Photo: Courtesy of Beyonce via Instagram
On Friday, TMZ finally released us from our collective misery, reporting that Beyoncé and Jay’s twins do in fact have names! And not just any old names either. According to multiple media outlets, the newest Knowles-Carters are named Rumi and Sir. (Pause ... consider … process). As suspected (and frankly, expected), the King and Queen of pop have selected names that are surprising and fresh and certain to be analyzed and picked apart in the coming days. But they are not entirely outside current baby-naming trends.
1. Royal names We’re not talking George and Charlotte. Explicitly regal names have been hotter than Prince Harry over the last few years. The most obvious example is Royalty, which jumped 88 percent (for girls) in 2015 and has been popular ever since. There’s Kourtney Kardashian’s son Reign, Mark Zuckerberg’s daughter Maxima, and other increasingly popular examples like Prince, Princess and Empress. Traditionally, Sir is a title that been bestowed upon knights and baronets of the British Empire. It is also (according to baby name website Nameberry) the Catalan version of Cyrus, which means “throne” in Persian, making it a highly fitting choice for the royal couple of music.
2. Intellectual names While you’d think a naming a kid would be about, you know, the kid, these days parents use baby naming as a form of self-expression. Baby names have become a way for parents to say something about their own creativity (Apple, North), their politics (Rosa, Thatcher), and their super huge intellects, as seen in the increasingly popular trend of looking to philosophy, literature and anything else that sounds brainy. According to Nameberry, “Naming your child after a favourite literary character gives you a lifetime’s worth of intellectual credibility without having to actually (yawn) crack a book.”
Which brings us to Rumi, the 13th-century poet and Muslim philosopher, with an enduring influence (in 2014 he was the best selling poet in the U.S.). One of the Bey and Jay’s close friends, Chris Martin (dad of Moses and the afore-mentioned Apple) has said that Rumi poetry helped him in his quest to consciously uncouple from Gwyneth Paltrow.
3. Genderless Names At this point everybody assumes the K-C twins are a boy and a girl, based on the fact that a bunch of blue and pink balloons were delivered to the hospital, which is hardly hard evidence (and a little bit gender normative). But as we await official confirmation, the twins’ names don’t offer much in the way of clues. While most frequently associated with the 13th-century male poet, Rumi is also a girl’s name, and apparently a somewhat popular one in Japan (it means “beauty, flow and lapis lazuli”).
It would seem that Sir is a boy’s name (at least in English-speaking countries where it is a male honorific), though these days nothing is certain. According to statistics from Nameberry, the use of unisex names has risen by 60 percent over the last decade, both because gender non-specific names are popular and because more and more, the concept of explicitly gendered names is disappearing (see: James for a girl).
4. Unpredictable celebrity names Admit it, we were all a little bit bummed when the rumour circulated that Bey and Jay had named the twins Bea and Shawn Jr. No disrespect to those perfectly meh monikers, but when it comes to celebrity births we want names we can sink our teeth into. And while George and Amal Clooney may have bucked tradition (along with their God-given obligation to amaze us) with their baby names Ella and Alexander, the fact is uniqueness is still a massive priority for most parents—world famous and otherwise. “Being unique is a huge priority for new parents,” says Duana Taha, baby name swami and author of The Name Therapist. Taha notes that even today’s most popular names (Sophie or Isabel, say) don’t have anywhere close to the dominance that a name like Jennifer enjoyed in the eighties: “There are so many more names in active use,” she says.
5. Trademarked names The reason we know the names in the first place is because TMZ discovered Bey and Jay’s recently-filed court documents requesting to trademark the names Rumi Carter and Sir Carter. The couple lost a bid to do the same thing with Blue Ivy back in 2012. No word if they’ll be successful this time around, but given the uniqueness of the names and the celebrity of both parents, it’s not as crazy as it sounds. “People wanted to make products based on our child’s name,” Jay-Z told Vanity Fair in 2013 after a random Long Island company tried to release a fragrance called Blue Ivy Carter Glory IV.
Is this a trend? Not entirely, though a lot of parents have taken to buying up the web addresses and social media accounts associated with their kids’ unique handles. “I don’t want a porn site with my daughter’s name on it,” Ashton Kutcher told Conan O’Brien in 2014. Presumably, like every other parent on earth, Bey and Jay feel the same way. See—they really are just like us.
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