Yes, My Name Is Shenequa But No, I’m Not “Ghetto”

October 11, 2012  |  

From Hello Beautiful

In October 1984, my 16-year-old mother, Charmaine realized she was pregnant. A lot of decisions as a mom would have to be made on my behalf, and the first would be my name. She thought about Taylor for a bit, but that lost momentum. She dug the name Adrien because a woman named Adrien Arpel made a facial cream she loved, so she decided to go with that. On June 17th, three weeks past my original due date, doctors induced Charmaine. Eight or nine hours later, I was born.

Moments before the birth certificate and pen were in her hand, a family friend came to see Charmaine and I, and made a suggestion that drastically changed my life,“Why don’t you name her Shenequa?”


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  • Machelle Kwan

    “Give that baby a name that means something.” That was a line from the black guy in the movie “where the heart is “.Maybe more people should do just that.

  • SimpLeeMe

    My niece is named Shenequa and she’s a stripper and postitue with a son name Zion

  • Orvenie

    My name is Orvenie and I’m pretty sure i’m the only person in the world with that name!! I don’t know what people think about my name, if anything it is a conversation starter…

    • MLS2698

      Where did the name come from?

    • lina

      Quite unique I know a guy named Orvée he’s from an African french speaking country which I assume it is French bcs of the accent on ‘e’. But it is beautiful and unique. I love African names so my kids will have Swahili names since it’s a language I love very much Malika and Malaika are my faves , my name Lina is African from my father’s language it means ‘name’ lol I like names with meaning reason why I prefer Swahili/Arabic names bcs they normally mean something i.e Barack means blessed

  • IllyPhilly

    If a man named Barack Hussein Obama can get elected as the POTUS, does a name matter anymore?

    • There are several exceptions to the rule. obama, kwame mfume, kwame kilpatrick etc. There are cases when the personality and work overshadow the name. But they are very very few and far between…

  • Negress

    “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Ghetto reflection of their name..

    • MLS2698

      Wake up!

  • First I’m happy my mom named me jasmine. Lol. I’m preg and I plan to name daughter Violet Alexandra. One of my husbands sister frownedup at the name saying it sounds white. All I could think was my baby is going to have a career while her ugly cousin might have a job. I didn’t say it though lol

    • NONEYA

      Were you born in the 90’s? Jasmine, Jazmine were big names during the 1990’S days ’cause of Jasmine Guy.

      • Yep ’89 she said she knew I was going pretty and stuck up like her. Its a little true lol

  • sweettea

    I have a ‘unique’ name too but it has never stopped me from getting a job even before I got a degree. My brother has a very Anglo name and no one will hire him. I also have dreads. That’s 3 strikes black woman with a ghetto name and nappy hair yet I don’t fit any of the stereotypes that people say I’m doomed to face. Life is what you make it regardless of the handle you get from your parents

  • Candacey Doris

    Lol. I don’t think my name sounds ghetto, but people seem to have a tough time with it. I just go by my nickname Candy. I always wonder how some people name their children things like B’quita and Quanisha. It’s like they don’t think about the child’s future. And if the name has more than one apostrophe, just say no people!

  • Yvette

    A lot of times when mom is coming up with a name for baby consideration is not given to the fact that the child will become an adult. I used to work with a lady named Vendetta. She told me her mother named her that because her mother was told she couldn’t have anymore children and when she got pregnant again she felt that there was some type of vendetta against her and that is how her name came about. I thought she was joking until I met her sister and she confirmed the story. When my daughter was in 3rd grade she came home and told me her new friends name is Hennessey. I was BEYOND shocked! I guess long gone are the days of Kim, Kelly, Lisa, Michelle, etc….lol!

  • I think what alot of people miss by these stories is that unless your are planning from birth that your child is going to become a rapper, singer, athlete or in the movies you really need to be mindful of what you name your child. HR depts (read “white folks”) will toss applications if the name looks “ghetto”. Last names are almost dead giveaways to race with some of these names. You cant be sure that your child is going to become a dr, lawyer, accountant by which companies pick these kids by their grades and where they fall in their class in grad school. Most folks will be pushed into normal corporate america. Like someone said below…Give them all the hood names you want but please throw in there a “elizabeth or john” to put on the resume. I go by my first name at work and on resumes because its a very typical american name but my friends and family call me by my middle name which isnt.

    • SunshineBlossom

      Co-sign on this!!!

    • Gimmeabreak78

      Exactly. It’s not just “ghetto” sounding names either. It’s any ethnic sounding name. For example, my brother’s first name is African. He found that after graduating from a prestigious university, he had a hard time finding a job. When he switched to using his Anglo-sounding middle name on job applications, he had a much easier time. There are also numerous stories of Europeans coming to the US in the early 20th century and anglicizing their ethnic names. For example, Michaelangelo Francelli became Michael Francis or Katarina Petrovich became Katherine Peters. It’s interesting that even other white people know that having and English-sounding name could put you at an advantage.

      • angel

        I know a man with one of the most important jobs in America, possibly the world with an African name. That man is President Barack Obama. I’m not saying that wasn’t the case for your brother, however I don’t think that applies in all situations. With some actors, performers, models, etc they might have a common name and the “big wigs” want them change their names or go by something that seems to be a bit exotic or whatever. Happens all the time in Hollywood since way back.

        • Gimmeabreak78

          Agreed. Even Barack Obama went by “Barry” into adulthood, however.

          • MLS2698

            Yes he did! Great point!

  • Gimmeabreak78

    I feel for this girl because I’m sorry, when you start a sentence with “When I was born my 15 year old mother named me Shenequa”, thoughts of ghetto-ness are going to be conjured up in many people’s heads through no fault of her own.
    Hate it or love it, I think parents should strongly consider giving their kids “job interview” names, because we know the stats on ethnic sounding names. Many employers aren’t checking for them despite the fact the job appicant may be exceptionally qualified. So if you name your son, Laquarious (or any other ethnic-sounding name), please make sure he works on his jumpshot or averaging 5 yards a carry, because the Fortune 500 companies are likely to skip over his resume.

    • entyce

      I sure thought the young lady said her mother had her at 16. I guess next time you want to correct someone you should first make sure you are correct.

      • Eggy

        Because having a baby at 16 is so much better… something tells me Entyce is your actual name.

        • entyce

          Really??? Eggy….hmmmm…that name itself speaks volumes. Now hears some humor for you: troll please crawl back under the bridge into the cesspool you came out of.

          • entyce


      • Gimmeabreak78

        You’re right. Everyone knows the international dividing line between ghetto and not ghetto is at age 16 for teenage pregnancy. My apologies. #sarcasm

        • entyce

          Spare me the catty crap! LOL! Simply making an observation. SMH!

          • STFU

            Just shutup!


    One syllable names are the best! But, please no more Diamond or Kisha,

  • diggy.p

    I’m really considering changing my name. My name is “N-a-j-a” so what are my options? Lol. I really feel it affects my resume and me getting a job, which I have been trying to acquire for quite a while and have had no luck.

    • diggy.p

      I still want my family to call me by my birth name, but professionally I would like something different. Maybe Nancy or something?

      • MLS2698

        Nope. Naja is pretty.

    • Candacey Doris

      Naja is a nice name. If you have a more mainstream middle name, you can use that professionally though.

      • diggy.p

        Thanks Candacey! My middle name is actually french. So I can not use that either. I need a more anglo-saxon name. I could probably cut my middle name down to J-O-I instead of adding the last vowel on it (and use that). I’m currently working temp and I’ve noticed that even a lot of Asians have changed their names to more anglo-saxon ones.

        • Candacey Doris

          The asian thing is normal, most of my asian friends have a western public name and a chinese family name. Then a name that only friends use too, so it gets a little…confusing. Unless your middle name is very unusual, i suggest trying it out. My cousin’s name is Cerone and she enjoys telling everyone her name is french.


    i lived next door to twins (girl and boy) named Mercedes and Benz. no lie. their baby brothers name, you ask? Masserati.

    • Kenedy

      So freakin ratchet…damn!

    • NiceNasty

      Oh you need to stop it, LMFAO!!!! I would have slap the sh*t out of my mom and daddy. But like I always say, “Crack kills.”

    • Kitsy

      STOP LYIN’!!!!!


    • monitorette

      Giving those kind of names to children is forbidden in France. And the French authorities are very cautious about it. Let me give you the following example: in France, we have an automaker called Renault. Renault is the name of the founder of this century old company. In 1995, they launched a new car, called MEGANE RENAULT.
      Megan is a celtic name that is popular in France.
      Few years after the MEGANE RENAULT launch, a couple, whose family name is also RENAUD (same name, but spelled in a different way) wanted to call their new born daughter MEGAN. But the French authorities refuse it, for the obvious reason that the comparison with the existing MEGAN RENAULT CAR would harm somehow the future of the child (you know how the kids can be cruel to each others…)
      The couple even brought the case in front of the legal courts, but thankfully they lost.

    • MLS2698

      Well, I know someone who named their child Ice-T Baby Jesus! NO LIE!

  • Morgan

    That pic isn’t really helping her case…lol

    • TRUTH IS


    • MLS2698

      Um, I didn’t see this article until today. Never mind, Brande

  • Chassie

    Welp considering my mother was heavily considering naming me Sha nay nay, and I have a cousin named chardonnay who has it spelled out on all her name jewelry, I generally judge the parents silently in my head. I feel like parents shouldn’t pick names until alllllllll the drugs have worn off.

  • KIR12

    Sounds like an article by a baby mamma with 4 kids by 3 different men
    who went back to school, got a degree has a good job and some dude came
    along and married her and is a father to her kids. Hun, you are just the
    one out of a 1,000 black baby mammas who made it off of welfare. The
    exception proves the rule. If you’re going to be mad at someone, be mad
    at others who are like you but fit the stereotype and act it out daily.

  • Trisha_B

    Hahahah I love this!! My name is Shenique (Sha-neek) & growing up i never knew anyone w/ my name or any Shaniqua’s even tho i went to diverse schools. I would get annoyed when teacher’s would do roll call on the 1st day of school and call me Shaniqua. How does an “e” at the end of my name equal an “A,” i would say if you can read moNIQUE & uNIQUE then you should be able to pronounce my name w/ no problems. Growing up, everybody just called me Nique. But never had to deal w/ ignorant comments concerning my name. I had an old white man tell me he loved my name lol. Then i went to college, an HBCU. i have never met so many Shenique’s & Shaniqua’s before lmao. I loved how all the girls i were meeting w/ similar names like mines weren’t stereotypical like shows, movies, books, etc try to make us out to be, I have a friend Shaniqua & we did a class project on our names & stereotypes, & Shaniqua said “Yes, i’m college educated & can hold a decent job but cross me and you will get the Shaniqua from the movies” lmao. I love my name, wouldn’t change it for nothing. Plus i read a story of a lady name Marijuana Pepsi (look her up) & after reading that i knew i had nothing more to complain about lls

  • Meyaka

    I’ve never judge anyone by their names or look until the behavior follows the stereotype . I know this girl name aquamakisha, and she is as ghetto as it comes, heffa had the nerve to tell me it was an “African” name I laughed so hard, I peed a little. For business purposes , I would change my name, but other than that If your name is the only thing “ghetto” about you who cares???? You are not your name ^^

    Ps:Kellisha is pretty!!!!

    • Kells

      Awwww thank you

      • Meyaka

        I like it a lot

  • Kells

    When it comes to employment jobs do discriminate against names. I realized that when I started using my nickname on my resume Kelli (Kellisha) it was more appealing to employers. More employers were interested in Kelli vs Kellisha

  • ANTMilf

    I have friends with “ghetto” sounding names but they’re nowhere near ghetto and ghetto acting. I have one friend name Yakota and she works at BMO Harris Bank as a teller and loves rock music, another one name TaAqua and she’s works in admissions at a college and my niece is Shequanna is a senior in high school, on the National Honors Society and wants to be a doctor. This is why we shouldn’t judge people by their names, people can’t help what their parents name them.

  • Reese

    I have a friend name Shanequa who hates her name. But I don’t feel we should be prejudged by our names. I know some people with some pretty messed up names but you can’t control what your parents decided to name you. You define your name, not the other way around.

    • KJ23

      You’re definitely right, and I wish it wasn’t like that, but if you’ve seen the documentary Freakonomics they show how employers discriminate against people with Black sounding names. It’s crazy.

      • Miss Anonymous

        I know some kids who parents are white or their mother is white named Tinkerlee (like Tinkerbell), Whyit (like Wyatt but I guess they where mad, lol) and Baby Sunshine. No their parents arent famous, they just are in the army. I wonder how they will prosper in the work force in 16 more years. I even went to school with a white girl who was raised by her indian grandmother named Tashina. lol People cant even go by typical names no more cause the line is being blurred.

        • MLS2698

          There is a white lady ( young) who is a reporter for my local news, and her name is Alize. When she says her name after reporting stories, I wish her mother could be smacked for giving her the same name as a liquor. SMH

    • Miss Anonymous

      I use to dislike my name also growing up cause I felt it was soo ghetto and people would ask me ignant (yes I spelled it that way) questions like,”where is your real daddy”,”oh he is your dad? where is your sisters real dad?” (cause you know if you and your sibling is more than 10 years apart yall have to have different daddies). After moving to Palin country and hearing some of the craziest names belonging to some of the white and native kids (that make my name look normal like billy and suzy) my name didnt bother me anymore.

    • yushook

      yes you can. you can go by your middle name or have it legally changed as 3 of my friends did…1 in hs & 2 in college.

  • As ive stated many many times. I dont see anything wrong with “urban” names. But and this is a very loud but, give the child a secondary name that can be used in professional settings that is not offputting to HR (read the fine line “white”) people. There is no law that states you cant have as many middle names you want. I have a very common name but because i feel that it sounds “young” to me i use my middle name when it comes to the workplace. Its a much more “adult” sounding name. My friends and family who i have known for years call me by my young name but at work i use the other.