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Street Art basics: How to pronounce Jean Michel Basquiat?

Are you a street art lover? Or just an art enthusiast? We are sure that you don’t want to go around pronouncing Jean Michel Basquiat’s name the wrong way. He was a Brooklyn artist but his french name originated from his fahter’s side.

Jean Michel Basquiat’s parents

Jean Michel had strong latin american and caribbean roots. His father was Gérard Basquiat from Haiti and his mother was Matilde Andrades from Puerto Rico. He had three siblings.

Why Jean Michel Basquiat and not Jean Micheal Basquiat or Juan Miguel Basquiat?

Basquiat’s older brother was named Max but he passed away shortly before Jean Michel was born. After that, his parents decided to keep french origin names for the children.

Haiti is a francophone country so it was expected that Basquiat’s first names would be linked to his father’s origins. But it wouldn’t have been a surprise if he was called something in the lines of Juan Miguel or John Michael.

An interesting fact that we found a long the way is that not all the people from Haiti speak French fluently. According to the World Atlas site only a small percent of the population does.

French is the standard written language in Haiti. Despite French being the administrative language in Haiti, only 5 percent of Haitians are fluent in the language. The few people who speak French in Haiti are the elite and well to do Haitians, mainly found in the urban centers.

Basquiat’s decision: Acknowledging his Black roots

Basquiat knew since the beginning what he wanted. He wanted to become “the first Black artist”. He could have decided to stand behind his latin roots or his mixed roots however his vision was clear.

Jean Michel Basquiat’s childhood

He was an outstanding child. When he turned 4 years old he knew how to write and read. When he turned 8 years old he could speak 3 languages: French, Spanish and English.

We started to know about him around 1976. He started to sign his graffittis under the name SAMO (that standed for SAMe Old shit).

Andy Warhol and Jean Michel Basquiat’s relationship

Andy Warhol and Jean Michel Basquiat an unstoppable duo

Basquiat ran into Warhol in a restaurant. Later on, Basquiat had the opportunity to show his work to Warhol, who was delighted by his concepts and qualified his work as Alluring and Mystique.

Warhol treated Basquiat as his son and protegé, he even offered him an appartment on Great Jones street in New York.

Both of them had an amazing relationship. Warhol became Basquiat’s mentor and friend. People that knew them both were amazed by this relationship, because both of them left their paranoias and fears aside.

“He is really funny, he tells a lot of funny jokes”

Jean Michel Basquiat referring to Andy Warhol

Warhol and Basquiat decided to collaborate together. Incredible and invaluable pieces came from the collaborations.

Learn how to pronounce Jean Michel Basquiat

Below you can see how to correctly pronounce his name.

The pronounciation: Jean Michel Basquiat

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