After addressing his experiences as a chocolate-complexioned boy in the children’s book Chocolate Me!, Taye Diggs wanted to create a story about biracial children and their unique experiences, so he wrote a follow-up book called Mixed Me!
During an interview with the Today show, Diggs talked about how the book was inspired by his 6-year-old son, Walker, who is biracial. Diggs’ ex-wife, Idina Menzel, is white.
“[Walker] is a product of a blended relationship. His mom is vanilla and I’m dark chocolate,” Diggs said. “I just wanted to write a little something that touched on their experiences.”
Diggs described how there weren’t many children’s books addressing specific skin hues when he was a child, so he wanted to create something that would resonate with his son.
“I wrote it from my childhood, because I didn’t have anything like this to refer to when I was a kid,” he said. “Luckily, a lot of the kids today are in classes and schools that are a little bit more diverse. But that doesn’t mean that these issues don’t need to be looked at and acknowledged.”
Walker wasn’t the only person who inspired Diggs. Diggs saw how his own biracial cousin wasn’t “as comfortable” with who he was growing up, “and standing up for where [he] came from.”
Diggs hit it right on the head. I think it’s important that children see themselves in toy form, in doll form, on television and in books. It may seem superfluous, but all of that validates their existence, to see that they’re worthy of being mocked up.
Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele is a staff writer at The Root and the founder and executive producer of Lectures to Beats, a Web series that features video interviews with scarily insightful people. Follow Lectures to Beats on Facebook and Twitter.