What do the names Winston, Roland, Andre and Harper all have in common?

All were characters that the ever-evolving actor Taye Diggs has played throughout his career. And by career, we mean the one that has seen him going from Broadway to Hollywood. After over a decade in the spotlight, Taye is adding the title “author” to his repertoire.

Diggs has written a children’s book called “Chocolate Me” that he hopes inspires children to take pride in their self image.

We spoke with him about his inspiration for the book, and asked him to share a few things we wouldn’t know about him.

ESSENCE.COM – Talk about what inspired you to write “Chocolate Me?”

TAYE DIGGS: The book was inspired by a poem I wrote in college. The poem was about a time when I was much younger and lived in a neighborhood where no one looked like me. The children would often make fun of my differences. I complained to my mother about wanting to look less like myself and more like my friends. My mother then gave me a lesson in embracing my differences and loving them despite what others said.

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ESSENCE.COM You collaborated on this project with Shane Evans, who is a very close friend. How did the concept come to fruition?
TAYE: Shane, the illustrator of “Chocolate Me!”, is my longest and one of my best friends. We met each other when we were 16 years old. We attended high school and college together, (both by coincidence). Shane knew of this poem I wrote in college, and some years later suggested that it would make a great children’s book. He added some sketches and we took the story to a few publishers. We found an amazing one in Fiewel and Friends. They scooped up the book, supported it and here we are.

ESSENCE. COM- Will you be writing more children’s books in the future?
TAYE: I’d love to work with Shane on another book. We’re starting a production company that focuses on children’s literature, animated series, theatrical productions and merchandise.

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ESSENCE.COM You were in the popular Broadway play “Rent.” Can we expect to see you in any more Broadway plays in the future?
Live theater is my favorite of all the mediums that I have worked in, so I have every intention on coming back to Broadway. Time has been scarce with my working on “Private Practice” in L.A.

ESSENCE. COM – What are two things people don’t know about you and probably wouldn’t expect? You’re an theater, TV, film and film actor, AND and author, what have you not done!
TAYE: Things people don’t know about me… I’m a choreographer and I love watching “The Bachelorette”!

“Chocolate Me” is available on Amazon.com.