I Was Wrong. Cephus, Not Washington, Is America's Blackest Last Name

Illustration for article titled I Was Wrong. Cephus, Not Washington, Is America's Blackest Last Name
Photo: Andrew Toth (Getty Images)

Two years ago, I wrote a thing asking which was the single blackest last name. After an intense vet involving census results, personal recollections, proximities to yams, and even a consultation from an Adam Clayton Powell hologram, the list was narrowed to four: Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, and Jenkins.

Washington was eventually declared the blackest of them all, even beating sentimental and spiritual favorite, Jenkins.

All things considered, it basically comes down to Jackson and Washington. And while I’m tempted to lean Jackson’s way because Janet and Michael and Samuel L, the sheer percentage of Black people named Washington makes me give them the title.


Anyway, I’m here today to admit that I was wrong. This morning, I learned that Cardi B and Offset named their daughter Kulture Kiari Cephus. I also learned that Offset’s real name is Kiari Kendrell Cephus. (Which might have won our Blackest Name in America Tournament if it were nominated.)

Considering this new and relevant information, Cephus is now America’s blackest last name. It sounds the blackest, it feels the blackest, and saying it aloud makes you feel 17 percent blacker. If you said Cephus five times over a bowl of grits, salt would magically appear on them.

I just hope, for blackness’s sakeand for humanity’s sake, reallythat there’s at least one nigga out there named Cephus Cephus.

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)

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Cephus sounds like the last name of the neighbor that has a 1987 Monte Carlo SS rusting out that he SWEARS he’s gonna fix one day so he won’t sell it to you. Mr. Cephus did 17 tours in Korea. Cephus’s daughter is fine as wine. Cephus would have gone pro if he didn’t hurt his knee. Cephus don’t know if it’s your alternator or your fuel pump but either way it’s gone cost you ‘bout $250. Cephus is a deacon at the church and every Sunday after service he goes to the corner store for a pint of Wild Irish Rose.