Fred “Fab 5 Freddy” Brathwaite

Johanna Lawshea

Born Fred Brathwaite, Fab 5 Freddy, was one of the first graffiti artists to exhibit his paintings internationally.  Along with friends and contemporaries Futura 2000, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and others, he was instrumental in getting the art world to recognize that New York graffiti was spawning an international art movement. He has directed numerous videos and commercials for artists like Queen Latifah, Nas, Snoop, and for companies such as Pepsi. In the late 1980s MTV invited him to host YO! MTV Raps, which immediately became the highest-rated show on the channel. He was featured in the “Art In The Streets” exhibition at MOCA Los Angeles in 2011. Fab has lectured at schools and universities around the world, and has written for publications including Vibe, XXL, and the New York Times magazine. He is the author of Fresh Fly Flavor: Words and Phrases of the Hip Hop Generation.