All hail the Queen; Lil Kim has just given birth to a brand new baby girl. In true Hip Hop tradition, she’s given her an utterly ridiculous name. At least Royal Reign won’t feel out of place with playmates Blue Ivy and North West.
So far, we’ve had horticulture, horoscopes and navigation - and now a weather forecast. Being a kid in Hip Hop ain’t easy. When Kim Kardashian joked on a TV chat show about naming her then unborn baby North – North West geddit! - oh how we chortled. What a hoot that would be! Maybe its future brother or sister could be called ‘South’ [Note to Kim’N’Kanye: please don’t get any ideas]. And then the baby was born and it was actually called North. North West. Were the Kardashian’s trying to keep up with the Carter’s Blue Ivy (a rare yet poisonous form of flower? a new flavour of toilet cleaner from Cilit Bang?). The Carters in turn had, presumably, been inspired by the previously non-uncoupled consciously coupled Gwyn-N-Chris and baby Apple. What’s with popstars bestowing OTT names on their kids? Zowie Bowie. Audio Science. Denim Braxton? And as for Peckham Beckham…
Over the last week, we’ve had two new names to #mock #massively on #socialmedia. Ciara and Future (born, if you please, Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn) just named their first child together ‘Future’. Future Zahir Wilburn (NB the kid weighed 9lbs10oz. Lordamercy, CiCi won’t be slutdropping anytime soon, eh). So you’ve named your child after its Dad - but not its Dad’s actual name just the one he made up. Perhaps the pair wanted to inflict the pain they’d put up with as kids? People STILL don’t know how to say poor Ciara’s name (Key-ah-ra/ See-air-ra/ See-ah-ra, though we rather like the equine flavor of Nayvadius). Sadly, Lil Kim – real name Kimberly Jones – didn’t follow Future’s lead. I’d rather have a baby called Lil Kim than Royal Reign.
And, really, come on, what even IS a royal reign? How is Kim bestowing on her daughter an adjective and a noun? It’s like calling a kid Splendid Pride. Or Ecstatic Vagina. The first day of school isn’t hard enough as it is? Being the child of a famous person surely already leaves you wide open to finding yourself face down in full flush at playtime. It’s not enough that the Nanny drops you to school in the Maybach. ‘Hey, what’s your name’? ‘Splendid Vagina’. ‘Word? Your mother Foxy Brown or some shit?’
Until recently, Hip Hop baby names were relatively well behaved. It was wacky actors and rockers that appeared intent on giving their children eccentric names. But then along came Erykah Badu. It is perhaps Fattybella who started this name shame off with her daughter Puma Sabti, her first child with Californian rapper the D.O.C. She followed Puma up with Seven Sirius, her son with Outkast’s Andre 3000. Her most recent child, with Jay Electronica, is called Mars Merkaba. But we would expect nothing less from the incense-loving earth mother. You’d think Kanye would have a bit of sympathy for the daft name game though. How long did it take you to figure out how to pronounce Yeezy’s government name? Aisha Taylor didn’t help matters either on West’s intro single, Slow Jamz with her ‘Kanya’ saying self.
Surely everyone knows that a name can make or break a person. Choosing a name is actually a really serious business; you’re not ordering from Mr. Chow’s here people. A name can steer a child’s entire identity in later life. It also reflects who you are as a parent. What does calling your child North West say about Kanye and Kim? I’m not here to judge (ok, I am), but naming your child either a) after yourself b) to rhyme with your surname or c) after an electrical appliance or compass position, aren’t you placing your own personality just a tiny bit over that of your child’s? Forcing them to cope with your current whims throughout life just doesn’t seem fair.
So, dear Purple Rain. We’re sorry for you, we really are. We’re sure that Kim will be a wonderful, loving, caring mother and you’ll enjoy a life filled with love and laughter (probably a LOT of laughter), but you are a person. It’s all well for people like me to LOL at your name, but you’re the one stuck with it. All we can say is deed poll awaits you at 18 before you can finally become Simple Sarah or Plain Jane. But for childhood at least, all we can say is, long may your Purple Reign.