Woman asks Jay-Z ‘Are you famous?’ in documentary clip
A scene from Jay-Z’s new self-released documentary shows the rapper and entrepreneur displaying a more humble side as he talks to an older woman on a subway train while riding to a concert performance.
“Are you famous?” asks the woman, who introduces herself as Ellen, to which Jay almost sheepishly replies, “Yes,” before adding. “Not very famous, you don’t know me. But I’ll get there some day.”
The encounter was captured in early October, as Jay (real name: Shawn Carter) took the train to the last show of his eight-night opening concert series at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and was included in Where I’m From, a 24-minute documentary chronicling his involvement in the arena’s construction as a part-owner of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets.
“I make music,” Jay explained to Ellen, before telling her the significance of the evening, though not his role with the team.
“Fabulous,” she said. “And you’re going by subway. I’m proud of you.” Once Jay uses his full stage moniker, though, Ellen has a flash of recognition.
“Oh, you’re Jay-Z!” she said. “I know about Jay-Z.”
Jay is scheduled to return to the Barclays stage Dec. 31 for a show with rock group Coldplay.
Update: New York Magazine identified the woman as Ellen Grossman, a Brooklyn native and visual artist, in an interview published Wednesday.
Grossman said that since the clip has become popular online, “my friends have all gotten in touch with me, and I have a zillion requests to be Facebook friends with people.” She also said she occasionally listens to R&B and rap, though she confessed that her knowledge of the genre is limited to “old stuff” like L.L. Cool J and Ice Cube.
Watch Jay’s conversation with Ellen, posted on YouTube Wednesday by user “Tomurotta,” below.