Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sugar Daddies - Sweet Nicknames For Black Males

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post gives a shout out to all Black men with sugar names. Click for a companion post on sweet female nicknames such as "Sugar", "Honey", "Cookie", "Peaches", "Candy", or "Puddin".

In the context of this post, "sugar daddies" doesn't have its American vernacular meaning of a rich, usually older man who gives expensive gifts to a female or male in return for sexual favors. Also, it should be understood, that "Sugar" and other sweet nicknames have no homosexual connotations, although saying that a male over 5 years old is "sweet" might have that connotation. Which just goes to show you that English is a real complicated language.

Note that this post isn't meant to refer to the Sugar Daddy candy bar whose original name was "Papa Sucker". I'm not even going there. ;o)

While my shout out is for all Black males who were given sweet nicknames, this post only focuses on a few of those males. It's probably no surprise that most of these representative sugar daddies are or were professional boxers

"Sugar" is a generational nickname which has been affixed to three different boxers -"Sugar Ray Roberson", "Sugar Ray Leonard", and "Sugar Shane Mosley." But why is "Sugar" used as a nickname for certain boxers? Here's one answer to that question:

"Boxing the sweet science. What does that mean and why is boxing called the sweet science?"
Watch some of the old tapes of Sugar Ray Robinson and it will be immediately clear. The science of leverage and speed aside, boxing is more than a measure of power, it is an art as much as dance is art. Sugar Ray Robinson in a boxing match was a thing of beauty on par with any museum piece. "As sweet as sugar", the elegance and grace was impossible to duplicate, and just like no one else can paint exactly like Van Gogh or sculpt like Michael Angelo, no one can exactly duplicate what a master boxer brings into the ring. The science refers to the physical aspect of boxing, the adjective "sweet" is subjective and refers to artistic expression.
-Blogbaba2; 2009"

With that said, here's some information about those
three boxers, with italics added for the information about how those boxers got their sweet nickname:

Sugar Ray Robinson (born Walker Smith Jr., May 3, 1921 – April 12, 1989) was a professional boxer. Frequently cited as the greatest boxer of all time, Robinson's performances in the welterweight and middleweight divisions prompted sportswriters to create "pound for pound" rankings, where they compared fighters regardless of weight. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990...

Robinson held the world welterweight title from 1946 to 1951, and won the world middleweight title in the latter year. He retired in 1952, only to come back two and a half years later and regain the middleweight title in 1955. He then became the first boxer in history to win a divisional world championship five times, a feat he accomplished by defeating Carmen Basilio in 1958 to regain the middleweight championship. Robinson was named "fighter of the year" twice: first for his performances in 1942, then nine years and over 90 fights later, for his efforts in 1951...Robinson engaged in 200 pro bouts, and his professional career lasted nearly 26 years...

When he was 14, he attempted to enter his first boxing tournament but was told he needed to first obtain an AAU membership card. However, he could not procure one until he was sixteen years old. He received his name when he circumvented the AAU's age restriction by borrowing a card from his friend Ray Robinson. Subsequently told that his style was "sweet as sugar" by future manager George Gainford, Smith Jr. became known as "Sugar" Ray Robinson.

Sugar Ray Leonard (born May 17, 1956) is an American retired professional boxer and occasional actor. He was named Ray Charles Leonard, after his mother's favorite singer, Ray Charles.

Leonard got his nickname from “Sarge Johnson, assistant coach of the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team, [who] said to Dave Jacobs, "That kid you got is sweet as sugar." The nickname stuck. However, given his style and first name, it was probably only a matter of time before people started calling him Sugar Ray, after the man many consider to be the best boxer of all time, Sugar Ray Robinson.

“Sugar” Shane Mosley (born September 7, 1971) is an American professional boxer from Pomona, California. He has won world titles in three weight divisions, and is the former WBA Welterweight Super Champion.
There's no mention in Shane Mosley's Wikipedia page about how or why he was given the nickname "Sugar". However, the reason why he has that nickname is mentioned in the following two quotes from this site:
"Do you think that Shane Mosley has really earned the nickname Sugar?"
He's a great boxer indeed but doesn't earn the right of being called sugar. the title is only for fighter with a fast hand speed. the ability to throw combination beyond the time limit that is expected. you can throw a fist/jab in one sec but throw 3 that just's unreachable. to accomplish that you will earn the name/title SUGAR and Mosley is not half as fast as roy jones Jr.
tyler; 2008
"...Shane Mosley has never done anything in the ring that would make you say wow that was sweet. Roy Jones Jr. is the only other fighter that I can think of who could have did the name Sugar proud. I said all of that to say no to Sugar Shane and yes to Shane Mosley by the way what a great person."
-blowbyblow, 2008
So it seems that in the boxing world, the nickname "Sugar" has to be earned, and a boxer's skill & style is how that nickname is earned.

Moving away from the world of boxing, the last Black male who is featured in this post was given a sugar nickname for other reasons than his skill or style:

"Marion "Suge" Knight, Jr. (born April 19, 1965) (a.k.a. Big Suge or Big Simon) is the founder and CEO of Black Kapital Records and co-founder and former CEO of Death Row Records...

Marion Knight Willams was born in Compton, California. "His name, Suge, derives from "Sugar Bear", a childhood nickname."
We can assume that a person nicknamed "Sugar Bear" wasn't or isn't a person of small stature. We can also assume that a person with the nickname "Sugar Bear" of "Suge" or "Sugar" has a really sweet personality. Maybe sometimes we'd be right. But you know what they say about assumptions...

Since I've been interested in naming traditions for some time, my plan was to eventually publish some posts on nicknames. The passing of boxer Smokin Joe Frazier on 11/8/2011 was the motivation I needed to begin write a post that subject, although it turns out my focus was limited to sweet nicknames.

Rest in peace, Smokin Joe Frazier!

Here's a video of a Bluesman with a "sweet" nickname that is common among African American males:

David 'Honeyboy' Edwards 'Sweet Home Chicago 30th Sept 2009 Sheffield Boardwalk

noddyguevara, Uploaded on Oct 2, 2009

94 year old blues guitarist. Last of the line, but still amzingly good. A real character and fantastic guy and guitarist. He know Robert Johnson, who he says nicked this song off him !
Nowadays more African American males probably have the nickname "Honeyman" than "Honeyboy".

RIP, 'Honeyboy' Edwards! (June 28, 1915 – August 29, 2011)

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