Beyond the Streets

Fab 5 Freddy

New York City

Fred Brathwaite (Fab 5 Freddy) is a visual artist, filmmaker and hip hop pioneer. As a member of the Brooklyn-based graffiti group the Fabulous 5, Fab 5 Freddy made a name for himself in 1979 when he and fellow Fabulous 5 member Lee Quiñones became the first writers to exhibit work abroad at the Galleria Medusa in Rome. A year later he would paint giant Campbell’s Soup cans on a subway train, emulating Andy Warhol’s imagery. He and LEE were cast in the film New York Beat (Downtown 81) and in 1981 both were featured in Blondie’s music video for the song “Rapture.” He co-curated the Beyond Words show at the legendary Mudd Club, co-produced the film Wild Style with Charlie Ahearn, and later hosted the first internationally-broadcasted hip hop show, Yo! MTV Raps. He has since directed numerous music videos, invested in hip hop-related business, and written much on the subject of his passion, dedicating his life’s work to the cultures of hip hop and graffiti. Fab 5 Freddy will forever be considered pivotal to the linking of New York’s nascent downtown art, punk rock, graffiti and hip hop scenes.

Kilroy