Oakland-born hip-hop artist turned Broadway star Daveed Diggs took home the Tony Award Sunday night for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his performance in the dual roles of the Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson in Hamilton. In his acceptance speech which was nearly upstaged by his crazy, patchwork-sleeved jacket Diggs thanked his parents for always encouraging him to be in the arts, including a time that he did "a gymnastics routine in rainbow tights for a school show," as Bustle reports.
In the video above, backstage just after accepting his award, Diggs talks about how inclusive and diverse this Broadway season is. He also mentions his father and grandfather from Oakland, and how he brought parts of them into his broad and bombastic characterization of Thomas Jefferson. "I have always aspired to be my father," he says. "And I'm not. We're fundamentally very different but I try him on from time to time." He also says that the outfit he chose for the awards ceremony was much like something his dad would have worn back and the day. "And he looks so much better than me tonight it's ridiculous." He adds, "Getting to play a role where I get to take these things that I learned from just trying to walk around like my dad walks around has been so great."
Below, in a clip on the red carpet, Diggs talks about moving to New York from California when Hamilton rehearsals began in early 2015, and how he's blessed to feel accepted in the New York theater community now, which he says "is a real community" and is "alive and vibrant and full of so many wonderful people."
As he told the Wall Street Journal last summer just as Hamilton was moving to Broadway, he gave up on Broadway aspirations long ago, believing that he was probably not a Broadway-appropriate performer. "After years and years of not thinking about it, it showed up," he said. "My 13-year-old self is really excited. I’m cautiously optimistic."