Let our next greatest achievement be realizing the dream of full equality for all of us ...

- Human Rights Campaign President, Alphonso David, as reported by Maiysha Kai -


The Definitive List (and Explanation) of Letters That Work As Nicknames


Because I’m young, gifted, and Black, I’m prone to nicknames. Hell, my entire life is one big nickname. But being Black means that my nickname got a nickname. Despite nicknaming myself Panama Jackson (as a nod to my birthplace and one of the blackest last names ever, Jackson) people often call me “P,” “PJ,” or “Yo.” I guess it's because my car ain't got no roof. My car has a roof.


This begs the question: P, does every letter of the alphabet work as a nickname?

No. No it does not.

Word? Well then what letters work as a nickname?

I’m glad you asked.

Here is a letter-by-letter discussion of each letter and whether or not if successfully operates as a nickname. Because it's Friday, and we ain't got shit else to do.


A – I’m not a fan, it sounds like too much of an exclamation as opposed to a name but one of my boys does, in fact, go by A amongst family. I’ll allow it on a family technicality.

B – One of the more popular nickname letters. Always works. This one is especially functional in the Black community. Not sure why, but B just works out loud and Black folks like to live out loud.

C – Survey says, yes. Unless you’re a Crip, in which case, I’m guessing that you go by B? Maybe? I’m not in a gang, even if Eazy E tried to tell me that we were all in the same gang. As if. It does beg the question though: if I’m a Blood but my name is Chris, do I have to be Bhris? Can my nickname be shortened to C or does it automatically go to B? I checked Netflix, there’s no documentary about this and there's a documentary about EVERYTHING on Netflix. Sidenote: I absolutely think "bouch" sounds better than "couch." Shouts to Insecure.

D – Probably the most popular letter-specific nickname. I have zero proof on this, but I’d be there were more Black folks whose name starts with a D than any other letter. See also Detroit and peen. D just works. See what I did there?


E – Yep. Because it rhymes with B, C, and D. Sometimes it rhymes slow, sometimes it rhymes quick.

F – I frown upon this being a proper nickname, though I actually have an uncle named F. It’s not short for anything, it’s his name. We Black and southern. Sometimes one letter is all you got in the Jim Crow south. Still don’t like it as a nickname. It’s out. Bye, Felicia.


G – Absolutely. G works so well that it works with ADDITIONAL letters in every capacity as long as G comes last. AG through ZG. In an ironic twist of of Godly humor, XG, two letters who are killing this nickname game, do not sound good together even if it is allowable. They’re basically an Alicia Keys and John Legend mashup. Actually that doesn’t work because AK and JL sound like ass individually. Nehmind.

H – Nope. You may try. You will know. You have failed. I also have an uncle named H. Also not making that up.


I – Have you ever heard anybody say, “Yo, I!” No. You haven’t. Because it sounds dumb. It’s out.

J – Of course this works. It works like hot sex on a platter.

K – See “J.” JK Rowling kills the game, b.

L – Yep. You remember Lance from The Best Man? He was called “L, baby” by Q (which also works and is a popular nickname in the Black community). It works, it gets the job done.


M – This only works for Eminem. Otherwise, I think it’s a trash nickname. If Eminem never existed, it wouldn’t be acceptable at all. P has spoken.

N – See “M.” Don’t do it. Reconsider. Read some literature on the subject.

O – Works as a nickname and an exclamation in the same way that “A” doesn’t completely work. It’s in!


P – Totes obvs.

Q – As I said, it’s a popular one letter nickname in the Black community and the coolest, with the possible exception of X. Q just sounds like a cool cat. I’m not sure you can be shortened to Q if you’re not cool. Also, this is almost always the nickname for Quincy or Quinton and is ALWAYS the nickname for Quintavious, who may go by Tay if he's Quintavious, Jr. and his father has already claimed Q. There are no QJs running around.


R – This only works if the world “The” is placed in front of it. Otherwise it just sounds ungood. It’s out.

S – Nope. Despite being one of the more popular letters in general, it just doesn’t sound awesome on its own. TS? DS? RS? Yep. S, by itself, not so much. Stick a fork in it, it's done.


T – We all know several Ts. Do you know why? Because it works.

U – Naw. If it worked as a legit nickname, folks would call Usher “U” instead of “Ursh” or “Ursher.”


V – Definitely works. Because it just does. Though I’d imagine that if your name starts with a V, there’s probably a better nickname than V. Vi, Vinnie, Viv, Vince, etc. V works, but it should never be the go to.

W – Always shortened to Dub. If not, it doesn’t work because it has too many syllables, though it does gain points for being able to be turned into a hand signal, which nobody can see if you're in a dark room. So yes and no, but more yes than no, because I said so.


X – Like Q, it is a cool ass nickname to have. Sounds like a drummer or a person who can wear sunglasses at night. It works.

Y – “Yo, Y.” Nope.

Z – I know a few folks that go by Z. And it’s always dope to say. So it’s in.

Therefore the following letters work, definitively:

A, B, C, D, E, G, J, K, L, O, P, Q, T, V, W, X, Z

You’re welcome. You suckas got served.

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter



And because I'm extra black, this just happened. I'm 37 years old, I JUST texted my mother to ask her what one of my great uncles real names is because I realize that for my entire life, I've only known him by a nickname.

Literally. JUST NOW, did I find out the name of a man who has been in my life forever.

My mother just texted me his real name, which I'm now thinking Ive heard before, however, I also just learned what his nickname ACTUALLY is, though I've been pronouncing it right for ever (been callin' him Meefie), I didn't realize it was actually Meatfeet.

Why? She has no clue. Somebody started calling him that in school.

Don't you ever in your life tell me Black folks ain't a creative people.