I mean you will not find a bigger Alicia Keys fan than me. My friend Michael and I once sat in a room for hours discussing the implications of Unthinkable (I’m Ready). There was nothing but earnestness in our delight.
So it was hard for me to swallow when she called her first son, with Swizz Beatz, Egypt. Because obviously she’s no stranger to the slightly cutesy name, because see above where her last name is Keys, and she plays the…keys, but it seemed a bit far gone for me. Then I had to wonder if I’m being annoying because I’m part Egyptian, like the way people get with Irish names, like “only people from Ireland can use that name”. Still, it never landed for me. Place names are always weird because…do you mean to embody all of the place? Are you calling your son “jammed-metropolises-and-also-some-beach-towns”? I don’t know.
So then…Genesis Ali was born on Saturday. I am weak as water because these two seem like they’re over the moon about the baby’s arrival. Like their tweets are adorable and they maybe didn’t know this was a boy? Anyway, Genesis. Not my favourite, I’m not going to lie, and if you’re going for name-meaning accuracy, Genesis, as in, the beginning, isn’t strictly true since Alicia and Swizz have five kids between them.
But if your first son is Egypt, you can’t pivot to Henry, nor would you want to. Genesis will fit with the rest of his siblings - Beatz’s other children are Nicole, Prince Nasir, and Kasseem - and I’m delighted with the mainstreaming of Arabic names. (I assume there is going to be a post-Serial baby boom and a whole lot of little Adnans born in August, right?)
I know this comes off a little gentle on Genesis, and I’m not saying it’s a name I would choose or want others to choose - but I may have been influenced by the ridiculous racism in the comments on the PEOPLE article, and I am nothing if not contrary.