Zuma Nesta Rock: Behind Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale's Name Choice

08/22/2008 at 04:00 PM ET

Gwen_stefani2With many readers expressing their opinions on Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale‘s choice of Zuma Nesta Rock for their new baby boy, we spoke to Linda Rosenkrantz, co-author of The Baby Name Bible: The Ultimate Guide By America’s Baby-Naming Experts, about the possible meanings behind each name choice. We’ve also gathered quotables from Linda’s co-author, Pamela Redmond Satran, and PEOPLE’s Jessica Gold Haralson.

Click ‘Continue Reading’ for their thoughts!

1) Zuma: The likely inspiration, agreed upon by Linda,Pamela, and Jessica, is Zuma Beach in Malibu, Calif, a surf spot Linda describesas "beautiful." Continuing with the place-naming tradition they startedwith older son Kingston, Pamela tells Us Weekly that it’s a spot Gavin has spoken of in the past. "He was standing on Zuma Beach in the early morning after working allnight as a production assistant on a music video and was quoted assaying he realized he was wasting his time. He drove upthe coast, slept in his car, and started making the moves that wouldlaunch his career."

In addition to Gavin’s remarks, PEOPLE’s Jessica says the spot "was the inspiration for Neil Young‘s album Zuma, making the locale a bona-fide musical landmark" that may have interested the singer/songwriters.

Other Zumas that readers may be familiar with include the 2004 videogame, which "required players to removeballs rolling around the computer screen … before they filled up thescreen," says Jessica. Linda also mentions Jacob Zuma, the president ofthe African National Congress, who was dismissed from the government in2005 among allegations of corruption.

2) Nesta: The middle name fits with the theme of Kingston’s first name — Jamaica and reggae! Nesta was Bob Marley‘sgiven name. Linda explains, "He was born Nesta — which means"messenger" — Robert Marley, and reversed the first two names when hecame to America. His son Ziggy honored his late father by calling his little boy Gideon Nesta Robert, and Lauryn Hill also used it as a middle name for her and Rohan Marley‘s son John."

3) Rock: As they did with Kingston, Gwen and Gavin chose togive their second son two middle names. Jessica wonders if the moniker"might be a nod to Rock Steady," No Doubt’s third album. Thedisc was recorded "primarily in Jamaicaand featured a reggae-heavy sound." Meanwhile, Pamela thinks the name"needs no explanation" given the rock-star gene pool Zuma was borninto. Besides, the author says — "We’re long overdue for a Rock Hudson-inspired revival."

Sources: Linda Rosenkrantz; PEOPLE, Us Weekly; Photo by Flynet.

Where did you draw baby-naming inspiration from for your kids?


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sleekraven on

Well, the title of the post is misleading. What we have here is not what is behind the name or the reason for the name but someone giving their opinion on what or why the baby has been named as such by his parents. This is no different from the “not really in the know” expert who claimed that Sunday Rose Kidman Urban was given the name Sunday as a dig at scientology.

Let’s actually hear from the parents and not experts.

Nicole on

Now that I know that Gavin and Gwen gave their son a name that has deep meaning to the two of them, and connects their two boys together, it doesn’t seem so out there. They chose places that really meant something to them and their family when they named each of their sons, and that’s really what naming your child is all about.

MB on

love that story about gavin on zuma beach. would be so sweet if that’s why they chose the name.

my husband and i are using family names for middle names, and i *think* we’re going to pull from our cultural ancestry for the first names, though we haven’t decided for sure.

Jess on

I don’t have children yet myself but family have always drawn names from previous family members.

Ann is huge family name, derived from both sides of the family’s great-grandmothers. Thus, my mum, aunt, sister and cousin all having it as a middle name.

My parents chose my middle name differently however. My great-grandfather’s name was Francis & so I recieved the feminine version, Frances.

The names I have planned for my girls have a main name & one middle name. The middle name being a family name. However, its so much harder to chose names for my boys! I doubt they’ll have names from my side but I will continue with the family theme.

As for the first name, I’m going for a sort of rock-chick/rock-star edge but still being simple & suitable.


Tiffany on

We named our little guy Brantley (because I saw Brant in a baby book, and I knew a guy in high school named Brantly and I really liked it).. his middle name (Sean) is a nod to his daddy whose name is John.. My husband was the 4th in a long line of John’s so his family always called him Sean(to cut down on confusion) which is the Irish version of John.. our little boy could have been the fifth, but my hubby was totally against.. which is crazy to me? lol

nic on

chatty cricket on

I feel very strongly that a name is the first gift you give to your child. As such, even though a name should hold meaning for you and your partner (otherwise you probably wouldn’t have chosen it, yes?), it’s not an opportunity to flaunt your creativity and stroke your ego. It’s not about you, its about your child. This is the name he will have to carry with him for the rest of his life.

I’m sure all three of his names do have special meaning to Gwen and Gavin, now let’s hope Zuma Nesta Rock feels the same way while he’s growing up with a name like Zuma Rossdale.

As for where we pull inspiration? We’re FAR more traditional and mainstream when it comes to names, and we like to turn to our not so distant family trees.

Liza on

ahhh so long since ive posted!

Well, first Ezra was just a beautiful name and being a child during the 90’s I was well aware of the band Better Than Ezra, which is the first time I heard that name. When I was pregnant in 2005 with him, one day it just came to me that it needed to be his name! (At that time if I was having a girl her name was going to be Marley, after Bob (: ) When baby #2 came 16 motnths later, we all seemed to have biblical names, and so Eli came straight from the good book, and they both had the same initials! Now, BABY #3 (just found out, due late March!!) Its between Evangeline for a girl (Daddy is a huge Bad Religion fan and that is a fav song of his, and i just love the name, it goes with the family middle name, Jeanette) and Eamon for a boy, to stick with the E names!!

Sammy-xx on

My middle name is Jane which is a family name
I share it with my mother – we have the same initials as well- her mother is called Jane her mothers middle name was Jane and her mother and grandmother were both called Jane
I plan to have it in my little girls name somewhere

My cousin actually was named after Lee ‘ Scratch’ Perry a reggae producer who worked with Bob Marley

Corkylu on

I looked this name up on the web- Zuma and Nesta are said to be girl names Zuma means Peace and Nesta means Pure. Not saying that everything on the web is true but it was on a few different sites. So if these meanings are true than I can understand why they decided on the two names together.

Stephany on

While I’m not thrilled with the name of this new little one, it’s sweet to see the connection. I love when parents put so much thought into their children’s name and name them after people/places/things that mean a lot to them.

gabrielle on


mslewis on

They must really love Jamaica and Bob Marley!!

Personally, I liked the baby’s name first time I read it. It’s unusual but not in a bad way. Both of their babies have meaningful names and that’s a good thing.

jasmine on

Love the possible meanings behind the names…very nice.

LisaB on

The bottom line is they can have whichever name they want to have. No doubt this child will be as big of a brat as his brother and I think celebrities choose these far out there names to stay in the spotlight. It’s retarded and stupid.

Colleen on

I honestly love this family. They seem down to earth and very loving…BUT as sweet as the meanings mean, I agree with Tiffany. It is not about you, it is about the child. I hope this poor kid wont get taunted in school….you know, he still can, even though his parents are rock and roll celebs. I mean…Apple, Pilot Inspector, Sunday, Shiloh, Suri….what the hell ever happend to Mary, Michael, etc. ? I guess me naming my son Brendan is boring! lol I will make sure to go over the top with the next one. 🙂 OK, and please dont bash me when you read this…keep in mind I am being sarcastic and it has nothing to do with the children, it is the parents!

Renee on

Even on this topic, people continue to insult the family. I don’t understand why people can’t leave it at “I don’t like the name” and move on. Do they think Gwen and Gavin will read their comments and change the name? It seems so insulting and hurtful to attack the parents because you don’t like the name. How about we let parents name their own kids and leave it at that. I don’t understand how people cannot realize that they can really hurt people’s feelings with the harsh comments I have read since the name was announced

Whitney on

inspiration is one thing – but a horrible name is a whole other topic……

mp on

I don’t like the baby’s name, but then again, I’m not his mom. Kingston’s moniker set a high bar, but all that really matters is that Zuma will be prized and loved — and we all know he will.

Baking Fairy on

I come from a family where unusual names are the norm but my aunt (Twighla) and mom (Velva) both hate the names they were given so when I was pregnant, I tried to balance my desire for choosing an unusual name with my desire to avoid one that was too common. I grew up with three Jennifers in my class so they always had their last initial tagged onto their name to distinguish them. That was the last thing I wanted for my daughter. Perhaps Zuma is unusual but at least he won’t have to go through childhood as “Zuma R.” since it is unlikely he will encounter any other Zumas.

I actually named my daughter after my cousin Elizabeth, who was killed by a drunk driver when I was young. My due date was four days before Elizabeth’s birthday so I wanted to honor her. Instead of using the common version of the name, I chose an alternate form (Lilibet) so that my daughter would know she was named after someone very important to me but she could also feel like she had her own individual name. Time will tell if she thinks her name is too weird but I have had nothing but compliments on it.

angie rae on

I don’t like the name.

sheila on

Both of my girls have family names… My 2yo’s middle name is Marie– the same as my moms. My 3 month olds middle name is Ann– the same as my boyfriends mom and mine. I don’t know what I’ll do if we have any more children– I guess I’ll have to move to the grandparents– which would be Jane and Leigh… IDK how I feel about those! LOL

Molly on

Can’t we stop the insulting of Gavin and Gwen please by complaining about the name? It’s really getting tiresome.
How would you like it if someone came up to you and said they didn’t like your child’s name, because it wasn’t what they thought was “normal.” It’s their decision, not yours to decide on what to name their baby.

Oh come on on

Wait, where exactly are the hurtful attacks on the family and name insults on this topic board?

The other Zuma board already had an argument on this that died down, is it necessary to bring up the argument here and start the instigating again? I’m sure these celebs who happen to read comments that disagree with them brush them off since it’s internet banter. I would think that most celebs probably aren’t coming to websites looking for defensive fans to stick up for them all the time. Relax.

Jane on

My middle name is Marina, stemming from my parents wanting to honor all four great-grandmothers: Margaret, Marceline, Marge and Mary. I had to have an M-A-R, but not any one of those!

I am seriously considering naming any future daughter Marina now.

ellen on

i don’t think that this name will ever grow up on me. for me personally, every name which end with -a is a girl’s name, and gwen’s choice is beyond unusual..

patricia on

believe me, us folks who like unusual names are well aware that people think this is such a burden on the child…but I would walk through the depths of hell before I went with “a FAR more conservative name”.


The more I think about it the more I wonder if it’s really for Zuma Beach. His name has Zuma and Rock in it…if he didn’t have Nesta in it it would be Zuma Rock (Like the one in Nigeria)…Maybe because he was so big (I think I heard he was bigger than Kingston)…I guess we’ll all see!

Orhion on

Now that we have a little background info, Zuma Nesta Rock Rossdale isn’t so bad. I wonder if he will be called Zuma or Rock…I’m pulling for Rock Rossdale.

I’m planning on having two boys:
Kyler Hayden
Conor Nicholas

and two girls:
Allana Melisynt
Ashila Nicole

taegan on

Congratulations Gwen and Gavin. Yay Kingston has competition for cuters little boy! And Viv has a boyfriend already, hehehe.

But what’s with the name…Zuma???

Trisha on

Shocking name I hate my name
But i hate even more that mum
spelt it wrong Teena instead of Tina

Everyone always spells it wrong and
it drives me crazy

blue_butterfly on

I love the idea of family names/names that have special meaning to you. I wouldn’t go as “out there” as Gwen & Gavin did with baby Zuma (I do however think Kingston is a lovely name) but although I don’t currently have any children I’ve always had the idea to call them after family members.

IMO the Stefani-Rossdale family have just done the same and substituted a family name for a name they associate a lot with – it’s no different – and hey, like Baking Fairy said, little Zuma will never have anyone else in school with the same name!

La Petite Belle on

I think the names are really pretty- and who cares if they are different from most names, we named our children spanish names because we’re from a spanish country, and yes they will probably be different than the names here in the US, but that makes me children unique and different. I hope we’re doing a well enough job for them to be secure enough to not care if other kids find it’s strange.

S.A.M on

Chatty Cricket, just because you prefer more traditional names doesn’t mean that is what is best (which you are insinuating).
Anyway, names change with the times. I’m sure in the ancient times when names like
ACACIUS,ANICETUS,APOLLONIOS,AQUILA,ARCHELAUS were the norm, when people wanted to name their sons JOHN & PETER, they were looked down upon by people with the same views as you.
I’m all for trendsetters & not followers.

As far as the kids being taunted in school (Chatty Cricket & Colleen)..that will even happen to a MICHAEL/MATTHEW/BRENDAN if he has crooked teeth, big ears, and other quirky characteristics..An unusual name isn’t a guarantee for teasing. Do you think Beyonce got teased in school? I doubt it, but even if she did, look where she is now..I dont think it harmed her..

Liza on

Ellen. My sons name is Ezra. Girls name? Nope. Book of the bible, ancient Hebrew name? Yes. Just because a name ends with an A means nothing.

Danette on

I love both Gwen and Gavin and am sooooo happy that she FINALLY had the baby (although as crazy as it sounds, I’m a little disappointed that it wasn’t a girl. I wanted her to have a girl this time around. LOL!)

However, I can’t lie and say I wasn’t taken aback by the name. ‘Kingston’ was an unusual first name but it didn’t throw me off when I saw it. Immediately I figured it was reference to Gwen’s love of Jamaica. But this ‘Zuma’ name…I don’t know…it really did sound like a female’s name and it just didn’t click with ME.

But now that I see the connection they may have drawn from it…I like it. But this is no different than Russell Crowe’s son Tennyson (sp?). When I first saw that name I hated it…but now it has grown on me.

My name isn’t common…as a child it’s annoying because you can never find anything (like at Disneyland or Sea World…but I’m not bitter! LOL) with your name on it. But as an adult you kind of appreciate it.

Zuma will be fine!

fay on

i think one of the issues you all are forgetting is that zuma isn’t going to be going to school w/ ONLY shannon’s and williams…

shiloh’s gonna be in class w/ barron…. kingston and harlow are agemates, i mean, you guys are forgetting abt all of the ppl who HAVE cultural names. my real given name is faosatulai it’s not a common american name, but it’s my name, but i mrean really’=, it’s my NAME it’s what my family has been calling me for 26 years and only ppl named mary jane and alice ever have a big problem w/ it.

u want u kid to be one of 40 tiffany’s in her class, and that’s cool… they want their kid to be zuma… and that’s cool… IT’S THEIR kid… and in the grand scheme of things YOU won’t be the one consoling the kid when they come home crying…

AND u know what… it’s okay for kids to be teased sometimes… it’s okay for kids to learn how to stand up for some sort of conviction because they’ve faced some sort of adversity…

a friend of mine named her son shamesh, which is an african name, and one of the things he’s learned is how to respectfully answer when ppl criticize his name… now that he’s getting older, he’s learning how to deal w/ ppl who have something adverse to say about his name, his hair, his WHATEVER…

it’s okay… u can name your kid whatever you want… and if ppl get TOO out of the box with the names, there’s a legal system that will reign them back in a little…

ppl peace OUT…

SAR on

I think Zuma is a beautiful name. I’m happy for the Rossdale family in the birth of their second son.

MB on

You know, I was thinking about Kingston with this discussion. And I gotta say, at first I thought it was kind of long and unusual. But now I think it is the *perfect* name for him! I mean, not every child has a name that just SUITS him or her, but Kingston really is a “Kingston” IMO. I think that Gwen and Gavin have a talent for picking out a name that really fits their children and I have no doubt that Zuma will be a “Zuma.” Maybe that sounds weird, but it’s just what I was thinking.

Nikki on

rock on, i say! the meaning is important and we’re coming to a time where everyone needs to accept change. its much more elegant and meaningful than say, pilot inspektor, whoever named their kid that. at least when Zuma gets asked how he got his name, the story WON’T be, well my parents smoked crack. America is becoming more and more diverse and these days, what’s tradition for one family is definitely not for another. so when i see people say, well, “I’m more traditional,” i sort of take that as an ignorant remark. the traditional naming system of the Yanomamo tribe in South America is that they name their children assinine things like “sloth’s toenail” or “snail slime.” they do this because if this person ever becomes revered or infamous, it is custom to never speak the name again. so if you name someone “water” it would be kind of difficult to never say the word “water” in every day language. “Go fetch the… clear life-giving fluid!” i’m more upset when people from China come here and change their name to “fit in.” it’s sad that we’re not a more accepting country of diversity. I’m a bit more taken aback by meeting a Chinese person named Antonio but i find out his given name is Han. But again, a country of diversity and mixing cultures and i think it’s a marvelous thing that some of us are daring enough to envelop ourselves in other cultures and starting new traditions.

as for me, I’m multiracial and my husband is Arab-German. so we have plenty of cultures from our own background to draw from to create our children’s names and we’ve done so with our first son, Naeem Rahhal. his middle name is a name that has been past on through the generations of my husband’s family. and although we are not Muslim, half of my husband’s family is and so we chose a very meaningful Muslim name. Naeem not just means benevolent, so simply, but something along the lines of the essence of heaven as explained to me by my Palestinian step-mother-in-law. but after that, we’ve actually chosen a few beautiful Hindi and Sanskrit names for the coming potential children of our future. which neither of us are have any ancestral roots in India as we know of, but the culture and the names are to die for. And it would be pretty neat to have children with both Muslim and Hindu names, a symbol of unity, peace, and diversity in a world where these two groups of people have a hard time getting along. if anything, we might take this theme to a new level and draw from whatever religion and culture we can to do that, to symbolize unity. i’m not going to make up strange names or name my children random words in the english dictionary. instead, pick ancient names from around the world that are beautiful. i plan on teaching my kids the importance of diversity and unity, and perhaps with any conversation they may have about their name, they might get to share their wisdom of peace and unity amongst those questionable hearts. they might run into some trouble amongst a more ignorant and one-raced crowd, but we live in a very diverse city, so i doubt it would be too troublesome. i grew up hating my name, Nicole, simply because in school, every year, i was always Nicole #1 or Nicole #2… i always had a number because i was hardly ever the only nicole in my class. i’ve grown into it, though. and i’m sure my kids will have peeves about their names too… but all we can do is nurture then and explain to them we chose their names out of love. and when they have kids, they can do it differently. besides, kids will be kids and always find something to rag on others for. wearing glasses, having a certain color skin, not wearing the latest fashions, liking or not liking certain things, owning or not owning certain things, the kind of cars mom and dad drives… blah blah blah. whatever it may be, kids have to deal with things like that no matter what. if we raise them right, there shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

that’s what i say.

maggie on

which is Kingston second middle name?

Beth on

McGregor, Kingston James McGregor. It’s Gavin’s middle name.

Ava Corripio on

I ABSOLUTELY love the name Zuma Nesta Rock Rossdale!! I’m so happy for them and brother Kingston. If any one knows about Reggae music and the Legend Bob Marley-then you would know what and honor it is to be given such a name like “Nesta”. The name ” Zuma” if the signifigance was either for the beach in Malibu, Calif or for ” Peace” it’s still such an amazing name to give a child. I think alot of the people are just focusing on the sound of the names but the reason and the signifigance behind it is priceless.

Angela on

I love this name. It is just what I would expect from Gwen. She’s lovely, and definitely a free spirit. Say it over and over…Zuma Rossdale, Zuma Rossdale…a very nice ring. congratulations!

Colleen on

lol My last comment didnt make it to the board I see. Anyways, I am more disturbed that people are taking this personally than the name Zuma! lol Come on guys..if you are a celeb. and release baby photos, names, etc. be prepared to hear mixed comments….it isnt a big thing if everyone doesnt like the name. I am sure some of you got comments from people when you told them the baby names you chose for your children, and those comments prob. came from names you chose that were less flashy than “zuma.”

c-ann on

Zuma is def different. I thought I chose for my son. I thought “what would look good on a resume?” Then I chose something classic and fairly normal. Graeme. He gets made fun of anyway. So what’s it matter?

Melissa R. on

My daughter’s name is Corah. I loved “Last of the Mohicans” with Daniel Day Lewis/Madaline Stowe in it. Cora is how it is commonly spelled, but it didn’t look finished to me..like Sara. So I added an “h.”

Kelly on

i think Zuma & Kingston go together & the name Zuma by itself has grown on me its just the way the whole name all together sounds that really just sounds a little different but you know what? i bet they couldnt care less what any of us think! they must like it & thats all that matters because hes their son i just wonder what they would have named a girl…

Beverley on

I am still hoping that we are being punked. What a horrible name, meaning or not.

louise on

Ilike it…as a whole name its long winded,however Zuma Rossdale rolls off the tongue better than u’d think!Gavin said in an interview he felt coz Kingston has such a ‘different’ name,they felt they were expected to follow suit with no.2. With parents as cool as G+G,and K as big bro,Zuma wont b bullied,his name makes him sound like a leader+wont be one to sit in the corner,if K is anything to go by.

…was wondering if the name ‘Rock’ is a reference to Bob Rock,who produced Gav’s solo album?
Congrats!! X

Evi on

I think Zuma is a nice name. Plus, it’s easy for Kingston to say!
My husband has a long last name. We decided one short name and no middle name for our kids. We started with “Eric”. Beautiful, simple, short. He ended up with my initials, therefore, when we got pregnant a second time, we decided to chose a short name with an “A” so he/she could have my husband’s initials. “Alec” is now 5 months old and our hispanic families are finally coming around to appreciating the beauty in his name. I just hope both my boys love their name just as much as my husband and I do.

Naomi on

I love the names! Even though they may be “out there” for some, I’ve always had the love of unique names. Lucky for my husband and I, my cultural heritage and our family names gave our daughter Mikayla Rhian and our son Keiron Michael. Both are a nod to my Welsh background and both have strong family ties. We got the best of both worlds!

Ellie on

I must admit when I first heard the name I thought they’d had a girl because to me Nesta is a girls name – I went to school with a Nesta who was Welsh.
Zuma is not a name I’d choose for my own child but then I’m sure there are plenty of people who think my children’s name (Alexandra and Harriet) are wierd so who am I to comment?