When Ellen Grossman got on the subway in New York City, she wasn't surrounded by mobs of fans and flashing phones -- but the man who sat down beside her was. That man was Jay-Z, and Grossman had no idea.
Grossman's interaction with the world-famous rapper interaction was caught on camera, as Jay-Z was filming "Where I'm From," a documentary about his eight-night string of performances at Brooklyn's Barclays Center. The 43-year-old Jay-Z explained to Grossman that he made music, was on his way to the last of eight shows, and wasn't all that famous yet. In response, Grossman said she was proud of him for taking the subway.
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What doesn't come across in the video is that Grossman is a bit of a star herself, having built a celebrated career as a Brooklyn-born visual artist. (Check out some of her work here.) When the Jay-Z video went viral this week, many Internet users recognized Grossman immediately.
"The woman is Ellen Grossman, an artist. What Jay-Z got, everyone gets from her. Pure sweetness," wrote one Gawker user.
"Its funny, the conversation could have gone the other way. 'I'm Ellen, I paint. I travel by subway. I'm going to an opening,'" added another.
"She's really one of the coolest artists out right now. She has been for a while. This is the coolest coincidence I've seen in all of my days," said one Reddit user.
"The title of this article should read: 'Jay-Z: Musician Had No Clue Who Ellen Grossman Was, On The NYC Subway,'" another commenter wrote on International Business Times.
The famous rapper, producer, husband of Beyoncé and father of Blue Ivy celebrated his 43rd birthday on Tuesday, and though he didn't release an album, it has certainly been a headline-grabbing year. In 2012 alone, Jay-Z became a father, was a major supporter of Barack Obama's presidential campaign, became the co-owner of the new Brooklyn Nets NBA team, and will curate the soundtrack for Baz Luhrmann's highly-anticipated remake of "The Great Gatsby."
To Grossman's credit, she did recognize his name.
"Oh you're Jay-Z! I know about Jay-Z," she said, laughing.