BLACK VOICES
01/17/2012 06:18 pm ET

Taye Diggs Credits Tyson Beckford With Helping Him Love His Skin Color

Taye Diggs is praised for his good looks and dark skin, but according to him that wasn't always the case.

The actor recently opened up about his struggle with his skin color, which he endured from a young age well into adulthood. He credits another famous face whose dark skin also makes the ladies swoon for helping build his confidence: Tyson Beckford.

"When I saw Tyson Beckford hailed as this beautiful man by all people, that caused a shift in my being," he told MyBrownBaby.com. "I remember literally waking up and walking the streets the next day and, because I had a bald head as well, feeling a little more proud."

Diggs shared his personal experiences of being mocked for his skin color as a child and later dealing with intra-racial skin color debates as a teen. He said the prevalence of other dark skin actors and models helped him recover his self-esteem.

"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," he said. "And then, funnily enough, it was all of a sudden we saw Denzel Washington, Wesley Snipes, Tyson Beckford. I'm still trying to figure out how this came to be."

These exact experiences were the inspiration behind his children's book "Chocolate Me!", which celebrates the beauty of dark skin and encourages readers to love themselves no matter what.

This is just one lesson Diggs hopes to share with his biracial son, Walker. The actor says he hopes to teach his son to love all aspects of his African American and Jewish culture.

"When I was growing up, if you were half a shade darker than white, the white people would not accept you," he said. "These days, thank God, people are a little bit more accepting and people's views are broadening and it's not as accepted to just choose one, how you might have been forced to in the past. As proud as I am of my blackness, I think it's important to show Walker that he should be just as proud of his Jewish mother and all of the culture that that includes as well."

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