It’s interesting how many ways this topic of interracial dating and Black women’s feelings about the whole thing keep finding its way into the public discourse. Likely because our feelings of disappointment, anger, suspicion or anything else have quite a bit to do with our experiences in this world, being shown and told that everything from the top of our head to the soles of our feet is wrong, not classically beautiful, unloveable etc. It comes from all angles. And for some of us, when Black men step out with White women on their arms, at what many can argue are disproportionate numbers, the hurt is real. To me, the issue seems to be that Black men haven’t been willing to acknowledge that hurt and instead find all of the questioning and criticism frustrating and insignificant.
But it appears that the backlash and questioning, Diggs received for marrying Idina Menzel, a White woman, affected him in several ways. During a sit down with Van Lathan for his “Red Pill Podcast,” the two friends spoke about the subject.
Lathan: Let’s talk about the Black audience. The entire time you were coming up, you were dating or married to Idina Menzel. Ima be real with you, I remember the moment that my mother realized that your wife was White.
Taye: I know…I know…
I remember the moment my mother realized it. And I’ll never forget this because my mom is a hippie.
Taye: See. It goes deep.
Lathan: My mom isn’t like that.
Taye: I get it. I get it.
Lathan: She saw a picture and she was like, ‘That’s his wife?!’
Lathan: And I was like, ‘I mean, yeah.’ And she goes, ‘Oh.’ And obviously we know what sisters go through…
Taye: It’s a compliment, actually.
Lathan: When that came…when you go from being the love interest of Angela Bassett and the love interest of Sanaa Lathan to when that came…how do you feel like that impacted your career?
Taye: Sighs…I don’t know. I would like that no but I don’t know the movies that I didn’t get. I don’t know if producers or directors wouldn’t cast me in a movie because they felt like Black women would be salty.
Lathan: Do you think Black women were salty?
Taye: Some were. I don’t feel like it got in the way of anything. To this day, I don’t read Instagram or Twitter or the things people post. I always felt fully supported career wise. When it came to my social life, people always made assumptions.
Lathan: It’s funny because I’ll tell people that we’re friends and they’ll be like, ‘Yo, is he down?’ I’ll just be like, ‘Straight up dog, Taye got more nigg*rish tendencies than anybody.’
Lathan: So has that been a thing for you?
Taye: Totally, man. These days, it’s no excuse so I have no time for it.
Lathan: But you’re dating a Black lady now…
Taye: Uhh yes…she’s mixed.
Lathan: Did you have t-shirts made?
Taye: Of course! There was a parade. My whole family. My mother was like, ‘Aahh” She told me- – oh it hurt my feelings—at 13—I was reading this magazine. I said ‘Oh she’s pretty. I want to marry her.’ And she said, ‘Oh honey, you’re going to marry a White woman.’ At 13. And I was like, Gasp ‘Mommy!’ She was right.
But to this day, whether I’m out at the club or whatever, I still get, ‘I thought you only liked White girls.’ It’s been a life lesson of realizing you can’t cow tow. People didn’t know me. People didn’t understand me. People that got to know me understood. But it’s part of what comes with this business. A certain side of you is seen and you kind of have to accept the judgments that that comes with. It took me a minute to not be offended. It took me a minute to not feel the need to justify…
Lathan: Yeah, how do you navigate that?
Taye: I did the best that I could. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how many times I explain myself. There’s always going to be somebody talking.
Lathan: Are you in a fuck stage of life right now?
Taye: Yeah. It’s just that I’m too old… I got kids. I got other things. I’ve lived enough to be like if anybody has any issue with anything, f*ck you. I really don’t have time. Just think, use your head. Because we are in this age of new Blackness, I have no time for the old wack sh*t. With Glover and all these people coming up…
Lathan: You know what’s funny? Half of those people are f*cking with White chicks.
Taye: For real?! I love that he doesn’t give a f*ck.
Lathan: It’s almost like you took a bullet for those guys a little bit because they’re not getting any of that.
Taye: It wasn’t me. It’s just that times were different then. Or they just don’t care. Because there’s still people out there talking stuff.
Lathan: Like Michael B. Jordan.
Taye: It doesn’t seem to be messing with his career. It’s like family. You love them more than anything but then you also got to deal with all the bull. But it’s family.
Lathan: Ever any resentment toward Black women because of some of those attitudes?
Taye: Yeah, I mean deep down inside. I don’t wanna say I suppress it but I just watch it. And when it happens to you personally, even though you understand the logic, there’s trauma there. I don’t know if I could ever mess with a White girl now. And I don’t like that. That goes against who I am as a person.
Taye: I feel like I’ve had to deal with that so long, that it has changed what I think I like, what I’m attracted to.
Lathan: So no more White girls for Taye Diggs?
Taye: I don’t know. But it’s not where my eyes gravitate to naturally. And a lot of people would say I should feel relieved but it might be racist and I don’t want to be racist. I’m not racist or bigoted or whatever the word is but I wasn’t raised to look at one race and be attracted to one race more than another but I think any psychiatrist or therapist would probably say, it’s probably textbook.
Lathan acknowledges the fact that no one is more assailed in America more than Black women. There are a lot of us who feel unloved because those are the messages we’ve received.
Taye: In order for us to kind of move forward is—and it’s easy for me to say this because I’m a Black male—but the only way, whether this is just in life or as a Black woman or man or whoever you are, to move forward is to, regardless of what the outside thinks of you, is to learn how to love yourself, regardless. And to not make excuses. It’s not fair but if you wait for other people to validate you…you know what I mean? We’re at a time where I’m encouraging everyone, especially Black women, the more time you spend time pointing fingers, the less time you’re going to grow as a person.
You can listen to the whole podcast in the video below. The discussion about Diggs’ dating preferences begin at the 22:40 mark.