AP Breakthrough Entertainer: Snowfall' star DamsonIdris

Damson Idris has transformed from his British-speaking Nigerian identity to a canny drug kingpin character on FX's crime drama "Snowfall."

AP Breakthrough Entertainer: Snowfall' star DamsonIdris

Idris was a street-minded young entrepreneur named Franklin Saint. He was raised in an upper-class area, but determined to make a living by the drug trade to help the people around him. His popularity has risen exponentially through the four seasons of the critically-acclaimed series.

Actor DamsonIdris poses in Los Angeles for a portrait on November 1, 2021. The Associated Press named Idris one of eight breakout entertainers of the year. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

The Associated Press named Idris one of eight outstanding entertainers of the year. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Idris was also a co-producer for season five, which is due next year. His breakthrough role has landed him many other roles on television shows like "The Twilight Zone", "Black Mirror" and films such as "Farming" as well as Netflix's "Outside the Wire," in which he stars with Anthony Mackie.

Idris stated that "Snowfall" was the foundation of his career. It was created by John Singleton who died in 2019. This series examines the origin of crack cocaine's epidemic in Los Angeles' inner-city neighborhoods in the 1980s.

He said, "Sometimes I talk like I'm already 90 and have seen my career." It's amazing. It's so strange. I believe that people will be talking about (the series) in 40, 50 or 60 years and saying things like, "Oh man, that was that guy and what's he doing now." I think that's quite remarkable. That's why I love the show.

Idris was honored for his career-defining work and has been listed as one of The Associated Press's breakthrough entertainers, alongside Simu Liu, Adrienne Warren and Rauw Alejandro.


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Although he grew up in Peckham in south London, the actor from Nigeria was not aware of the drug epidemic in America until he visited Los Angeles. He saw Skid Row, an area that is populated by homeless people. Singleton did not know that he was from London until he auditioned for the role.

He said that Singleton had given him advice on humility before his rise to fame. This lesson is still a valuable one for him.

He said, "Everyone you meet on your way up, you're also going to meet on your way down." Be kind to everyone. This is something I am learning and mastering right now. I am fortunate to not only be the show's lead, but also to be a young producer. This could mean a lot of ego, and a large head. However, I am actually more friendly to everyone now than ever before. John taught me that. He gave power to people. This is something I strive for. Every day I learn new things."

Idris shared his experiences growing up in Peckham, which helped him understand the struggles of Black people in South Central Los Angeles.

He said that there are many factors that can be correlated: Single fathers and mothers, poverty, drugs to crime, police brutality and racism. I feel that there are many similarities between Black British culture and African American culture in the U.K. My upbringing helped me understand and feel empathy for South Central residents.

Since he was a child, Idris has been doing impersonations as his calling card. He was forced to perform for his family, which unknowingly began his acting career.

"Do you remember when Eddie Murphy's Raw' began and Samuel Jackson said 'That boy got talent? He recalled that it was his upbringing. "I didn’t know what acting was but I was impersonating Martin (Lawrence), in ‘Bad Boys’ to whatever since I was five years old."

Idris, who is 30 years old, is part of a long line British Black actors that have had success in America, including Daniel Kaluuya and David Oyelowo, John Boyega, John Boyega, John Boyega, John Boyega, John Boyega, John Boyega, and Idris Elba. Acting is a part of their culture from an early age, as they go to the theatre when they are babies.

He said, "I believe that when we see you guys on a screen, we are instantly locked into because we feel a relationship." It's a shame that you guys don’t have the chance to see our stuff. Americans often think that Americans are all tea and crumpets when they visit us. I don't. But, that is changing."

Idris stated that he hopes to one day portray Eddie Murphy and Sidney Poitier as actors in the future. He also mentioned that he might become a musician. He stated that next year would be a pivotal year in his career.

He joked that "my career could skyrocket" or "I'm going back home to Peckham." "I'm excited to play a lot of people from the past in 2022 and produce."

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