You Might Know Him From BMF and All American, but There's so Much More to Da'Vinchi

Getty | Rodin Eckenroth / Stringer

Da'Vinchi first burst onto the scene in 2018 with his role as Cash Mooney on Freeform's hit series Grown-ish. In the years since, the actor has starred in the CW's All American as Darnell Hayes and worked alongside Ben Affleck in the basketball movie The Way Back. You can currently catch him playing real-life drug kingpin Terry "Southwest T" Flenory in 50 Cent's new Starz series BMF, which is his first role as a series lead. And as if TV shows weren't enough, the actor is making moves on the Broadway stage, too. As a multitalented actor and rapper, Da'Vinchi's star seems like it is only going to continue to rise. Here are some fascinating facts about the up-and-comer so you can get to know him even better before his next project.


He Was a Musician Before He Was an Actor

Before he was an actor, Da'Vinchi was a singer and rapper with dreams of pursuing a music career. "I started off doing music and music segued into acting," he told Talk Nerdy With Us. In college, friends and advisors encouraged him to pursue acting, and he took it as a sign to try. He's since made it his mission to find time for all his creative pursuits, both acting and rapping when he can. He looks up to rap icons like Tupac, the Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z, and Drake, even calling Drake a "living legend."


He Was Discovered Performing at Jay-Z's Mom's Restaurant

When he first began entertaining, Da'Vinchi decided he was going to pursue music first and save money for acting classes to launch his on-screen career. In his early days as a musician, he performed at Diamondz n Da Ruff restaurant in New Jersey, which is owned and operated by Jay-Z's mother, Gloria Carter.

"There was a business manager there who told me I was talented," he recalled about one performance. "He put me in this music showcase and was like, 'I think you should act as well. Whichever one takes off, it will feed the other.'"


Lil Mama Helped Him Launch His Career

Da'Vinchi was performing in that showcase when he caught the attention of Lil Mama, who was opening the show. She told him he was talented, and they became good friends. She introduced him to her manager, and it ended up being "love at first sight" between them.

"She was willing to work with me and take a chance," he said. He quickly secured a contract with an agency after auditioning with a self-tape. "I went back [to New York] and signed. Right after I signed, two weeks later, I booked Marvel's Jessica Jones."


He Can Speak French Creole

Da'Vinchi was born and raised in the US, and he takes pride in his Haitian roots. He's been an outspoken advocate for his Haiti after the devastating earthquake there earlier this year, and he grew up speaking Haitian Creole at home.


He Legally Changed His Name to Da'Vinchi

Da'Vinchi was born Abraham Juste in 1995, but he's since legally changed his first name to Da'Vinchi. He said in a 2018 interview that the inspiration came from none other than Leonardo da Vinci. He admired that da Vinci was known for many different things like philosophy and math, which resonated with him as someone who enjoys music, acting, and other creative pursuits.

"A lot of times in the industry, when people see you as one thing they want to pigeonhole you and keep you there," he said. "There are so many other things that I do. That name is what represents me on a universal level, who I am. That's why I got that name."


He Was Cast on Grown-ish Despite Having Barely Seen Black-ish

Da'Vinchi was cast on Grown-ish as the love interest for lead actress Yara Shahidi. Despite getting to work on the Black-ish spinoff, he was only vaguely familiar with the show before going to film.

"I was not an avid watcher [of Black-ish]. I had probably only watched one episode," he said. "After I got the audition, and when I got the callback, I started watching the latest just so I could get a feel for the show, the direction it was going to go, how they played their comedy and stuff like that. Now, with season four of Black-ish, I watch every episode, because it's hilarious."


After Conquering the Screen, He's Taking on Broadway

Yes, he's mastered on-screen performances and he's got a gift for music, but Da'Vinchi can also add Broadway star to his resumé. The actor earned a role in the show Thoughts of a Colored Man, which began previews on Oct. 1 and became the first new play on Broadway after the pandemic-related shutdown. The show aims to celebrate the lives of Black men in America, and Da'Vinchi wrote in an Instagram post that Broadway "is a different #beast... I have a new level of #respect for the craft."