However, the actor, author and sex siren credited supermodel Tyson Beckford (of Jamaican heritage) with helping him love his beautiful dark skin.
“When I saw Tyson Beckford hailed as this beautiful man by all people, that caused a shift in my being,” Diggs told MyBrownBaby. “I remember literally waking up and walking the streets the next day and, because I had a bald head as well, feeling a little bit more proud.”
The revelation comes as Diggs promotes his children’s book, Chocolate Me, released in Sept. 2011, which contains playful drawings of dark-skinned children and tells stories of Diggs’ youth as one. The book is an affirmation of dark-skinned beauty and the need for all children to love themselves.
Here’s an excerpt from the interview:
Taye Diggs on Colorism:
At five-years-old, none of us knew the can of worms we were opening… the little white kids who were making fun of me, they didn’t know. Their whole questioning was coming from the fact that I was different. None of them ever used the N word or negro. They just knew, “ok, his skin is brown, my skin is white, his skin is white, his skin is white, let’s make fun of him.” It wasn’t even in a nasty way at 5. But I obviously didn’t take it well. And then the older you get, once that understanding came, then that was a whole different issue. Then you have to deal with serious self-reflection. My mother was very fair skin and my dad was dark. And back in my mother’s day, she was seeking out the dark men because she didn’t feel black enough. So it’s a continuing issue. We’ve come a long way, but I don’t think we’re fully over it as a society.
Diggs is married to Idina Menzel, who is white, and they have a 2-year-old son. While he has caused some controversy in the past over statements he’s made about his own relationship with a white woman, we find it great that he’s written this book to help raise the self-esteem of dark-skinned children around the world. The more parents instill in their children an appreciation for who they are, the more self-confident children wlll be, and the better able they will be to embrace their race.
Read morby at MyBrownBaby.