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Daveed Diggs

Daveed Diggs

American actor and rapper
Daveed Diggs
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American actor and rapper
Is Actor Stage actor Rapper Television actor
From United States of America
Type Film, TV, Stage & Radio Music
Gender male
Birth 24 January 1982, Oakland, Alameda County, California, USA
Age: 38 years
Star sign AquariusAquarius
Brown University
Theatre World Award 2015
Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical 2016
Grammy Award 2018
The details


Daveed Daniele Diggs (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. As of 2020, he stars in the television adaptation of Snowpiercer.

Early life and education

Diggs was born in Oakland, California, the son of Barbara, a social worker, and Dountes Diggs, a bus driver. His mother is Jewish, and his father is African-American. 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.” 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.”

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



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. 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. 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. Diggs played his final performance in the show on July 15, 2016.


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).

Diggs is a member of True Neutral Crew, with Brian Kinsman, Margot Padilla, and Signor Benedick the Moor. The group have released two EPs, #MONSANTO (2013) and 2014's #POPPUNK, as well as Live, a 20-minute short film of a live performance. 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. 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. 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.

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. He currently stars in the television adaption of Snowpiercer.

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


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

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


Year Title Role Location
2005 Temptation Dr. Henry Foustka Custom Made Theatre Company
2006 Two Rooms Walker Harris Custom Made Theatre Company
2006 The Tempest Ferdinand / Caliban San Francisco Shakespeare Festival
2007 Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train Angel Cruz San Francisco Playhouse
2007 Six Degrees of Separation Paul San Francisco Playhouse
2008 Troilus and Cressida Troilus Pacific Repertory Theatre
2010 Red Light Winter Matt Custom Made Theatre Company
2010 Mirrors in Every Corner Watts Intersection for the Arts
2010 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


  • 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

  • Dba118 (2012) - EP
  • midcity (2013)
  • CLPPNG (2014)
  • Wriggle (EP) (2016) - EP
  • REMXNG (2016) - EP
  • Splendor & Misery (2016)
  • There Existed An Addiction To Blood (2019)

With True Neutral Crew

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

Featured artist

  • 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

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.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 03 Jul 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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