During an interview with Complex — whose March 2023 digital cover he’s the star of — the British actor revealed he called in a favor from Hov to sponsor his green card application.
Idris — who’s best known for his role as Franklin Saint in hit FX series Snowfall — showed his gratitude to the Roc Nation boss and encouraged others to follow suit for all the strings he pulls behind the scenes to benefit Black creatives.
“He didn’t offer that up! I had to ask,” he said. “But he’s done many things for me over the years, he’s always supported me. He supports everyone. He supports so many people that you don’t even know.
“Genuinely, I should tell everyone this right now: if you ever run into JAY-Z, just say thank you and keep it moving. Because he is definitely a pioneer of the culture, but of everything. And I’ve never told him this, but he’s a huge idol of mine. Thank you for that reference.”
“I won’t tell you how it happened ’cause there’s a couple more favors that I’m gonna need in the future,” Idris joked, “but yeah, he hooked me up with that. Rich Paul did too. Tommy Schlamme, Eric Schrier — a bunch people hooked me up. They’re people who just believe in me, believe this journey that I’m on and I’m gonna repay the favor to the people coming behind me, too.”
JAY-Z and Damson Idris have struck up a friendship in recent years, with the pair being spotted hanging out at the Super Bowl, an Oscars party and the coveted Roc Nation brunch alongside a host of other A-list names.
In an interview with Good Morning America in 2021, the 31-year-old London native shared a hilarious story about the time Hov roasted him for appearing shirtless on a Zoom call.
Idris explained that he received a notice to join a Zoom call celebrating JAY-Z’s close friend, Lenny “Kodak Lens” Santiago’s birthday. However, the actor didn’t know what Zoom was at the time, so he expected only a handful of people like on a Skype call.
“I jump on the Zoom and immediately everyone’s laughing because I’m topless,” he said. “I thought there were going to be four people there and it’s literally 40 people there. I hear a distinctive voice, and the voice is like, ‘Hey man, this man on here topless with his nipples out and he got the gray headboard. Yo, who’s in charge of this Zoom? Yo Schaffer, you in charge of this Zoom? Yeah, you see that guy Damson, kick him out.”
After realizing the voice belonged to JAY-Z, and other celebrities like Meek Mill, Tiffany Haddish, Kevin Hart, Dave Chappelle and Michael B. Jordan were also on the call, Idris did a bit of quick thinking on his part and tried to play off his topless look.
“I’m like, ‘Hey guys, you know it’s late in London, let me just get a hoodie. I was going to bed, you know how it is,’” Idris said. However, that only worsened Jay’s roasting.
“‘So you wear a hoodie to bed?'” Idris continued, imitating Jay’s voice. “‘OK, well, you know, you busy like you said. You in London, so obviously, you know it’s Lenny’s birthday, so why don’t you give your little speech and be on your way?'”