Fab 5 Freddy

Collaborated Project:

City As Studio | Exhibition

Fred Brathwaite (b. 1959, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.), aka Fab 5 Freddy, emerged in the late 1970s as a New York City graffiti artist and was one of the first to exhibit his paintings internationally. Along with friends and contemporaries such as FUTURA, Keith Haring, Lee Quiñones and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Fab 5 Freddy was a key player in New York’s 1980s Downtown cultural scene and instrumental in elevating graffiti into a disruptive movement that would eventually give birth to street art. Born in the Bedford–Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, New York, his introduction to pop culture came courtesy of a name check on new wave group Blondie’s 1980s pop hit, Rapture. In addition to his visual art, Fab 5 Freddy co-produced, starred in and composed the music for the cult classic film, Wild Style, and went on to direct music videos for numerous hip hop stars like Snoop Dogg, Nas, Queen Latifah and others. From the late 1980s to the mid-1990s, he was the original host of YO! MTV Raps, the groundbreaking TV show that took hip hop culture global. Today, he continues to make visual art and produce and direct projects for film and television. His recent film is a feature-length documentary he produced and directed for Netflix, titled Grass is Greener. The film examines the history of cannabis, music and criminal justice in America.