Boxer Laila Ali’s Smackdown of Kim and Kanye Re: North West

After staying up late last night to write a response to Joanna Shroeder’s article “Stop Complaining About So-Called Weird Names?” I was thrilled to discover an interview, this morning, with Laila Ali (retired boxer and daughter of the legendary Muhammed Ali) about celebrity baby names like North West. Here are some of highlights from an interview by as reported by

When asked what she thought about the name North West, she replied: “I don’t like crazy names!”

When asked about the meaning of names like North West she said: “I think it doesn’t make any sense…You have to think about the child and as they get older what they have to deal with…. But North and South, and Leaf, and Water Drop, and all these names… C’mon now.”

When asked about the current practice of giving babies bizarre names: “A lot of people do things because it is a fad and they want to get some attention.”

When asked about celebrities who defended the bizarre names they had picked, Ali looked directly into the camera as if she was talking to Kim and Kanye and the other baby-naming celebrities directly, and said : “I don’t care who you are that is just stupid, period.”

Celebrity news media usually present celebrity birth announcements as though they are quoting God. Pundits, like me, try to discuss the names objectively. Truth is, we don’t actually know the celebrities we are writing about—so we can’t speak from first-hand knowledge about them. We can only guess what their true motives really are.

That’s why Laila Ali’s smack-down of Kim and Kanye (in particular) and others of their kind is so rare and powerful. She knows the game that Kim and Kanye are playing. And she’s willing to call them on it. What it boils down to is: Kim and Kanye can run from Laila Ali—but they can’t the hide.

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