To get to his 8th and final show opening Barclays Center, Jay-Z took the subway. The videos of him being a “regular guy” have been well circulated over that last couple of weeks. Perhaps the most “New York” of them all is one documenting Hova sitting next to artist Ellen Grossman. She had no idea that he was famous. The mega-star, who is also a minority owner of the Brooklyn Nets, took it in stride and the video of the resulting conversation between the two has gone viral.
Now that the clip has taken off, “my friends have all gotten in touch with me, and I have a zillion requests to be Facebook friends with people,” said Grossman. Her jealous 12-year-old granddaughter said, “I wish I could hang out with Jay-Z, too.” And yes, she’d definitely be willing to collaborate with Jay, suggesting that maybe her work with chain-link fences would match his aesthetic. “I don’t think I’m capable of altering what I do to tailor to him, but I think there might be some intersection,” she said.
Tanzina Vega writes in the NYT’s Media Decoder:
When I got into the office in the morning, I watched the clip that was embedded in a Gawker post with the headline, “Jay-Z Rides the Subway, Adorably Explains Who He Is to an Adorable Old Lady”
My immediate reaction? That’s no “adorable old lady,” that’s my dear friend Ellen Grossman. In an instant she had gone from being a largely anonymous New York artist, to Ellen Grossman, the Amiable New Yorker Who Asked Jay-Z if He Was Famous as He Was on the Way to Performing at the Barclays Center.
“Jay-Z sat down next to me and I did not recognize him, but everyone was taking his picture. But I thought, because I didn’t recognize him, that it still could have been a flash mob. I know people do fake celebrity stuff. So I said what was on the video ‘Are you famous?’ and he said ‘Yes’ and I believed him. I asked what his name was and he said ‘Jay’ and I didn’t catch that it was Jay-Z and after we were talking for a while I thought ‘He’s pretty famous,’ I noticed his security people and we were in a little bubble because they were around us and then I asked ‘What’s your name again?’ and he said ‘Jay-Z.’ We had a really great conversation, it felt really genuine.”