Actor Taye Diggs has been lighting up screens and stages for the last two decades. The New York bred actor has played some in some of our favorite films, and continues to pop into our homes each week on Private Practice.

Diggs recently released a new children’s book, Chocolate Me, loosely based on his childhood about coming to terms with growing up as young black boy in an all-white setting. Diggs, who is now a dad to a two-year-old son, told the blog MyBrownBaby he wrote the book to help children and his young, biracial son deal with feelings of being different.

Although Diggs is hailed as one of the  sexiest men on screen, he says he didn’t feel confident about his dark skin until model Tyson Beckford broke through the color line and became a household name.

He explains: “When I got into high school I started to hear, just from the black community, everybody is more attracted to the light skin girls and the light skin dudes with the light eyes. And from within the race the light skin black people and lighter brown people would make fun of the darker people. So then it was a completely different kind of struggle. And then funnily enough it was when dark skinned men, and this was just from my perspective, there seemed to be a shift where all of a sudden we saw Denzel Washington, Wesley Snipes, Tyson Beckford. I’m still trying to figure out how this came to be. For me, when I saw Tyson Beckford hailed as this beautiful man by all people, that caused a shift in my being. And I remember literally waking up and walking the streets feeling a little bit more proud.”

Reading about Diggs’ acceptance of his skin not only reminded me that men often deal with the same insecurities as women, but also reinforced the importance of seeing and supporting images that reflect our diverse beauty. Just like Tyson Beckford helped Tay Diggs feel comfortable in his skin, Lauryn Hill, Iman, Beverly Johnson, Vanessa Williams, Tika Sumpter, Zoe Saldana, and countless others have helped many of us truly appreciate our beauty.

Was there someone who made you feel comfortable in your own skin? 

*Read more at MyBrownBaby.

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