Recently Time talked to Taye about his new film The Best Man Holiday.
Riding high off a $30+ million domestic opening for rom-com The Best Man Holiday, actor Taye Diggs is upbeat and future-focused. Speaking to him at a nightlife event, it appeared that the still-simmering online drama caused by a satire website’s fake news story isn’t stressing him in the least. CreamBMP.com did not misquote Taye Diggs or take statements out of context. The entire story– quotes, sources and all, were made up. In an exclusive interview, Taye discusses the Twitter drama, his upcoming projects, and more.
BROWNIE MARIE: There was an article posted online quoting you as making disparaging remarks about black women. You recently released a statement (via Twitter) completely denying the remarks. What went through your mind when you first heard about the article?
TAYE DIGGS: It turns out, that [fake] statement was put out on a satire website. Then it started to spread, and [other outlets] picked it up. Since it started on a satire website, I can’t really demonize the people that posted it. I enjoy a good joke as much as the next guy. But, before I knew that [it was a joke]… I’m always trying to figure out why someone posts something if it’s negative. I was thinking “Damn, this cat…” female, male, white, black… I’m just assuming it was a black person…
The avatar for the satire site is of a black male. But you assumed that it was a black person because of what?
Because anybody commenting on my relationship with the African-American race, I’m thinking would be African-American themselves. But I thought: “This person must really hate me to post something like this right when our movie is doing so well.” It makes me upset, but more than upset, it just makes me sad that people still don’t get it. There are still people out there that get caught up in race and interracial relationships. I’ve had that conversation so many times in my life. And to be 42, I’m almost 43… I’ve got a kid; life is good. Somebody posted that as a joke, and people took it seriously. It’s sad.
It’s true that you have had these same conversations in the media for years; I’m not going to spend any more time rehashing it. You do have a successful movie currently in theaters—actually the #1 comedy right now, The Best Man Holiday.
It really caught me by surprise. I thought we would do well; I didn’t think we’d do that well. We surpassed everyone’s expectations.
You also had an appearance on [FOX’s] “New Girl” that people loved. When are we going to see you on a television series again?
In February I start shooting another television series… a crime drama on TNT called “Murder in the First.” I’m a detective [with] a female partner played by a wonderful actress, Kathleen Robertson.
Tell me about your new company.
We’re starting a company called Chocolate Me which we’re very passionate about. We’re starting kind of grassroots. I [also] wrote a book entitled Chocolate Me! [It’s] a children’s book about self-confidence and anti-bullying. When I was a kid, for a portion of [time] I lived in an all-white neighborhood. The kids would make fun of me because I was so dark, and they would call me all these names. And I wasn’t equipped… I didn’t have the tools at the time to combat that type of energy. So I would cry to my mother, and she gave me my first lesson in being self-assured and not letting outside forces affect you.
In our household, instead of using the word black, or African-American, or Negro, or Colored, we used the word “chocolate.” In the book, I end up taking what other people make fun of and making it something positive. Chocolate is smooth, chocolate is delicious, chocolate is rich… all of the positive attributes attached to the word “chocolate.” Now we want to take the word [and] the idea of self-esteem and inclusion, and expand it to everyone.
We’re putting together a web series for children’s programming, kind of in the style of [PBS Kids’] “The Electric Company” and “Sesame Street.” [But] we want our show to be a little different than that… [The show will] tackle issues that are brought up in my book. It’s gotten so much better, but we’re still in a place where a lot of times kids don’t see themselves represented on big screens, so we want to do that. [We want to do] t-shirts and clothing lines… we want to do it all. I’m very excited about that.
For more information or to purchase Chocolate Me!, visit www.ChocolateMeToo.com