Daveed Baptiste

The up-and-coming photographer on seeking validation, the power of youth programs, and surprise second chances.


This Conversation originally appeared in Volume Four of our print magazine. You can pick up a copy here or at a stockist near you. We’re also happy to report that it was recently announced that Daveed’s work will be included in the Aperture Foundation’s “The New Black Vanguard” exhibition beginning October 24th.

I was born in Haiti, in Port-au-Prince. But I came to Miami when I was about six years old. I remember kissing my mom goodbye at the airport. She had this bright, plastic-red lipstick. I remember her giving me a kiss, and I remember feeling that kiss years later. It was the last time I saw her for a long time. 

When we came here, it was just me, my two siblings—my older brother and my sister—and my father. Our father worked in import/export—buying merchandise here and then going back to Haiti—so we never really saw him. He was kind of dipping. At a certain point, we started to raise ourselves. But I learned how to cook from my father. My mom just came here two years ago, so this is her second summer in New York. It’s my first time living with her since I was six. Now I come home to the shit that you were supposed to get as a child. I’m getting it in my twenties, which I think is when you actually need it the most.