James Roday Rodriguez has announced his “deeply personal decision” to change his name from James Roday back to his birth name, Rodriguez. In an interview with TVLine, the Psych star explained that he had changed his name to James Roday two decades ago after facing discrimination at auditions as a young actor. “I didn’t look Latino enough,” Rodriguez said. “They basically didn’t know what to do with me.” Rodriguez admits that he has had a “strange relationship with [his] own heritage.” He ultimately came to the decision to switch back to his birth name after talking to his father about race amid a global reckoning with racial injustice.
“On one hand, it’s unfortunate that it took the world turning upside down for that to sink in,” Rodriguez said. “On the other hand, it was so edifying, listening to my father talk about what it was like to be a brown person growing up in this country — and in Texas, no less.” Following his conversations with his father, Rodriguez decided to legally and professionally change his last name to Rodriguez, keeping Roday as his middle name. “I just hope it’s something that can be amplified. I hope we are all having these conversations in our lives. I hope we are all reflecting. I hope we’re all learning shit that we thought we knew but didn’t know,” he said.