Chocolate Me! teaches Black kids to love themselves

admin | 12/22/2011, 11 a.m.

Taye Diggs first came on the scene after stealing the show in How Stella Got Her Groove Back. He went on to cut his chops and solidify his career with stellar performances in Chicago and the stage productions of Rent and Wicked. Yes, Diggs can sing, dance and act moving effortlessly from a heart throb on Private Practice to a lead in a Shakespearean classic. But lately hes turned his attention to writing after searching for a way to encourage his young son, who was recently born to him and his wife, fellow actor Idina Menzel. The result has been a delightful book called Chocolate Me!, illustrated by one of his closest friends, NAACP Image Award winner Shane W. Evans. Having spent time in a predominantly white neighborhood, I was constantly asked why my skin was Black, why my hair was kinky and so on, he said. Diggs says he wanted to encourage kids to appreciate their differences and celebrate them with a healthy sense of self-esteem. The book is about a young boy whose friends tease him for looking different. His skin is darker, his hair is curlier and his nose is larger than everyone elses. As Diggs describes, he is chocolate. And while he wants to look like the other boys and girls, his mother shows him that he is special because he is different. Diggs writes, Chocolate is sweet. Chocolate is smooth. Chocolate is beautiful and delicious. Chocolate is Me! With beautiful illustrations and a simple message, Diggs and Evans have teamed up to provide a story that will soon become a classic for all children Black or white. Its an important story that will help any child struggling to come to terms with their own identity and is a true celebration of the beauty of our diversity. By D. Kevin McNeir kmcneir@miamitimesonline.com