviyu.
So there you have it—a plethora of meaningful African names that Beyoncé could bestow upon her newborns—and not just for the sake of doing so, either. But, rather, as a means of reconnecting with her, and her children's, African heritage, and as yet another way to pay homage to the culture that she is continuously inspired by.
The choice is all yours, Mama Ibeji!