Actor Daveed Diggs Talks ‘Black-ish’ and Life after ‘Hamilton’ Fame


Daveed Diggs, he gets the job done.

Just a few short months after leaving Broadway’s smash hip-hopera Hamilton and winning a Tony Award for best featured actor in a musical, the actor/rapper has lined up roles in Andy Samberg’s film mockumentary Tour de Pharmacy and next year’s Wonder, with Jacob Tremblay. But first he has a multi-episode arc on ABC’s Black-ish (Wednesdays, 9:30 ET/PT) as the pretentious Johan, who moves in with sister Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross) and the Johnson family, beginning with this week’s episode.

Diggs, 34, has been a fan of the Kenya Barris sitcom since its 2014 premiere, he says, because it doesn’t “pull any punches in terms of, ‘How black is too black? What is too touchy of an issue?’ It represents the diversity of the black experience in a way that we don’t get to see very often on television.” He spoke with USA TODAY about his aimless Black-ish character and life after Hamilton:

Q: How would you describe Johan?

A: He’s a guy who’s comfortable in his own skin. He’s oblivious to criticism and cares about issues, but he’s maybe not the most informed about them.

Q: What’s his relationship like with Dre (Anthony Anderson)?

A: They find ways to respect each other occasionally, but they’re approaching life from very different places. It’s difficult for them to be in the same house, because Dre is hyper-aware of the influence Johan is having on his kids. They would raise children very differently, if left to their own devices.

Q: Does he bond with any of the Johnson kids in particular?

A: Jack (Miles Brown) really looks up to him in an interesting way. Diane (Marsai Martin) does not trust him at all.

Q: Is there one episode or story line you’re most excited for people to see?

A: I’m excited to have another person in the house on Rainbow’s side. (I) always really identify with Rainbow when I watch the show, because we had similar hippie upbringings. I’m from the Bay Area, so I know a lot about granola. But she’s always the one whose ideas are being brushed aside as crazy, so what’s nice about Johan being there is that it makes the fight a little more even.

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Source: USA Today | Patrick Ryan