Taye Diggs is making the world a better place one children’s book at a time. The actor, who is fresh off starring in Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway, has released his second book, Mixed Me!, a collaboration with longtime friend Shane Evans. The story, which centers around Mike, a young boy of mixed race, hits close to home for Taye who has a biracial son, Walker, from his relationship with ex-wife Idina Menzel.
The 44-year-old revealed to HELLO! that his son served as inspiration for the new book, so much so that he dedicated it to Walker and others, including “all the crazy-coiled buttery-skinned individual mixties of the world.” He writes to them, “Thank y’all for being you and helping me better accept myself.”
HELLO!: So Walker was the inspiration for the book. Did he give you his final stamp of approval on it?
Taye Diggs: He said he liked it [laughs]. He’s 6 years old so I read it to him a couple of times. He’s at the age now where he’s starting to get too cool for school so you know I can tell when he’s really into something. He won’t necessarily come out and say it.
H!: What’s the best part about having a son now at that age?
TD: Everything he can do. We can have discussions, and he’s old enough where he’s very much in control of his reflexes. Right now he wants to get into kung foo and he can do stuff, so it's really cool watching his abilities.
H!: In terms of talent do you see more of yourself or Idina [Menzel] in him?
TD: Smack right down the middle.
H!: With the holidays quickly approaching, what is one tradition that you have passed on to Walker?
TD: Saying what we're thankful for before we eat.
H!: Growing up, what would your younger self have thought of Mixed Me!?
TD: He would have thought it was really cool because there were no books like that when I was a kid, and I would have seen it as very different when I was a kid. The difference was really cool.
H!: How would it have helped you see the world or yourself in a different way, having a book like this?
TD: Just a little bit more understanding, at a younger age because for me once I was old enough and my brain matured, I had an easier time understanding things. When you're younger sometimes you need a little bit more help. Hopefully this book will provide that kind of assistance to kids of a younger age today.
H!: Why is this type of book important for children to read?
TD: Because at some point in everyone’s life they wrestle with self-esteem and we all need to learn how to love ourselves. It makes us better people and more able to love others.
H!: You have Mixed Me! and Chocolate Me. What’s your next book going to be about?
TD: I don’t know, but we're definitely working on it. I have a book that’s about love and a book about friendship so we'll see what the order is going to be.
H!: Could you see them becoming a TV show?
TD: I could see Mixed Me and Chocolate Me becoming a TV show.