VSB Presents: The #Blackestname In America Tournament, The Sweet 16 (Pt. 1)


We started at the bottom, and now we're here. And by "we started at the bottom, and now we're here" I mean "we started with 64 of the loveliest examples of Blackness nirvana, and now we're down to 16."


Yup. 16. These are the 16 Blackest names in America. Which is an honor in its own right. If you've made it this far, you've reached the pinnacle of Blackness. You are officially Blacker than the back of Forest Whitaker's neck.

But, the journey isn't yet complete. We still need to find the one. The one who stands out among them all. The one worthy of the crown. The one whose sheer name makes you think "Yup, they've definitely put sugar on watermelon before."

The Black People You Know Bracket

#1 Va’Shaundya Karlette Nelson VS #5 Jermajesty Jackson

  • Va’Shaundya Karlette Nelson (64%, 329 Votes)
  • Jermajesty Jackson (36%, 189 Votes)

Is there any difference between "Va'Shaundya Karlette Nelson" going by "Shaunie O'Neal" and the dozens of Jewish actors and businessmen with names like "Vilkvkandrinken Uberquestionstein" who now go by "Ben Stein" and "Donald Sterling"? Is it racist to even ask (and answer) that question? (Don't answer.)

#2 Linnethia Monique "NeNe" Leakes VS #6 Ashanti Shequoiya Douglas

  • Linnethia Monique "NeNe" Leakes (69%, 356 Votes)
  • Ashanti Shequoiya Douglas (31%, 161 Votes)

When did Ashanti become bad as hell? Not "bad" in a bad sense, but bad in a in "Shit, she looks good as hell!" sense. When did this happen? Its weird. She's always been attractive — and she doesn't look much different than she did 10 years ago. But she somehow looks…better today. I'm confused. So is Nelly, apparently.


The Rappers Bracket

#1 Nayvadius Cash (Future) VS #4 Keenon Daequan Ray Jackson (YG)

  • Nayvadius Cash (Future) (53%, 271 Votes)
  • Keenon Daequan Ray Jackson (YG) (47%, 244 Votes)

Raise your hand if you'd buy a mixtape featuring Future and YG. Now, take that hand and strangle yourself with it.


#2 Cymphonique Miller VS #3 Algernod Lanier Washington (Piles

  • Cymphonique Miller (70%, 360 Votes)
  • Algernod Lanier Washington (Plies) (30%, 154 Votes)

Raise your hand if you'd buy a mixtape featuring Plies and Cymphonique. Now, take that hand and strangle yourself with it.


Check back later today for Part 2 of the Sweet Sixteen.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)


Mo to tha

I'm preemptively calling a recount on #1 NAYVADIUS CASH (FUTURE) VS #4 KEENON DAEQUAN RAY JACKSON (YG).

As I've stated before, YG has reached the pinnacle of black names. Double letters (EE), check, urban prefix/suffix (DAE and QUAN), double word score, multiple middle names, check. Then, just to increase the black quotient, his last name is Jackson. I'm sorry, but all of this magic cannot be beat by 'hard to pronounce' and inclusion of Y and V.