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Fab 5 Freddy

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Fred Brathwaite (born 1960), more popularly known as Fab 5 Freddy, is an American Hip hop historian, Hip hop pioneer and former graffiti artist. He was active in New York City in the 1970s and early 1980s. He is credited with helping to broaden the exposure of Hip-hop beyond The Bronx.

In late-1980, Freddy was cast along with fellow Lower East Side graffiti writer Lee Quinones in Glen O’Brien’s film Downtown 81 (1981). That film showcased artist Jean-Michel Basquiat in his Lower Manhattan environment and the music that surrounded it. Shortly after, Freddy began production along with filmmaker Charlie Ahearn on his film Wild Style (1982), which showcased artist Lee Quinones in the Uptown, Manhattan environment of the Bronx and the music that surrounded it. In April 1981, Freddy was booked on Michael Holman and Keith Haring’s art show “Beyond Words” at the Mudd Club, which also featured Afrika Bambaataa. This was the first time the Bronx hip-hop scene appeared in the Downtown NYC art-scene. The following month, Freddy was booked on Henry Chalfant’s “Graffiti Rock” performance with Rock Steady Crew at Common Ground gallery in SoHo (not to be confused with Holman’s Graffiti Rock TV show pilot). That show was cancelled due to violence, but was rescheduled in October at another venue called “The Kitchen”. After the Rock Steady Crew and Afrika Bambaataa were booked as the opening act for Bow Wow Wow at The Ritz nightclub in September 1981, Ruza Blue decided to book them at Negril and begin a night called “Wheels of Steel”.

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