Hip-hop pioneer Fred Brathwaite AKA Fab 5 Freddy’s stellar 2019 continues with the announcement that his acclaimed BBC documentary — A Fresh Guide To Florence With Fab 5 Freddy, which debuted in the UK this past weekend — will be coming to the US this fall. The documentary follows Fab 5 Freddy as he embarks on a quest to uncover the hidden black figures of Italian Renaissance art.
“Not only were Renaissance artists making art that defined high aesthetic ideals,” says Fab, “but they were also ground breaking in showing an ethnically diverse, racially mixed Italy in the 15th and 16th century. You just have to look at the art.”
In this revelatory documentary, the hip hop legend and art lover saddles up to examine 15th and 16th century Italian Renaissance art in 15th century style – on horseback. Amidst superstar artists such as Michelangelo and powerful patrons such as the Medicis, Fab discovers ground-breaking images of a multi-racial and multi-ethnic society that have slipped through the cracks of art history. In a 5-star review, The Financial Times says Fab “visits Florence to insouciantly blow the dust off art history” and The Guardian says that he is “on terrific form.”
A Fresh Guide is just another chapter in the incredible year for Fab 5 Freddy. He released the highly praised 4/20 Netflix documentary Grass Is Greener, which traces the history of cannabis in America and its relationship to people of color. The film takes an unparalleled look at the history of cannabis usage in America through the lens of popular forms of music — jazz, reggae, and hip hop — while also examining the racial disparities and injustices within that world. The film has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and just was named to the UK-based Grierson Awards shortlist for Best Single Documentary (International).
Also in April, Fab served as the creative director for Contact High, a new exhibit at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles. The exhibit — which runs through August 18 — includes of 140 works from 60 photographers, including iconic and unseen portraits of Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West. Read more about the exhibit over at Newsweek: https://bit.ly/2ymvPdV
In May, Fab donated his sizable personal archive to The New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. His contribution of over 120 boxes of personal items provide a rare glimpse into the early days of hip-hop, chronicling its development and inspiration, and revealing the creative processes, personal relationships, and business savvy that allowed Fab 5 Freddy to help transform the genre from a marginalized subculture into a mainstream and global cultural phenomenon.