Born William Jonathan Drayton Jr. in Freeport, Long Island, Flavor Flav broke significant ground as a reality television star. After appearing on the third season of VH1 show The Surreal Life in 2004, his romance with co-star Brigitte Nielsen lead to their own show, Strange Love, and subsequently Flavor Flav’s dating series Flavor of Love. His draw as a reality television star spawned 14 spinoffs.
Flavor Flav’s television credits also include commercials for Pepsi, Miller Lite and Sprint, plus an un-official Doritos commercial he directed and starred in. Additionally, he appeared in roles on The Bernie Mac Show, Larry the Cable Guy’s Christmas Spectacular, Under One Roof, Nite Tales: The Series and animated program YooHoo and Friends.In film, Flavor Flav landed roles in movies, Mo’ Better Blues, New Jack City and Howard Stern biopic Private Parts.
A self-taught musician who plays more than 14 instruments, Flavor Flav and Chuck D formed Public Enemy in the mid 1980s while students at Long Island’s Adelphi University. They caught the attention of Def Jam Records, signed with the label and released their debut Yo! Bum Rush the Show in 1987.
Releasing his first Public Enemy solo single “911 Is a Joke” in 1990, Flavor Flav topped Billboard’s Hot Rap Singles chart with the song from the group’s third album, Fear of a Black Planet. The group that has received six Grammy nominations, has released 13 studio albums, in addition to live, compilation, remix, soundtrack and video sets. Flavor Flav released his self-titled solo debut in 2006.
In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine named Public Enemy one of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time,” distinguishing them as the highest-ranking hip hop act on the list. Public Enemy’s song “Harder Than You Think” was selected as the theme song for the 2012 Paralympics campaign. Public Enemy was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2013, and their song “Say It Like It Really Is” served as the powerful backbeat to the trailer for the Academy Awards nominated film Selma.
Currently, Flavor Flav is working on new music and developing multiple television shows.