News: 1939 Jay-Z Lookalike Photo "100 Percent" Legit

Monday, May 13, 2013 11:40PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

Days after a 1930's photo surfaced online and drove the Internet into a frenzy over its resemblance to rap mogul Jay-Z, the New York Public Library has stepped forward to clear the air.

While allegations of the photo being altered or even a complete fake continue, the NYPL fully stands behind its authenticity.

Yes, the New York Public Library swears, the old photo of the guy who looks scarily like Jay-Z really is an unretouched, un-Photoshopped image from 1939. "We're 100 percent certain it's legitimate," Adenike Olanrewaju, a library spokeswoman, said on Friday. (NY Times)

In a Tumblr post from last week, the New York Public Library provided some more context on the photo's background.

Was one of Brooklyn's finest in Harlem in 1939? This Sid Grossman photo of "Harlem Loiterers" from the Prints Collection at NYPL's Schomburg Center for Research In Black Culture has created quite a stir since being posted to the Center's Facebook page the other day. Why? Because the man on the right looks a heck of a lot like Jay-Z (for evidence, check out these photos of Jay-Z when he visited The New York Public Library in 2010). Cue Twilight Zone music, right? Schomburg's Curator of Digital Collections Sylviane A. Diouf found the photo while researching an exhibition, and said, "I was immediately struck by the similarity to Jay-Z and actually laughed out loud ... I still hope somebody will tell us who that young man really was." (NYPL Tumblr)

The throwback photo sparked widespread speculation late last week.

Maybe Jay-Z was so interested in working on "The Great Gatsby" because he was around when the story was written. Ok, not likely. But how else can he explain this photo? A black-and-white snap taken in 1933 shows a man sitting on a gate in Harlem, and he bears striking resemblance to the famous rapper. Jay-Z, 43, probably isn't a time traveler, but the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture unearthed the photograph, calling attention to the mystery man sporting a newsboy hat and relaxed, suited demeanor. Initially pointed out by Buzzfeed, the man in the photo isn't too far off from the suave music mogul's style today. (New York Daily News)

Outside of the photo chatter, Young Hov is reportedly keeping busy with his Roc Nation Sports venture.

Jets quarterback Geno Smith could end up having Jay-Z help navigate the concrete jungle where dreams are made of. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Smith has wrapped up two days of meetings with potential successors to Select Sports Group, the agency Smith hired after completing his college career at West Virginia. Making presentations were Joel Segal, Rick Smith of Priority Sports, Eugene Parker, Fletcher Smith, and Jay-Z's Roc Nation agency. (NBC Sports)

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