I said, “Yes.”
Brett David, aka ‘Daddy Do It All; is aware, very aware of not just what he looks like but the power of what being a walking image is. Before I got a chance to pop the question “Will you Coffee Me?” to him, he asked it of me, making it a first in this new interview series. Of course I said, Yes!
When we meet at La Colombe Coffee, from what I know and see, he’s already had at least one coffee. He’ll have another before we go – iced – and by the end of the day his tally will become the sum of six.
Narrator: The interview will by no means remain here, at the corner window seat in NoHo. For one, ‘Daddy’ is too busy to be this still and besides, no one puts Daddy in a corner.
CDE: Where did you come from?
BD: Parents that are nothing like me.
CDE: Ha! What does that mean?
BD: My father is a war hero that’s cared of needles so no tattoos. He averts his phone, to me and then to his noticeable sleeves. My mom is the most conservative woman on the planet and both have a fear of public speaking that rivals anyone. Then there’s myself.
CDE: A self that I want to know. Talk to me…
BD: I’m the black sheep of the family, I thrive the spotlight between modeling campaigns, films, press opportunities, whatever. I love needs, there’s 140 hours of tattoo art on my body and conservative is not the word I would use to describe me.
CDE: An implausible thought.
BD: My favorite quote from either one of my parents is from my mom. When I was 24, she said I can’t believe my daughter wants to be a cop and my son works at Prada.
Narrator: Brett pulls one of the few copies of the Daily News and shows the mention for his less than a year-old bar – Rochelles – he’s proud. And, then he’s back to his phone.
BD: You don’t mind that I do this, do you? Because, I’m paying attention to you. I’m going to Tokyo soon for this big gig I got, its wild.
Narrator: A woman walks through the door, Brett notices her and comments on how beautiful she is. Then with a second glance, he’s up, realizing that he recognizes her. A few seconds later he’s back at the table, seated at our wooden bench with his phone in his hand.
CDE: Is she a cop?
BD: Right here in New York.
CDE: How many coffees do you have a day?
BD: I drink more coffee a day than alcoholic beverages in a month; six cups a day.
CDE: I’m a whiskey bar operator and I don’t like the taste of alcohol.
Narrator: Bret pauses with his phone and looks at Chérmelle.
BD: I’m a coffee snob. I am a connoisseur. I research coffee. I study it.
Narrator: Brett leans in and is the closest to Chérmelle that he has been during their coffee date. There is a level of intensity, almost dramatic.
BD: I’m willing to spend good money on good coffee; the way people will spend good money on good whiskey.
CDE: I believe you. How often are you here?
BD: I’m here three times a day; I live 3 blocks away.
CDE: Is your coffee ritual a natural habit or a product of being a creative person?
BD: I start off every morning here between 8-9 a.m. with an iced Americano and a croissant and I write a sonnet, it all goes together. Want to hear one?
CDE: Oh, oh, you’re just a bag of tricks.
BD: Wait, wait I want to share one with you.
Narrator: Brett scrolls his phone and then hands it over to Chérmelle.
BD: You know how to read a sonnet?
CDE: I do.
Narrator: Chérmelle reads the sonnet.
CDE: This line in his sonnet really resonates with me, “Listen for your drumroll it’s the one that no one hears.” Full sonnet here.
CDE: A dad who writes sonnets?! I love it. Your style is pretty boss? Share with me your thoughts on style.
BD: Certain things can’t be taught. Excel can be taught, driving can be taught, long division can be taught, and humor can be taught.
Narrator: Daddy looks in the air.
BD: Think about the celebrities who drop their stylists, then go back to wearing sweats – its because they don’t know style. You can only teach so much: a writing is meant to be published, a painting to be hung. If something looks effortless for me, it’s not that I didn’t put in any effort; it’s that I didn’t have to.
CDE: Amen, Daddy, Amen! What’s the one thing you can’t leave home without?
BD: My comb, it costs me 50 cents from the bodega.
CDE: I wouldn’t have known from your Instagram feed that you were a sonnet writer, loved 50 cent combs and weren’t really a ‘daddy’? How much does Instagram play into who you are, in real life?
BD: My Instagram has taken over my life. And, my name, people think it’s about girls. My friend Jay gave that name to me two years ago and it’s kind of taken over my life. But its not about girls or anything, its about who I am.
CDE: Who are you?