Author? Actor? Model? Beacon After School alum Aiden Taylor has done it all—and he’s still in middle school.
Taylor attended our Beacon program for first- through fifth-graders at PS 198. “Me and my best friend, we were in Beacon since we were little kids,” he said during a recent interview at the Isaacs Center. “I did a lot of writing there. During homework time I would sit and write about my day. It’s crazy how it all added up to me writing a book.”
Two books, actually—with a third on the way.
Taylor was inspired to write the first book during the early part of the COVID pandemic. “I was just bored one day and looking on social media at how I could, like, make an impact on the community,” he recalled. He liked the suggestion of writing a book. “My mom said to write down three topics and one was self-love, so I just took it from there.”
That book is called ME AND MY AFRO. It begins: “Hi, my name is Aiden and I have a really BIG Afro.” In colorful drawings, it shows Aiden and his Afro going everywhere: the park, the beach, the museum, the library, the basketball court. It ends with Aiden explaining why he loves his signature style.
ME AND MY AFRO took off. “I didn’t think it would be that big, but three months later it became a trend,” Taylor recalled. He was invited to speak at schools and even got profiled in People Magazine. So he wrote a sequel.
In ME AND MY AFRO: When I Grow Up, Taylor imagines all the careers he could have one day—veterinarian, construction worker, bus driver, teacher. “I want kids to start thinking about their future now,” he told CBS New York. Both books are published by Lightswitch Learning.
These days Aiden is working on a third book—a cookbook with his grandmother—while building his resume as an actor and model. He’s already appeared on an H&M billboard in Times Square, in West Side Story on Broadway, and in a video ad for Montblanc pens with Spike Lee.
He’s done a lot, and he wants other young people to know they can too. Asked what message he wants to convey to his peers, he says: “Any dream you want to accomplish, you can accomplish it. You just have to put your mind to it and put hard work into what you want to do.”