I’m frustrated that I can’t answer the simplest of questions: where does my name come from?
On Sunday, for the first time I can remember in my professional career, I revealed in a live broadcast that the “T” and the “J” in my name don’t actually represent anything.
People have guessed over the years that the T is for Thomas, Terry, Tiberious, etc., and that the J is because I’m a junior, named after my dad. The latter is true. I am named after my dad, but my full name is Loutelious Holmes, Jr.
When my dad was growing up as Loutelious Holmes, the family called him “little T.” That was his nickname. To this day, most people call him “T.” So when I was born as Loutelious Holmes, Jr., the whole family started calling me T. Jr. No one in my family has every called me Loutelious. No one. Not once.
As I got older, I was disappointed that I had a unique name that no one in my family or hometown would call me. When I got to college, I decided to introduce myself to new people as Loutelious only. A lot of my boys ended up calling me Lou.
When I started my broadcast career, it was important to use a name that could be easily pronounced. Still, I wanted to use my full name. For the first story of my professional career, I signed off as Loutelious Holmes. My second story, I signed off as Lou Holmes. The third story, I signed off as T. J. Holmes, and I’ve been T. J. ever since.
After a segment on Melissa Harris-Perry’s show Sunday in which we discussed kid names and my name, a lot of people asked me about my name and its origins. I couldn’t answer. I had a long chat with my dad after the segment as well, and he couldn’t answer. He was named after a great uncle, but other than that, we don’t know where this unique name originates. At some point, we thought I had some Roman roots, but further research is needed.
So, I’m now on a quest. At the age of 36, I’m trying to finally figure out who Loutelious really is.