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Daveed Diggs

Daveed Diggs

Daveed Daniele Diggs[1] (born January 24, 1982) is an American actor, rapper, singer and songwriter. He is the vocalist of the experimental hip hop group Clipping and in 2015 originated the roles of Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson in the musical Hamilton, for which he won both a Grammy Award and Tony Award. Since leaving Hamilton in 2016, he has had a recurring role on the television series Black-ish, and co-starred in the film Wonder. Diggs also wrote, produced and starred in the 2018 film Blindspotting, which earned him a nomination for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead.[2][3]

Daveed Diggs
Daveed Daniele Diggs

(1982-01-24)January 24, 1982
Oakland, California, U.S.
Alma materBrown University
  • Actor
  • rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
Years active2006–present
Musical career
  • Experimental hip hop
  • industrial hip hop
  • noise
  • Sub Pop
  • Deathbomb Arc
Associated acts
  • Clipping
Websitedaveeddiggs.com [41]

Early life and education

Diggs was born in Oakland, California, the son of Barbara, a social worker, and Dountes Diggs, a bus driver.[4][5][6] His mother is Jewish,[7] and his father is African-American.[7] His parents named him "Daveed", the Hebrew pronunciation of David. Diggs has said, "'David' means beloved in Hebrew... They spelled it with two E's because my dad liked the look of it.”[7] His parents' ethnic/racial identities have contributed to his own self-identification: "The cultures never seemed separate—I had a lot of mixed friends. When I was young, I identified with being Jewish, but I embraced my dad's side too.”[8]

Diggs is an alumnus of Berkeley High School and Brown University, where he graduated in 2004 with a bachelor's degree[9] in theatre arts.[10] He was recruited by Brown for his track skills, and broke the Brown Bears' school record in the 110 meter hurdles as a sophomore with a time of 14.21 seconds.[11][12]



Diggs performed in experimental theater early in his career, most notably when he was on the national tour for Marc Bamuthi Joseph's choreopoem, Word Becomes Flesh, about a nine-month pregnancy through the eyes of a young, single father.[13][14] He also frequently performed in regional Shakespeare productions.

Around 2012, Lin-Manuel Miranda invited Diggs to read and hear early versions of Hamilton. Diggs was impressed by Miranda's demos and passion for the project, and saw that the concept was a perceptive use of the rap-musical medium. He played the roles of Thomas Jefferson and Marquis de Lafayette off-Broadway in 2015, continuing with the roles when the show was moved to Broadway later in the year.[15] For his performance, Diggs won the 2016 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical, as well as a 2016 Grammy Award for the cast album.[16] Diggs played his final performance in the show on July 15, 2016.[17]


Diggs is the vocalist of and writer for the experimental hip-hop and rap group Clipping. The group was founded by William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes in 2009, with Diggs joining in 2010. The trio self-released their first mixtape album midcity in 2013 to fairly positive reviews. Signing with Sub Pop, they released their album CLPPNG in 2014, which they promoted with their CLPPNG Tour. In 2016, they released an EP titled Wriggle, then the album Splendor & Misery. In 2017, they released The Deep, a five-and-a-half minute track that tells the story of a society of slave descendants living underwater. In 2018, the song was nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form).[18]

Diggs is a member of True Neutral Crew, with Brian Kinsman, Margot Padilla, and Signor Benedick the Moor.[19] The group have released two EPs, #MONSANTO (2013)[20] and 2014's #POPPUNK,[21] as well as Live, a 20-minute short film of a live performance.[22] They released their debut album soft rules in 2016.

In 2010, he made an album with Rafael Casal titled The BAY BOY Mixtape. Diggs also founded a hip hop triumvirate with Chinaka Hodge and Casal known as The Getback.[23] The Getback later became a collaborative ensemble composed of Diggs, Hodge, Casal and other artists along with a band formed by drummer Chukwudi Hodge, turntablist Dion Decibels and Max Miller-Logan on trumpet and Keys. Though the band have diversified themselves from their work with the ensemble, they are still known as The GetBack (Get:Band) on Facebook.[24] Two years later, in 2012, he released his first solo rap album, Small Things to a Giant, composed of original music he had written. Both The BAY BOY Mixtape and Small Things to a Giant included other artists in The Getback collective.

He is also a member of Lin-Manuel Miranda and Thomas Kail's freestyle rap group Freestyle Love Supreme, or FLS, which performs across the country.

His rapping has also been featured on tracks by Busdriver, George Watsky, Rafael Casal, and Leslie Odom, Jr., and he wrote and performed a rap number for the 2016 animated film Zootopia.


Diggs has had recurring roles on the series The Get Down, Black-ish, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.[25][26][27]

Diggs served as an executive producer of the ABC series The Mayor. In addition, he wrote original music for it, as well as guest starring on it.[28][29][30] He will also star in the upcoming television adaption of Snowpiercer.[31]

In early 2018, Diggs was featured in several television commercials for the Zelle digital payment service.[32]


Diggs had his Hollywood film debut in the Disney animated film Zootopia, for which he wrote and performed the "Parlez Vous Rap".

Diggs appeared in the 2017 film Wonder, starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson. Diggs played the schoolteacher of the protagonist, a boy with a facial deformity.

Diggs had a voice role in the animated film Ferdinand, in which he played the character Dos.

Alongside his lifelong friend Rafael Casal, Diggs co-wrote, co-produced, and co-starred in the 2018 film Blindspotting, which premiered at Sundance in January 2018. The film was released in the U.S. on July 27, 2018.[33] Diggs plays Collin, a felon living in Oakland, as he tries to get through the last three days of his year-long probation without incident. Diggs and Casal wrote the film over nine years to tell a story about their quickly gentrifying hometown as they knew it.[34] Diggs received critical praise for his performance in the film.[35][36]


2005TemptationDr. Henry FoustkaCustom Made Theatre Company
2006Two RoomsWalker HarrisCustom Made Theatre Company
2006The TempestFerdinand / CalibanSan Francisco Shakespeare Festival
2007Jesus Hopped the 'A' TrainAngel CruzSan Francisco Playhouse
2007Six Degrees of SeparationPaulSan Francisco Playhouse
2008Troilus and CressidaTroilusPacific Repertory Theatre
2010Red Light WinterMattCustom Made Theatre Company
2010Mirrors in Every CornerWattsIntersection for the Arts
2010In the Red and Brown WaterThe EgungunMarin Theatre Company
2011Fabulation, or the Re-Education of UndineFlow Barnes CallesThe Lorraine Hansberry Theatre
2012A Behanding in SpokaneTobySan Francisco Playhouse
2015HamiltonMarquis de Lafayette / Thomas JeffersonThe Public Theater
2015–2016Richard Rodgers Theatre
2019White NoiseLeoThe Public Theater



2010Rock Hard: The Rise and Fall of Sexual DetergentNeil DavisShort film
2012Yoga BonerDaveedShort film
2016ZootopiaN/AWriter and performer: "Parlez-Vous Rap"
2016Growing Up WildNarratorDocumentary
2017WonderMr. Thomas Browne
2017FerdinandDosVoice role
2018BlindspottingCollin HoskinsAlso writer and producer
2019Velvet BuzzsawDamrish
2020SoulPaulVoice role; in production
TBAThe StarlingPost-production


2014Hobbes and MeHobbes8 episodes; web series
2015–2016Law & Order: Special Victims UnitCounselor Henderson2 episodes
2016–2017The Get DownAdult Ezekiel Figuero10 episodes
2016–2018Black-ishJohan Johnson10 episodes
2017Sesame StreetMr. Noodle's BrotherEpisode: "Elmo Comes Clean"
2017Unbreakable Kimmy SchmidtPerry3 episodes
2017Tour de PharmacySlim RobinsonTelevision film
2017The MayorMac EtceteraEpisode: "Pilot"; also executive producer
2018BoJack HorsemanCooper Thomas Rogers Wallace Sr. (voice)Episode: "The Amelia Earhart Story"
2018Bob's BurgersJesse (voice)Episode: "Just One of the Boyz 4 Now for Now"
2019UndoneTunde (voice)4 episodes
2019Green Eggs and HamMouse (voice)Upcoming Netflix series
2020SnowpiercerLayton WellUpcoming series


  • The BAY BOY Mixtape (2010) - collaboration with Rafael Casal

  • Small Things to a Giant (2012)

  • Blindspotting: The Collin EP (2018)

With clipping.

  • Dba118 (2012) - EP

  • midcity (2013)

  • CLPPNG (2014)

  • Wriggle (EP) (2016) - EP

  • REMXNG (2016) - EP

  • Splendor & Misery (2016)

With True Neutral Crew

  • #MONSANTO (2013) - EP

  • #POPPUNK (2014) - EP

  • soft rules (2016)

  • The Monster (2009) - featured on "Running Down" & "Wise Guys"

  • Mean Ones (2012) - additional vocals

  • Hamilton (2015) - original Broadway cast recording

  • Thumbs (2015) - featured on "Surrounded by Millionaires"

  • Good For You (2016) - single; featured rapper

  • Maiden Voyage Suite (2016) - EP by Sir Benedick the Moor; featured on 1200am

  • x Infinity (2016) - featured on Exquisite Corpse


  • midcity promotional concerts (5 shows, in the US and UK, Feb. 19, 2013 - Mar. 18, 2014)

  • CLPPNG Tour (19 shows, in the US and the UK, Jul. 3 - Nov. 10, 2014)

  • #POPPUNK promotional concerts (3 shows, in the US, Jul. 17, 2014 - Jun. 5, 2015)

Awards and nominations

2015Lucille Lortel AwardsOutstanding Featured Actor in a MusicalHamiltonWon
Drama League AwardDistinguished PerformanceNominated
Theatre World AwardOutstanding Debut PerformanceWon
Tony AwardBest Featured Actor in a MusicalWon
Drama League AwardDistinguished PerformanceNominated
Grammy AwardBest Musical Theater AlbumWon
Fred and Adele Astaire AwardBest Male DancerNominated
Broadway.com Audience AwardsFavorite Featured Actor in a MusicalNominated
Favorite Funny PerformanceNominated
Favorite Breakthrough Performance (male)Won
2017Hugo AwardBest Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) (as clipping.)Splendor & MiseryNominated
2018Independent Spirit AwardBest Male LeadBlindspottingNominated


On May 28, 2017, an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree was conferred upon Diggs, during the 249th commencement ceremony at Brown University, his alma mater.[10]


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