NE Quadrant, Capitol Hill, African American, Harlem Renaissance Era, Music, Showbiz

Andy Razaf
(December 16, 1895 – February 3, 1973)

531 9th St NE, Capitol Hill neighborhood, DC.

American poet, composer and lyricist of such well-known songs as "Ain't Misbehavin'" "Stompin' At the Savoy" and "Honeysuckle Rose," Razaf was born in DC, and named Andriamanantena Paul Razafinkarefo. He was nephew of the queen of Madagasar, and his mother was pregnant with him when she came to the US to escape the French invasion of that country.

Razaf began his career as a lyricist when he was hired as an elevator operator in a Tin Pan Alley office building in New York. He collaborated with such composers as Fats Waller and Eubie Blake, and was the most prolific black lyricist of 20th century popular music.

Razaf also wrote poetry, and his early poems were published in Voice, a Harlem Renaissance-era publication. He was a contributor to Negro World newspaper.

Razaf c. 1935. Photographer unknown. Courtesy Smithsonian Institute.