By Aisha Flowers
Special to AFRO
Everybody knows somebody named Jordan, and even more people know someone with a unisex name. What we don’t know is where the name Jordan came from and why it is so popular in the millennial generation. Jordan Walker, a December Morgan State University graduate from Bronx, N.Y., said that her parents named her after the daughter on the hit TV show “Millennium,” which aired from 1996 through 1999. Walker knows another Jordan who happens to be her sorority line sister. According to everything-birthday.com, the name Jordan rose to popularity as a baby name in the 90s. This year 16,131 babies were born and named Jordan. The website reported that as a given name Jordan is unisex with the boy/girl ratio as 3 to 1.
Walker said elementary school was often annoying. She would hear countless comparisons to retired NBA superstar Michael Jordan, or that people had never met nor heard of females named Jordan.
Jordan Bizzell (Courtesy Photo)
Jordan Bizzell, a Hampton University alumna from California, said her mom named her after Michael Jordan. Bizzell added that her mother wanted to go further and name her Jordan Michelle, but her dad vetoed part of the naming. He wasn’t thrilled with her having a so-called man’s name, however, dad drew a line as to the proposed middle name. He didn’t want his daughter teased due to her middle and last name rhyming: Michelle Bizzell. Bizzell said she knows five other people that share her name. She has also come into contact with at least 20 other Jordan’s in her entire life.
At times, Bizzell said, she despised her first name because boys mostly had the name (3-1 advantage). Bizzell would try to find ways to ID herself as Jordi, Jori and Danni, however none of these aliases stuck. When Bizzell began to date, her high school boyfriend would refer to her as “23” to avoid people from thinking he was involved with another man. Actually, most of the men she’s dated throughout her lifetime never felt comfortable referring to her by Jordan. They preferred to call her “Jay.”
It wasn’t until Bizzell went to college and her mom gifted her a plaque with the meaning and characteristics of people who share the name “Jordan” that her outlook changed, and she began to embrace what she was given.
“That’s when I fell in love with my name,” she said. Bizzell now feels honored to have been given a name with such power.
The origin of the name Jordan is Hebrew, which means “to flow down, to descend.” In the Bible the name was given to the chief river of Palestine. This was where Jesus Christ had been baptized. In the New Testament, the Apostle John the Baptist baptizes Jesus in the Jordan River. After such a symbolic event, the name was adopted in Europe after crusaders brought water back in the village to baptize their children. The Jordan River has a symbolic meaning, that many see it as a rebirth and salvation.
Jordan can also be considered Arabic. It is pronounced ‘Al-Urdun,’ meaning intensity and predominance. In this culture Jordan was a descendant of Noah. It’s also the name of a northern Middle East Country, but apart from the name Jordan having such a symbolic meaning, there are A-list celebrities that have the popular 90s name. There’s actor Michael B. Jordan, comedian-turned filmmaker Jordan Peele, “American Idol” star Jordin Sparks, and PGA golfer Jordan Spieth.
The author is a student in the Morgan State University School of Global Journalism and Communication.