But some of today's black-sounding names are more about conspicuous consumption than tradition. There is a trend to name children after luxury goods, like Moet, Lexus, even Toyota.
Steele said that trend "suggests real cultural deprivation. And it's heartbreaking to hear it."
Berry feels that "There's a responsibility, when anybody names a child, to name them something that means something." But she added, "I don't think we need to tell people, 'Don't name them that, because I don't like the way it sounds.' "
Unhappy with her own name and her experience in the job market, Tiqua Gator named her son Derek to help him get by in white America. "If I was to have any more children, it wouldn't be any Tiquas or it wouldn't be any Tamikas or Aishas. It would be something common," she said. "I wouldn't want my child to go through the same thing that I've went through."