When my mother was pregnant with my, both of my parents were in the military. My dad was stationed off in Saudi Arabia so he and my mother would cut up bits and pieces of names to combine them together until they came up with Jameilyara. Later I learned that ‘Jameil’ in Arabic means ‘the most beautiful’ and ‘Yara’ is the name of a Brazilian folklore mermaid who sings to men at sea and trick them into drowning. Ironically, I’m the lead singer of a band. I go by Jameil to make things easier for people. My parents are named Melanie and Jonathan while my brother’s name is Christopher. It’s nice to know no one else will ever have my name since it was just a random assortment of letters.

-Jameilyara, Charlotte, NC