In a world where stage names often become synonymous with our favorite musicians and celebrities, the real identities behind these catchy aliases can sometimes get hidden in the spotlight. Prepare to be pleasantly surprised as we reveal the real names of some of the most iconic Black artists who've been captivating us for years. From soulful crooners to lyrical maestros, the hidden government names behind these stars might just leave you speechless.
Before becoming SZA, the husky-voiced R&B artist was born Solána Imani Rowe. Although her birth name complements her music's ethereal and heartfelt essence, she adopted the moniker SZA, drawing inspiration from the Supreme Alphabet by the Five-Percent Nation, an Islam-influenced Black nationalist movement. In an interview with Genius, she reflected on her stage name, sharing: "It just kinda like stumbled on me, 'cause my name is Solána... People called me Sos for short, which comes from Sosa."
Kaliii, born Kaliya Ashley Ross, has etched her name into the sonic landscapes of modern rap. Hailing from the vibrant hub of Roswell, Georgia, Kaliya, known by the stage monikers "Kaliii" and "Kali," has forged a path that's as bold as it is carefree, garnering a growing fan base and headlines along the way. At a mere 12 years old, a young Kaliya embarked on a journey into hip-hop artistry, and the rest is history. Kaliii recently stylized her name as Kaliii earlier this year to phonetically match how she pronounces her name in her songs.
Celebrities whose government names you have probably heard before reading this article.
Nicki Minaj: The beloved rap icon and matriarch of the Barbz fandom, Nicki Minaj, boasts a name that's as edgy as her flow: Onika Tanya Maraj.
LL Cool J: The rap sensation's true name is James Todd Smith, a name as timeless as his most unforgettable chart-toppers.
Rihanna: While her fervent fan base probably knows this already, it's worth noting that the songbird's complete moniker is none other than Robyn Rihanna Fenty.
Celebrities whose real names are a no-brainer
Beyoncé - Beyoncé Knowles- Carter
Kendrick Lamar - Kendrick Lamar Duckworth
John Legend - John Roger Stephens
Janelle Monáe - Janelle Monáe Robinson
Usher - Usher Raymond IV
Solange - Solange Piaget Knowles
Jhené Aiko - Jhené Aiko Efuru Chilombo
Ella Mai - Ella Mai Howell
Kehlani - Kehlani Ashley Parrish
Ty Dolla $ign - Tyrone William Griffin Jr.
Alicia Keys - Alicia Augello Cook
Tobe Nwigwe - Tobechukwu Bethel Nwigwe
Victoria Monét - Victoria Monét McCants
Artists whose government names were unexpected
Bruno Mars - Peter Gene Hernandez
Lizzo - Melissa Viviane Jefferson
The Weeknd - Abel Makkonen Tesfaye
Frank Ocean - Christopher Edwin Breaux
H.E.R. - Gabriella Wilson
Miguel - Miguel Jontel Pimentel
Anderson .Paak - Brandon Paak Anderson
Childish Gambino - Donald McKinley Glover
Lil Nas X - Montero Lamar Hill
Chance the Rapper - Chancelor Jonathan Bennett
Wizkid - Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun
Artists whose names are intriguing
Burna Boy - Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu
J. Cole - Jermaine Lamarr Cole
Megan Thee Stallion - Megan Jovon Ruth Pete
Khalid - Khalid Donnel Robinson
Normani - Normani Kordei Hamilton
Trey Songz - Tremaine Aldon Neverson
Hozier - Andrew John Hozier-Byrne
Jidenna - Jidenna Theodore Mobisson
Rico Nasty - Maria-Cecilia Simone Kelly
Snoh Aalegra - Shahrzad Fooladi
Tank - Durrell Artaze Babbs
Swae Lee - Khalif Malik Ibn Shaman Brown
Smino - Christopher Smith Jr.
Masego - Micah Davis
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