Jay-Z explains why the Gemini twins are named Rumi & Sir Carter


Beyonce and Jay-Z’s Carter Gemini babies were nameless for weeks, at least in the public sphere. There was a lot of build-up for the names, and when the names Rumi and Sir were finally announced, I think many of us were sort of disappointed, even more so when we learned that neither child has a middle name. They are just Rumi Carter and Sir Carter. As I said at the time, I’m sort of okay with Rumi – that’s the name of the famous Persian poet. The name Sir still seems strange to me. So Jay is still promoting his album, and he ended up chatting about how they came up with the names:

JAY-Z and Beyoncé had good reasons for the names they chose for their newborn twins, who were born in June. The “Empire State of Mind” rapper, 47, opened up on Friday to Rap Radar hosts Elliot Wilson and Brian Miller about how he and the “Formation” singer, 35, came to choose the names Rumi and Sir .

“Rumi is our favorite poet, so it was for our daughter,” he shared. “Sir was like, man, come out the gate. He carries himself like that. He just came out, like, Sir.”

The father of three also revealed how the couple’s firstborn, 5-year-old daughter Blue Ivy, ended up rapping a freestyle on his new album, 4:44, while they were in the recording studio together.

“She got the headphones and she climbed on the little stool, and then she just started rapping,” JAY-Z said. “I was like, ‘Oh, s—.’ I haver [her full freestyle] on my phone. Five minutes! Five minutes of her doing that. She kept doing that ‘boom shakalaka, boom shakalaka.’ I was like, ‘Oh, she understands the concept of a hook.’ She’s 5, and she understands the concept of a hook. I was like, ‘What the f— is going on here?’ One of the great memories.”

Besides talking about his oldest daughter’s music skills, the Grammy Award winner said his family will be joining him on tour.

“I booked the tour for October so I could have at least four months to just really bond and see their fingers and s— like that,” he said. “They’ll be with me [on tour] anyway, but I’m just saying, like, [I needed] a space where I’m not doing anything,” he continued. “I’m just focused on them. I’m not thinking about a show at night or anything like that. That’s why the tour is so far away from the release of the album.”

[From People]

So Rumi was named after the poet at least. Do you think Rumi is actually their favorite poet? I don’t know. As for how a baby carries himself like a “Sir”… I don’t know about that either. But I love the story of Blue Ivy freestyling and understanding (instinctually) the concept of a hook. Blue Ivy will rule us all one day.

Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Beyonce’s Instagram.

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77 Responses to “Jay-Z explains why the Gemini twins are named Rumi & Sir Carter”

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  1. OhDear says:

    Still lame af.

    • India Rose says:

      Think how often black men have been called “boy” throughout American history. This feels contrary to that revolting condescension: my son will be called Sir, a name worthy of his ancestors who were never given the respect they deserved.

      My daughter will be named to honor one of the greatest poets who ever lived. A Sufi Muslim, whirling dervish who wrote that we are made of music and light and love, a reflection of this great universe. A poet who referred to God as The Beloved Friend to be celebrated with song and dance.

      Like them or not, these are strong, meaningful names.

      • Jegede says:

        Will ‘Sir’s’ black friend’s or black friend’s parent’s see it the same way? How about any non-American friends?

        I can tell you in places like Nigeria or Ghana, no way ever, will elders call a young man ‘Sir’.
        Famous parents, or no famous parents.

        No way will his black peers decide he is owed automatic deference on account of his father’s ego.

      • OG OhDear says:

        +1. Sir at least is a clear nod to their heritage. It’s not that uncommon – think Beyonce’s makeup artist is also named Sir.

      • India Rose says:

        If Jay-Z and Beyonce are your parents, I don’t think your black, white, Latino or Asian friends will care whether your name is Sir or Prince or Z or Mike or Bob. I think they’ll be like, “Dude, can we hang at your house and play (whatever’s the current incarnation of) Xbox?”

        But if white people call him boy? He’s able to respond, “You can call me Sir.”

        Prince the musician grew up fairly poor in Minneapolis and turned out pretty awesome carrying that powerful name. Search his high school basketball photo. He was small, but he was the coolest cat in town.

        There’s a precedent for using “titles” for kids in royal families. Which this family is not. But close enough. I’m okay with adults calling him Sir. In fact, initially I thought it was a dumb name, but now I think it’s pretty frickin’ awesome.

        Hey. How you doing today, Sir?

        In a time when the KKK thinks Trump’s win gives them the power and authority to take off their shameful hoods and openly march for white supremacy, Sir sounds pretty rad. Sounds respectful.

        It’s about f***ing time.

      • Jegede says:

        “There’s a precedent for using “titles” for kids in royal families. Which this family is not. But close enough.”

        Ahh, enough said.

        And I’ll be intrigued to hear the black parents’ or friends’ that will have to call him ‘Sir’ cause he’s Jay Z’s kids and is – royal enough (??).

        Unless the assumption is that only white friends will have parents, or only white people will think wtf @ referring to Beyonce’s child that way.

        You’re OK with calling him Sir, fair enough, I think it’s eye rolling. Plus an attempt in one upping Kanye’s own ‘Saint’ name narcissism. Then again I’m not Hive. some Jackson fans think Jermajesty is an on point name. So different strokes.

      • India Rose says:

        Jegede, respectfully I have no idea what you’re talking about regarding me thinking only white kids would have parents — or that black parents would be offended and white parents wouldn’t? That’s way off base from my intent. I wonder if this is a regional misunderstanding? I live in the northern part of the United States and calling someone sir isn’t THAT big a deal.

        I’m not a “hive” person or a real fan of either Beyonce or Jay-Z’s music (other than the Lemonade film which I thought was a brilliant look at how race influences gender roles in America). I couldn’t name any of their other songs. Oh, except Single Ladies! That is a very fun dance song.

        By royalty I meant in America we tend to glorify celebrity over government. I wish that weren’t the case – celebrities are regular people, too. But since that’s how it is, they are among the closest thing we have to people seen as celebrity royalty. They wear jewels and gowns, walk red carpets, and are afforded certain rare luxuries (that Jay-Z sure didn’t grow up with).

        Can I see black parents calling his son Sir? Sure. It doesn’t denote royalty in the US. It certainly doesn’t rise above the level of a saint or king or prince. It’s not a huge deal. It’s a term of respect, but in my part of the country not a glorification of the person.

        Our extended family has boys who are black, white and Asian-American. “How’re you doing today, sir?” is a term of endearment, not a sign of deference or raising the child above you.

        On the other hand, if anyone called my sons or nephew “hey you, boy”, given how loaded the history of that term is for children and men of color, you better believe they’d hear about it.

        I doubt a kid with this kind of money and parentage is going to be teased for his name. But kids can choose their own nicknames. Adults can change their names. Regardless, I hope he has a happy life and grows up to make a positive influence on the world. I wish you the best, too.

        (And I totally agree “Jermajesty” is eye-rolling. Naming your kid Prince is one thing. Naming Prince Michael after yourself is another story.)

      • jwoolman says:

        India Rose – By the way, Prince is the name of one of Michael Jackson’s ancestors on his mother’s side. So it’s a name that has been in the family for a long time. I’m sure MJ enjoyed the double meaning of Prince Michael since he himself was called the King of Pop. But he actually was honoring his mother’s family with the name Prince.

        Fathers have also been giving their children their own first name as a first or middle name for ages. Confusing, but traditional here. We have a lot of guys with Jr. and “II” and “III” and “IV” etc. after their names, since the first boy had been given their father’s entire name for generations. I remember one American woman married to a Frenchman wanted to do that with their son, make him a Jr. His father was alarmed – not that popular an idea in France, apparently.

        In the late 1800s and early 1900s especially, names that were royal titles were very popular especially among African-Americans. Prince, Duke (maybe also Duchess), Queen (Queenie), King. I suspect it was a reaction to the slavery days. The comedian Dick Gregory named his daughter Miss because at that time, it was common for whites in some regions to not use titles of respect when talking to blacks. This way, they had to call his daughter Miss Gregory because that was her legal name.

  2. OhDear says:

    Btw I’m not American …the names you guys sometimes give to children sound absurd and it’s not in any way a normal think in other cultures.

    • Erinn says:

      “in other cultures”.

      Well, exactly. Names in other cultures often sound strange to people in North America as well. It doesn’t mean they ARE strange, or absurd. It just means that cultures are different, and naming trends are different.

      And that’s a great thing. It’s good to see the world is diverse in so many ways – even for simple things like names.

      I’m not American either – and some names are ridiculous, I suppose. But if it makes the family happy, and it’s not a name that is going to get the kid bullied, who cares.

      • tmot says:

        The thing with bullying is that they will come up with something. It doesn’t matter. The most popular kid in school might be named Elmer. And there are a million ways to butcher any name. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        Altho, there are some dumb names out there, for sure. “Madison” really?

    • magnoliarose says:

      These are very unusual names. Most 2017 names run along the lines of Emma or Ethan or Michael or Madison.

      • WTW says:

        Save for Michael, which is popular among African Americans, most black people are not named Emma, Ethan or Madison.

      • magnoliarose says:

        @WTW I thought about that when I posted it. I was only going by lists of the most common names in 2017. I purposely chose bland names since she isn’t American and claimed we have strange names. It was not meant to ignore other cultures. I apologize if I was obtuse here.

    • OG OhDear says:

      I don’t understand this comment at all. As Erinn said, different cultures have different naming conventions, and the US has a lot of different cultures and subcultures. Plus Rumi is a common Japanese girl’s name (though the Carter Knowles are referencing a Persian man) and Sir is not uncommon among African Americans (particularly in the South).

  3. Babs says:

    The Blue Ivy story is so sweet. Her freestyle is FAYA! Kids really are something else.
    My baby was carrying himself like a ram so we named him Aries. Everyone hates it but I don’t care. More power to them if they like those names and if they have meaning to them. I like those names too.

  4. Catwoman says:

    Rumi is fine but Sir just plain sucks. Why would you do that to a poor baby?

  5. trillian says:

    I’m more interested in wth they were thinking with these pictures …

  6. RBC says:

    I rather like the name Rumi, but “Sir”? I would love to come back in 20 years and ask the children with unusual names( Sir, Saint, North, Apple, Dream, etc) how they really feel about their names.

    • bucketbot says:

      Who knows, they may just be okay with it. Or worse yet, their parents may have fed them that “you’re my child hence you’re already the most purest princess/prince to ever walk the earth, so you don’t need any education ’cause you’ll definitely be FAME(h)ous’ potion and by then they would actually behave like their names suggest and it would be too late.

    • QueenElisabeth says:

      ask Barbara Hershey’s son ‘god’

    • Erinn says:

      Eh. A lot of kids with perfectly normal names go through a phase of disliking their name as well. I know I hated mine for a brief time even though the only thing ‘weird’ about it is an extra ‘n’. I wanted a common name like Amy or Jess. As an adult I love my name, though.

      • Annetommy says:

        Zowie Bowie now being the filmmaker Duncan Jones of course…

      • LizLemonGotMarried says:

        I can promise you, as one of a LOT of Jennifers/Jessicas, that’s normal for EVERY kid. I wanted to have a unique name instead of being part of the J crowd. I can’t count how many were in my high school, AND it was always about a 75% shot if you were actually going to get called your name or the alternative J. 🙂

    • Caly says:

      Or pilot inspektor lee. Rich people are weird.

    • Annetommy says:

      Maybe like the “Boy Named Sue” in the Johnny Cash song.

    • India Rose says:

      Prince managed his birth name pretty well. #PurpleRain #PurpleReign

    • Mumbles says:

      To me, the worst celebrity name is “Bronx Mowgli” by Ashlee Simpson. It doesn’t even make sense. The borough is called “THE Bronx.” Followed closely by the kid named Pilot Inspektor, I think that’s Jason Lee’s kid.

      • Stacey Dresden says:

        Zuma is my least favorite. Maybe followed by Jermajesty (or do I love that one? Hm) or Apple.

      • TyrantDestroyed says:

        Audioscience is a pretty terrible celebrity name too. I wonder what the teenage kid thinks of his name now

    • fubar says:

      When you have the LAST name of a celebrity, it doesn’t mater what your first name is.

    • Ange says:

      I saw an instagram post the other day from some D list DJ couple who are naming their baby girl Baesline. Idiots.

  7. Jegede says:

    A baby can’t even support it’s own neck when born,

    How the hell did the child come out carrying himself like “Sir”??

    • KLO says:

      wishful projection by a narcissistic parent

      • magnoliarose says:

        Jay-Z a Narcissist? Get out of town. I think it was Kevin Hart who said he micromanages how he wants candid pictures to look and will do them over until it looks perfect. Or fake laughing court side at games and telling whoever he sits next to do the same.
        Can’t. Stand. Him.

    • Chaine says:

      My thought exactly, all a newborn does is lie there and wet itself… about the only thing they do voluntarily at that age is scream and wave their arms a little bit…

    • Honey says:

      My babies all came out kicking, punching, and screaming. There was nothing about them that made me think they deserved to be called ‘sir’

    • Nikki says:

      🙂 Good point!

  8. Beth says:

    The name Sir, and why they named him that, is ridiculous.
    Those tacky pictures need to be hidden under the bed forever and never shown again. I’ll thank my mom again for giving me a boring, basic name

  9. Summer says:

    Rumi’s poems are in persian mostly ( my first language). when you translate the poems to English most of the beauty and meaning behind the words gets lost in translation because his poem are so sophisticated and are not easy to understand even for a person who knows and speaks the language. So I’m wondering how they became such huge ” fans” of Rumi.

    • KLO says:

      I am sure they are fans. Rumi is a cult-pop favorite these days. Why not.

      • Annetommy says:

        So is it pronounced Rummy as in like the alcohol, or Roomy as in spacious?

      • emma33 says:

        “Roomy” is how I’ve always heard it pronounced. I would love to be able to read his poems in Farsi! I’ve seen some translations that are more poetic and flowery (and obviously trying to get at Rumi’s intended meaning), whilst others are more pared back and just a literal translation. It’s interesting to compare the two styles.

        Rumi is very big in Buddhist circles these days, so if
        Beyonce or Jay-Z have any interest in meditation (or spirituality in general) they’ve probably come across plenty of Rumi poems.

    • teacakes says:

      I think we forget that Beyoncé and Jay-Z are people with a professional interest in words and poetry, it’s not that surprising that they would take an interest in a poet from another culture whose language they don’t speak.

      I mean, The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam is also popular in translation, clearly not everyone is faking interest.

    • Fiorucci says:

      I don’t speak Persian and received a book of rumis poems as a gift, I think they are still pretty amazing in English

  10. Renee2 says:

    I don’t think it is that unusual to think that Rumi would be their favorite poet. Jay-Z is a rapper (a poet) who writes his own rhymes and makes myriad references in his music. He is a dynamic person with a wide array of interests. He is also extremely wealthy and as such is exposed to a wide array of different forms of culture and influence. It’s not really that unlikely that this could be his favorite poet.

    • teacakes says:

      Exactly. The Carter-Knowles’ work involves music and poetry, I don’t see why it’s surprising or in any way unbelievable that a well-known, widely-translated poet (and that too, a Sufi – a tradition closely linked to music) from outside the Anglosphere would be someone they’re fans of.

  11. lisa says:

    i dont think there is an explanation out there that can make Sir happen, but this just sounds like narcissistic twattery

    • Annetommy says:

      Talking of faux aristocrats, I also think Barron Trump sounds like a character in a comic opera. As if the poor kid didn’t have enough to cope with.

      • magnoliarose says:

        He is named after Baron Hilton. No, I am kidding.
        It is a real name but not with two “R”s pronounced Bahr-en but neither parent is the sharpest tool in the box so it is no surprise. Baron=Bare-en.
        Weirdly I grew up with a guy named Baron and my brother has a friend named Baron. I think it may be a Northeastern name.
        Earl and Duke are more common in the south.
        But if some fool names their son Viscount they need to exiled on an island for a year with other parents who saddled their kids with ridiculous names.

  12. minx says:

    Oh, brother. All babies come out the same way, looking startled and mad.

  13. B n A fn says:

    I have to agree with him about his son. Some baby born with their own personality from the minute they put their head out. Those babies practically name themselves. Some looks serious, some looks joyful, some are stubborn. I know some here will not agree but I believe him. I have a little chihuahua and he has a personality, he’s stubborn as hell, just saying. Btw, not comparing my cuteness cha to his beautiful babies.

  14. Jessica says:

    Sir isn’t a great name but Sir Carter sounds kind of cool. Don’t care for Rumi either but I like the meaning. These honestly aren’t any worse than Saint or Apple Martin.

  15. Shirleygail says:

    Maybe it is an effort to honour Sir Sidney Poitier re “To Sir, With Love”. They never called their teacher by his name after the first couple of scenes…and the kids stole our hearts with their song by LuLu.

    • AnnaKist says:

      Your explanation sounds far better than his, Shirleygail. I still love that movie and song.

  16. poop says:

    Blue Ivy is a child. She will rule us all one day? I swear y’all worship the ground they walk on.

    • magnoliarose says:

      It is hyperbole.
      She is adorable though.

      • Jamieee says:

        I know it’s hyperbole (mostly anyway, some people definitely seem to have crossed a line into honest to god idol worship), but she’s just a little girl, doing normal little girl things like mimicking her parents. I get the entertainment value, but this is a real child, who has to live in this world where people are set on acting like they think she’s basically Jesus. There’s no way that doesn’t mess her up as she grows up. It’s humorous, but there’s also a ton of pressure built into this.

      • magnoliarose says:

        I just figured it was the typical parent who thinks their child has special talents when it is just kids being kids and copying their parents. I do hope they allow her to be whatever she wants to be and not another product.

  17. Lulu says:

    I’m assuming they mean a sir, like the title of a knight and not the way that litterally all men are addressed? Because both are stupid things to be named after, but they are not my babies so whatever.

  18. Cee1 says:

    Sir may not be my favourite name for a child but I applaud what Jay is saying. I think it’s important to contextualise it too. In South Africa we literally went through an era where white people renamed black names! Let Jay and Bey give their son a name of stature to remind him and themselves of their innate right to be recognised as powerful human beings. As we all have.
    I love Rumi’s poetry so that’s an easy sell for me.

  19. Shannon says:

    Sometimes you can sense a demeanor of a baby at birth. I remember one of my first thoughts looking at my first son after he was born was, “omg, he’s a little scientist!” He’ll be getting his BS in computer science next year. Of course, I didn’t name him ‘scientist’ lol, I named him Oliver David, the name previously agreed upon lol but if Sir makes them happy, I can’t hate on it. It’s a cute story.

  20. CharlieBouquet says:

    Rumi is beautiful and no doubt a genuine ode to the poet. At first Sir bothered me, but after reading his take on it….I think sometimes womb dwellers show attitude on an ultrasound, so I can seeing your son first instant and saying yeah sir little man. Sir you always will be, and going with it. And I agree, Sir Carter just sounds boss lol. Like the little tykes range rover with beats boss.

  21. A says:

    I get what he means about how his son “carries” himself, I actually do. I honestly think a lot of it is just how parents project their babies’ behaviour (because that demeanor is definitely not a conscious decision by his son lol), but I get it.

    Names are, above everything, a reflection of what we want for our children, no? I think that’s the case with Beyonce and Jay-Z. It sounds stupid to us, but I’m glad they put some thought into their names, since I don’t think a lot of people do. And out of all the awful names out there, at least these aren’t that bad.