Daveed Diggs

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Daveed Diggs
Daveed Diggs, 82nd Drama League Awards, May 2016.jpg
Diggs at the 82nd Annual Drama League Awards in 2016
Daveed Daniele Diggs

(1982-01-24) January 24, 1982 (age 38)
Alma materBrown University (BA)
  • Actor
  • rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
Years active2006–present
Musical career
Associated acts

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, he played a recurring role in the television series Black-ish (2016–2018) and co-starred in the films Wonder (2017) and Velvet Buzzsaw (2019). 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] As of 2020, he stars in the television adaptation of Snowpiercer.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Diggs was born in Oakland, California, the son of Barbara, a social worker, and Dountes Diggs, a bus driver.[5][6][7] His mother is Jewish,[8] and his father is African-American.[8] 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.”[8] His parents' ethnic and 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.”[9]

Diggs is an alumnus of Berkeley High School and Brown University, where he graduated in 2004 with a bachelor's degree[10] in theatre arts.[11] 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.[12][13] After graduating, he worked as a substitute teacher.[14]



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.[15][16] 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 prospective 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.[17] 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.[18] Diggs played his final performance in the show on July 15, 2016.[19]


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).[20]

Diggs is a member of True Neutral Crew, with Brian Kinsman, Margot Padilla, and Signor Benedick the Moor.[21] The group have released two EPs, #MONSANTO (2013)[22][better source needed] and 2014's #POPPUNK,[23] as well as Live, a 20-minute short film of a live performance.[24] 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.[25] 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.[26] 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.[27][28][29] He also appeared in an episode of Law & Order: SVU.

Diggs served as an executive producer of the 2017 ABC series The Mayor. In addition, he wrote original music for it, as well as guest starring on it.[30][31][32] Starting in early 2017, Diggs played one of Mr. Noodle's brothers, Mr. Noodle, in the "Elmo's World" segment of Sesame Street.[33]

In early 2018, Diggs was featured in several television commercials for the Zelle digital payment service.[34]

In 2020, he began starring in the TNT television adaption of Snowpiercer.[35]


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 2017 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. He received the Atlanta Film Festival's inaugural Innovator Award in April, prior to the film's theatrical release on July 27, 2018.[36] 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.[37] Diggs received critical praise for his performance in the film.[38][39]

Diggs is currently set to voice Sebastian in Disney's live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.[40] The film will reunite Diggs with Lin-Manuel Miranda, who co-wrote new songs for the film.[40]

Personal life[edit]

Diggs is in a relationship with Emmy Raver-Lampman, whom he met in 2015 on the set of Hamilton.[41]


Year Title Role Venue
2005 Temptation Dr. Henry Foustka Custom Made Theatre Company
2006 Two Rooms Walker Harris Custom Made Theatre Company
The Tempest Ferdinand / Caliban San Francisco Shakespeare Festival
2007 Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train Angel Cruz San Francisco Playhouse
Six Degrees of Separation Paul San Francisco Playhouse
2008 Troilus and Cressida Troilus Pacific Repertory Theatre
2009 A Civil War Christmas Various ensemble roles TheatreWorks Silicon Valley
2010 Red Light Winter Matt Custom Made Theatre Company
Mirrors in Every Corner Watts Intersection for the Arts
In the Red and Brown Water The Egungun Marin Theatre Company
2011 Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine Flow Barnes Calles The Lorraine Hansberry Theatre
2012 A Behanding in Spokane Toby San Francisco Playhouse
2015 Hamilton Marquis de Lafayette / Thomas Jefferson The Public Theater
2015–2016 Richard Rodgers Theatre
2019 White Noise Leo The Public Theater
Freestyle Love Supreme "Mr. Diggs"/Himself (select performances) Booth Theatre



Year Title Role Notes
2010 Rock Hard: The Rise and Fall of Sexual Detergent Neil Davis Short film
2012 Yoga Boner Daveed Short film
2016 Zootopia N/A Writer and performer: "Parlez-Vous Rap"
2016 Growing Up Wild Narrator Documentary
2017 Wonder Mr. Thomas Browne
2017 Ferdinand Dos Voice role
2018 Blindspotting Collin Hoskins Also writer and producer
2019 Velvet Buzzsaw Damrish
2020 Hamilton Marquis de Lafayette / Thomas Jefferson Filmed recording of Broadway musical in 2016
2020 Soul Paul Voice role; in production
TBA The Starling Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
2014 Hobbes and Me Hobbes 8 episodes; web series
2015–2016 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Counselor Henderson 2 episodes
2016–2017 The Get Down Adult Ezekiel Figuero 10 episodes
2016–2018 Black-ish Johan Johnson 10 episodes
2017 Sesame Street Mr. Noodle's Brother Episode: "Elmo Comes Clean"
2017 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Perry 3 episodes
2017 Tour de Pharmacy Slim Robinson Television film
2017 The Mayor Mac Etcetera Episode: "Pilot"; also executive producer
2018 BoJack Horseman Cooper Thomas Rogers Wallace Sr. (voice) Episode: "The Amelia Earhart Story"
2018–2020 Bob's Burgers Jesse / Douglas (voice) 2 episodes
2019 Undone Tunde (voice / rotoscoped motion capture) 6 episodes
2019 Green Eggs and Ham Mouse (voice) Episode: "Mouse", cameo
2019–2020 Star Wars Resistance Norath Kev (voice) 4 episodes
2020–present Snowpiercer Andre Layton Lead role
2020–present Central Park Helen (voice) Series regular
2020 The Good Lord Bird Frederick Douglass Upcoming miniseries


  • The BAY BOY Mixtape (2010) - collaboration with Rafael Casal
  • Small Things to a Giant (2012)
  • Blindspotting: The Collin EP (2018)
  • Seven Nights in Chicago (2019) - collaboration with Rafael Casal

With clipping.[edit]

With True Neutral Crew[edit]

  • #MONSANTO (2013) - EP
  • #POPPUNK (2014) - EP
  • soft rules (2016)

Featured artist[edit]

  • 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[edit]

Year Category Work Result
2015 Lucille Lortel Awards Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Hamilton Won
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Nominated
Theatre World Award Outstanding Debut Performance Won
Tony Award Best Featured Actor in a Musical Won
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Nominated
Grammy Award Best Musical Theater Album Won
Fred and Adele Astaire Award Best Male Dancer Nominated
Broadway.com Audience Awards Favorite Featured Actor in a Musical Nominated
Favorite Funny Performance Nominated
Favorite Breakthrough Performance (male) Won
2017 Hugo Award Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) (as clipping.) Splendor & Misery Nominated
2018 Atlanta Film Festival Innovator Award Blindspotting Won
Independent Spirit Award Best Male Lead Nominated


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.[11]


  1. ^ "Daveed Diggs Theatre Credits and Profile".
  2. ^ Erbland, Kate (November 16, 2018). "2019 Independent Spirit Awards Nominees, 'Eighth Grade' & 'We the Animals' Lead". IndieWire. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  3. ^ Robinson, Lisa (November 29, 2016). "How Hamilton Changed Daveed Diggs's Life (and Preferred Mode of Transportation)". Vanity Fair. Retrieved May 13, 2018.
  4. ^ Rosen, Christopher (May 17, 2017). "Hamilton star Daveed Diggs to lead Snowpiercer show". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on May 19, 2017.
  5. ^ "Daveed Diggs leaps to Broadway stardom in 'Hamilton'". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016.
  6. ^ Bloom, Nate (May 12, 2016). "celebrity Jews".
  7. ^ Brunner, Jeryl. "Daveed Diggs OfWashington' On His Greatest Life Lessons". Forbes.
  8. ^ a b c Hoffman, Barbara (July 18, 2015). "'I went from couch-surfing to starring on Broadway'". New York Post. Archived from the original on August 8, 2015.
  9. ^ Henderson, Kathy. "Daveed Diggs on His Hebrew School Roots, Meeting Crazy Celebrities & Getting His Shot on Broadway in Hamilton". Broadway.com. Archived from the original on February 1, 2016.
  10. ^ Departments & Degree Programs Brown University. 2017. Retrieved May 28, 2017
  11. ^ a b Brown to confer six honorary degrees O'rya Hyde-Keller. Brown University. April 20, 2017. Retrieved May 28, 2017
  12. ^ Raman, Sheela (September 22, 2004). "Senior profile: Daveed Diggs". Brown Daily Herald. Archived from the original on May 13, 2016. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  13. ^ "Daveed Diggs was a track star at Brown University. Now he's a rap star in Hamilton on Broadway". The Boston Globe. February 17, 2016. Archived from the original on February 24, 2016.
  14. ^ Before Starring on Broadway in Hamilton, Daveed Diggs worked at Pier 1 Imports, retrieved November 14, 2019
  15. ^ "Word Becomes Flesh". Living Word Project. Archived from the original on January 30, 2016.
  16. ^ "Daveed Diggs". Playbill. Archived from the original on May 6, 2016. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  17. ^ theneedledrop (April 3, 2016), TND Podcast #44 ft. Daveed Diggs, retrieved April 3, 2016
  18. ^ Plitt, Amy; Reilly, Phoebe (June 13, 2016). "20 Best, Worst and WTF Moments at 2016 Tony Awards". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on June 20, 2016. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
  19. ^ Viagas, Robert. "Daveed Diggs' Post-Hamilton Plate Starts to Fill Up - Playbill". Playbill.
  20. ^ "2018 Hugo Awards". The Hugo Awards. March 15, 2018. Retrieved May 6, 2018.
  21. ^ Miserachi, Raquel (May 15, 2014). "TRUE NEUTRAL CREW: #POPPUNK". Noisey. VICE. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  22. ^ Fantano, Anthony (September 9, 2013). "True Neutral Crew - #MONSANTO". The Needle Drop. Archived from the original on June 29, 2016. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  23. ^ Tucker, Simon (July 9, 2014). "True Neutral Crew: #POPPUNK – album review". Louder Than War. Archived from the original on July 1, 2016. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  24. ^ "Watch This: True Neutral Crew Release 20 Minute Short Film Of Themselves Playing Live". Louder Than War. November 14, 2014. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  25. ^ "Getbackers". daveeddiggs.tumblr.com.
  26. ^ "The GetBack (Get:Band)". www.facebook.com.
  27. ^ "7 Things We Learned at Baz Luhrmann's 'Get Down' Talk". Rolling Stone. April 25, 2016. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  28. ^ Ryan, Maureen (July 20, 2016). "Daveed Diggs of 'Hamilton' Joins 'Black-ish' Family in Season 3 (EXCLUSIVE)".
  29. ^ "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt season 3's best new guest stars, from Daveed Diggs to Beyoncé (kinda)".
  30. ^ Otterson, Joe (August 6, 2017). "'The Mayor' Creator Explains How Chance the Rapper Inspired ABC Comedy Series".
  31. ^ "Daveed Diggs gives scoop on new ABC series".
  32. ^ "(#101) "Pilot"". The Futon Critic. Retrieved September 18, 2017.
  33. ^ Steinberg, Brian (October 17, 2016). "'Sesame Street' Will Revive 'Elmo's World'". Variety. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  34. ^ Surane, Jennifer (February 2, 2018). "'Banks Hire Rapping Broadway Star to Give Venmo Run for Its Money".
  35. ^ Rosen, Christopher (May 17, 2017). "Hamilton star Daveed Diggs to lead Snowpiercer show". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on May 19, 2017.
  36. ^ "First trailer for Blindspotting starring Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal". Flickering Myth. April 20, 2018. Retrieved May 6, 2018.
  37. ^ Los Angeles Times (January 19, 2018), Sundance 2018: Blindspotting cast talk about their love of Oakland | Los Angeles Times, retrieved May 6, 2018
  38. ^ Kohn, Eric (January 19, 2018). "'Blindspotting' Review: Daveed Diggs Is an Instant Movie Star in Intense, Uneven Oakland Buddy Movie — Sundance 2018". IndieWire. Retrieved May 6, 2018.
  39. ^ "Blindspotting Review: Daveed Diggs is About to Become a Star". /Film. January 19, 2018. Retrieved May 6, 2018.
  40. ^ a b 'Little Mermaid' Live-Action Remake Finds Its Prince Eric in Jonah Hauer-King
  41. ^ Stein, Michelle (May 14, 2020). "'Daveed Diggs' Partner Was Aslo in 'Hamilton,' but Who Is She?".

External links[edit]