‘It Was Painful’: Taye Diggs Recalls Growing Up Being Called White and How He Dealt with It

Taye Diggs takes a trip down memory lane in an episode of TV One’s “Uncensored” that aired Sunday, March 27.

The biographical series documents the highs and lows of the actor’s life and career, including his upbringing. In a clip from the interview, Diggs claimed he was mocked growing up for not acting Black enough.

Taye Diggs currently stars in the CW series “All American.” (Photo: @tayediggsinsta/Instagram.)

“Being labeled a white boy was painful,” said Diggs. “It was painful, period. Once I figured out how to manipulate situations, I made a habit of studying people so that I don’t feel less than. So as soon as I realized certain people at school were calling me white, I made it about them; and I didn’t change who I was, and I just went harder.”

The “Best Man” actor then explains how that scrutiny impacted his relationships and led women to assume he only dated white women.

“I remember when I moved to New York, people that didn’t even know my history — women — would say, “You only date white girls, huh?’ he recalls. “Before they even knew anything about me.”

The 51-year-old claims he “never got the answers that I wanted,” which would explain why some women felt that way.

“But I would dig deep and say, ‘Why do you say that? Like you don’t know…. Is it because I speak like this?’ [They would say] ‘No., it’s just a feeling I get,” he shared. “I don’t know if it was their insecurity. I don’t know, but that happened more times than not.”

After his 1994 debut in “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” women viewed Taye Diggs as a young chocolate heartthrob. Working alongside Angela Bassett, Whoopi Goldberg, and Regina King helped him realize his “I made it” moment.

He said, “As far as myself, and where I wanted to be finally I was able to say, ‘Oh, OK, now you’re here. So it was a combination of being so excited, terribly grateful but realizing, ‘OK, now let’s go to work.”

Taye Diggs has also worked with Sanaa Lathan, Paula Patton, Rosario Dawson, and notable women in Hollywood. His acting credits include “The Best Man Holiday,” “The Wood,” “Brown Sugar,” and the Broadway musical “Rent.”

Fans can now enjoy Diggs on CW’s “All American,” airing Monday nights at 8 p.m. ET.

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