When you were born (or even before you were born), your parents gave you a name. Your name would be what people call you, and it becomes an integral part of your identity. Each name has a meaning, and this list here celebrates Black girl names! A mixture of African names as well as African American names, these names range from traditional to modern, simple to unique.
If you’re looking for a Black girl name, look no further than this list as we take you on your own journey of selecting your perfect name, starting off with inspiration from famous females, and then launching into popular names with meanings, and finally an extensive list of A-Z names. Let’s go! (👉 Click Here if you are looking for African/ African American boy names)
Famous Female Africans & The Meaning Of Their Names
Before we take a look at the extensive list of Black girl names, let’s take a look at some famous female Africans and the meaning of their names. These women have helped shaped Africa into what it is today, and some of them are still actively working hard to improve their country! Together, let’s check out these real-life African women, and what their names stand for.
Meaning “under God’s protection”, Folorunsho certainly has been well-protected! A fashion designer turned businesswoman, her Fame Oil was awarded with an oil prospecting license for one of the most lucrative oil blocks in Nigeria in 1993. Subsequently, she then became the richest woman in Nigeria and the second richest black woman in the world.
Saran Kaba Jones
An African name that means “joy”, Saran Kaba Jones represents her name perfectly by advocating for clean water. Not only is she a clean water advocate, but she is also a social entrepreneur! Hailing from Liberia, she founded FACE Africa, which is a nonprofit organisation that provides marginalised communities with clean and safe drinking water.
Yaa is a rather unique black girl name meaning “born on a Thursday”. She was the military leader of the last war between the Asante and the British, and she became referred to as the “Joan of Arc of Africa” by the British during that time. Even though Yaa did not enter combat herself, but troops fought in her name, and she gave them orders and provided them with gun powder as well!
Ngozi is an African girl name that means “blessing”. As the very first female Finance Minister of Nigeria, she certainly has been a blessing to her country! She introduced the practice of publishing the monthly financial allocation to each state from the federal government in the newspaper, and played an important part in Nigeria obtaining its first sovereign credit rating from Fitch and Standard & Poors. Today, she is regarded as one of the most respected economists in the world.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Chimamanda is an African girl name full of faith, as it means that “my God will not fail me”. A famous Nigerian writer, she is “the most prominent” of a “procession of critically acclaimed young anglophone authors [that] is succeeding in attracting a new generation of reader to African literature”, and has received many prestigious awards, including The O. Henry Prize and Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book. She is also regarded as one of the most powerful voices on women issues.
Mbali may mean “flower”, but make no mistake, for Mbali Ntuli is no delicate flower. She is a South African Democratic Alliance Party (DA) politician, and she has known from a young age that she was destined for politics. When she was in Rhodes University, she was the the founder of the party’s student organisation, and subsequently entered politics after that. During her political journey, she has encountered violence and intimidation, but she hasn’t let that stop her.
Popularly known as “crazy eyes” for her role on “Orange Is The New Black”, Uzo is actually an African girl name that means “the road is good”. She is most well-known for her role in OITNB and has gained major recognition and won several awards for that role, but she has also been actively involved in several movies and short films.
Funmilayo Ransome Kuti
Funmilayo was an activist in Nigeria, and her name means “gift from God”, or “God has brought me joy”. Her democratic socialism and feminism has led to the formation of The Abeokuta Women’s Union (AWU), and later, the Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF). From there, other organisations and movements were born, in which helped Funmilayo to promote women’s rights to education, employment and political participation.
Wangari is a strong African name that means “leopard”, and Wangari Maathai was the founder of the Green Belt Movement and the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. The Green Belt Movement (GBM) is an environmental organization that empowers communities, particularly women, to conserve the environment and improve livelihoods. By helping people maintain their sustenance through the importance of environmental conservation, the movement kills two birds with one stone.
Huda Beauty may be a popular beauty brand today, but do you know what the name actually means? It means “right guidance”! Huda Shaarawi was a feminist leader and nationalist in Egypt, and she established the Egyptian Feminist Union in 1923. Although Egypt is a transcontinental country linking Africa and Middle East, it is actually considered part of Africa! Perhaps most memorable was her act of removing her veil publicly in a rejection of the harem system which kept girls and women separate from men.
Famous Female African Americans & The Meaning Of Their Names
Next up, we take a look at famous female African Americans and the meaning of their names as well. These outstanding women have made great strides in their own right, and made both their original homeland as well as their current country proud!
The name Shirley means “bright wood” or “bright meadow”. Shirley Chisholm was an American politician, and the first African American congresswoman back in 1986. Not only that, but she was also the first major-party black candidate and the second woman to run for president. During her time in politics, she advocated for education opportunities and social justice.
The name Ella means “light”, and Ella Fitzgerald certainly brought light to many people through her music, as she was also known as “First Lady of Song” and “Lady Ella”. After a troubled childhood, she turned to singing and debuted at the Apollo Theater in 1934. In 1958, she became the first African American woman to win a Grammy. Later on, she would win a total of 13 Grammys, and sell more than 40 million albums. Did you know? Ella had an amazing 3-octave range!
Mae Carol Johnson
Perhaps an abbreviated version of Mary or Margaret, the name Mae likely means “pearl”. Mae Carol Johnson was the very first African American woman to be admitted into NASA’s astronaut training program, and she subsequently also became the first African American female astronaut to go into space in 1992. In recognition of her accomplishments, she has received several awards and honourary doctorates. Besides being an astronaut, she is also an engineer, doctor, and scientist!
Don’t tell me you don’t know her? A billionaire media giant and philanthropist, Oprah’s name is a created one, and it means “gazelle”. Best known for hosting her own internationally popular talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Oprah was the first black female host of a nationally syndicated daily talk show with her show’s debut. In 2002, she was names the first recipient of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Bob Hope Humanitarian Award. The next year, she had become the first black female billionaire in the US.
The name Halle possibly means “little rock”, and this name was made famous by none other than Halle Berry, an award-winning actress and a former beauty queen. As she attended an almost all-white public school, she was discriminated. However, she didn’t let the discrimination get to her, but instead used it as a motivating force to excel. In 2001, she was nominated for a BAFTA, and became the first African American to win an Academy Award for Best Actress in her role for Monsters Ball.
The name Maya means different things from different origins, including “illusion”, “spring”, “brook”, and “great” among many others. Maya Angelou was an author, actress, screenwriter, dancer, poet, and civil rights activist; best known for her 1969 memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. It made literary history as the first non-fiction best-seller by an African American woman. Besides that, she was also the first black female streetcar conductor in San Francisco, and also the first African American woman to have her screenplay produced.
Aretha means “beauty”, “virtuous”, and “excellent”, and Aretha Franklin was known as the “Queen of Soul”, whose hits include “Respect” and “Freeway of Love” among others. Aretha was regarded as a child prodigy – she was a gifted pianist with a powerful voice. In 1987, she became the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2008, she won her 18th Grammy, making her one of the most honoured in Grammy history. Furthermore, she was also a symbol of black empowerment during the Civil Rights Movement.
The name Althea means “wholesome”, and Althea Gibson was certainly wholesome in the world of sports as she was gifted in table tennis, golf, and especially tennis. Althea was the first ever African American tennis player to compete at the US National Championships in 1950, as well as Wimbledon in 1951. Plus, in the American Tennis Association tournaments, she won 10 straight championships!
More recently known for her role as “The Ballerina” in The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Misty Copeland is a ballerina, and the first African American performer to be appointed as a principal dancer of the American Ballet Theatre in its 75 years’ history. In 2015,, she was even named as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, which is rare for someone from the dance world.
Tyra is derived from Tyr, the god of battle. Another household name in the US, Tyra Banks is a former supermodel, and hosted not one, but two major shows – America’s Next Top Model, and her own talk show The Tyra Banks Show, for which she won two Emmy Awards. In 1996, she became the first African American woman to be featured on the cover of GQ Magazine, and the cover of Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and the Victoria’s Secret lingerie catalogue in 1997.
Popular Black Girl Names In Africa & Their Meanings
Next, we take a look at some popular Black girl names in Africa and their meanings. These names are more traditional African and carry significant meanings. Whichever you choose, it will definitely make for a meaningful name!
- Nia: Purpose, aim
- Nala: Dearly loved
- Zahra: Flower, flowering
- Zendaya: To be appreciative
- Ayanna: Beautiful flower
- Ashanti: Win, power, success
- Makena: Happy
- Dalia: Gentle
- Za’Niyah: Gracious, giving, lovely
- Ayah: Shiny, bright, sparkling
- Ny’asia: Hopeful, wise, caring
- Kaliah: Friend
- Ka’Mya: Strong
- Laiken: Cherished, wanted; “from the lake”
- Jahzara: Sacred princess
- Tahiry: Nostalgic and grateful for her past; close to family
- Keisha: Favourite one
- Zehra: Flower
- Kamile: Spirit
- Eshal: Life
Popular African American Girl Names & Their Meanings
Moving across continents, these are some popular African American girl names and their meanings. These names are more modern and slightly “Westernised” as they have some American influence, but they’re different from the usual American names all the same!
- Aaliyah: Exalted
- Destiny: Self-explanatory
- Imani: Faith
- Jada: Wise
- Jasmine: After the jasmine flower
- Jayla: Jaybird
- Kayla: Pure
- Kennedy: Helmeted chief
- Kiara: Dark-haired
- Laila: Night
- Tiana: Follower of Christ
- Nevaeh: Read it backwards to find out what it means
- Makayla: Who is like God
- Akilah: Intelligent, loyal
- Jashanna: Celebration
- Kimani: Beautiful, sweet
- Rhianna: Great queen
- Sheniqua: God is gracious
- Zari: Golden
- Sydney: Wide meadow
Black Girl Names Starting From A-Z
Last but not least, here’s a list of Black girl names starting from A-Z! These are a mixture of both African names and African American names, so you can take your pick from both pools. Have fun going through these Black girl names!
Names Starting From A
Names Starting From B
Names Starting From C
Names Starting From D
Names Starting From E
Names Starting From F
Names Starting From G
Names Starting From H
Names Starting From I
Names Starting From J
Names Starting From K
Names Starting From L
Names Starting From M
Names Starting From N
Names Starting From O
Names Starting From P
Names Starting From Q
Names Starting From R
Names Starting From S
Names Starting From T
Names Starting From U
Names Starting From V
Names Starting From W
Names Starting From X
Names Starting From Y
Names Starting From Z
Tips On Choosing A Black Girl Name
That was a pretty long list, wasn’t it? If you’re looking to select a name, we have a few handy tips on choosing a Black girl name. First, narrow down your top 5-10 favourite names, and then find out their meanings if you haven’t already. Which one appeals to you the most? If you’re choosing a name for your new baby girl, you can do this with your partner. What does your baby girl mean to you, or what do you want to name her after?
If you’re choosing a name for yourself, it’s even easier – just go with the one that appeals to you the most. You can even tweak the spellings of these names! Above all, just go with your heart, and you can’t go wrong!
Which Black girl names are your favourite, and did you pick any out from this list? Maybe you have more names to suggest to us?
We’d love to hear them, so do share them with us in the comments below!