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Jordan Coleman

As a kid, Jordan Coleman seemed to be making the most of his own ambitions. But lately, his interests have seemed to become more and more entangled with his dad’s web of influence.


Formerly

  • Undergraduate, American University
  • Voice of Tyrone the Moose, “The Backyardigans”
  • Intern, “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”
  • Creative coordinator, Roc Nation Film Department

Currently

  • Rapper
  • Filmmaker

One of the stranger and most infamous moments in the 2021 mayoral campaign came in June of that year, when amid growing questions about where exactly Eric Adams lived, he and his only son, Jordan Coleman, allowed reporters to inspect Adams’s Bedford Stuyvesant townhome, to prove that Adams did in fact live there. 

The apartment that was toured, however, struck observers as younger man’s bachelor pad; one found photos of Coleman wearing some of the sneakers lined up next to the bed..Some even noted that the fridge did not seem to match the fridge pictured in a photo of Adams’s alleged Bed-Stuy fridge—and plus, why was there salmon in the famously vegan Adams’s fridge? (The animal products, his campaign explained, were Coleman’s, who they said lived in New Jersey but sometimes stayed in Brooklyn.)

Maybe Adams just wanted to have an opportunity to talk about his relationship with his son, who was born in 1996 to Adams and his then-partner, Chrisena Coleman. To a gaggle of reporters outside the apartment, Adams began crying as he admitted that he was absent for Jordan’s football games and birthdays. Jordan, for his part, told the New Yorker that in periods of his dad’s absence, he thought of Adams as more of a “metaphorical father.” 

Jordan seems to have always had his own ambitions. When he was young, he became the voice of Tyrone the Moose in the popular children’s cartoon “The Backyardigans,” and says he used the earnings from the show to fund his first film, “Say it Loud,” in which a 12-year old Jordan interviewed, among others, Kobe Bryant and Michael Strahan about “the importance of education for African American boys.” In high school, he and his mother also directed a movie called “Payin’ The Price,” a “cautionary tale about teen dating violence.”

Still, Jordan has also clearly benefited from having a well-known dad, and is willing to at times reap the benefits of his father’s connections in the worlds of nightlife, business, and entertainment. Jordan worked at a restaurant owned by his dad’s friends, Robert and Zhan Petrosyants, who owned the now-closed Park Slope restaurant Woodland, and opened the mayor’s current  favorite haunt Osteria La Baia. 

In an interview with Complex, Jordan wasn’t shy about sharing the ways his father’s connections have helped his career, saying he jumped at a chance to join a dinner his dad was having with Brett Yormark of Roc Nation, where he later worked (in the film department). “He was the COO at the time, and I asked if I could join him along for dinner,” Coleman said. 

Since his dad’s mayoralty, Jordan’s career has taken some strange turns. He’s now a rapper who goes by the moniker Jayoo, and he put out his debut album, “JORDAN,” in March 2023. (“I ain’t really stuntin’ / I just built this up from nothing” goes one lyric.) And he has continued to turn up in odd places, like in Albania in 2022, when he performed on “Kënga Magjike,” an Albanian music talent show. There, he performed his song “Itsy Bitsy,” a play on the classic kid’s song that begins, “Itsy Bitsy, wanna twerk that ass and shake them titties.” Jordan and his dad did the hand sign for the Albanian flag at Jordan’s album release party in 2023, with the owner of the restaurant that hosted them, Ivi Shano. This fall, Jordan even made and starred in his own zombie movie

Coleman has also inserted himself—or been inserted—into his dad’s political life. Coleman once said that he “vies to be a liaison between City Hall and the New York hip hop scene,” after publicly disagreeing with his dad about Adams’s objections to drill rap

And then there’s Coleman’s mysterious appearance at a March 2023 “community event” in San Francisco, alongside his dad’s Director of Asian Affairs Winnie Greco and Wade Li, president of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of New York, two people linked to a shadowy deal to develop a Chinatown mall. “My son does not get into my business, I do not get into my son’s business,” Mayor Adams said, when asked about what the hell his son was doing across the country with one of his top aides and Li, who in June hosted a fundraiser at which the Chinatown mall’s prospective developers had donated to Adams. In 2022, Coleman performed at a CCCNY event in Chinatown, where he cut a very large red ribbon, rapped in front of a crowd of mostly Chinese immigrants, and posed next to Li. In January of this year, Coleman also performed “4PM in Bergen” from his album at the China General Chamber of Commerce’s Lunar New Year Gala, and was later interviewed glowingly on CGTN, the American division of China’s state television channel. 

How did Coleman meet Greco and Li? Why was he in San Francisco’s Chinatown that day?

We reached out to Coleman via text message to ask him to comment on these excursions, and he answered. The following exchange has been lightly edited for clarity.  

To be clear, are you saying you don’t know Winnie or Wade Li? Did you know that people at the SF event, including Wade Li, were working on obtaining a lease from the Adams administration, and donated to the campaign?
I wasn’t at the SF event for any real estate purpose, so I wouldn’t know any of that. The reason why I went to San Fran was to see what Chinatown looked like on the West Coast for my upcoming film.
Can you tell us any more about the film and what drew you to the topic? You mentioned it’s a narrative film. Is it a fictional story, or a biopic?
It’s a fictional film that follows a kid as he overcomes culture shock and finds himself.
How did you end up performing at the CCCNY and CGCC events in New York?
People heard I released an album earlier in the year from newspapers, and wanted me to perform.
The CCCNY event was in October 2022, before your album came out, right?
Not sure exactly when it was, but I had music out at the time.. I’ve had music on streaming services since 2021.
How did you end up on that Albanian TV Show?
I always wanted to be an international artist, that was my goal. So I always played my music around people who were and were not from the United States. I played a song in front of some family friends and they were convinced I had the capability of being a star internationally. I did research and found the Magic Festival in Albania and bought myself a ticket to compete.
How did your relationship with Ivi Shano come about?
I went to Sei Less for French Montana’s album release some time ago, and I loved the spot ever since. After going a couple times, I met Ivi and we talked about me performing in Albania. I knew a few words in Albanian and we became friends just like that. He always gave words of encouragement because he understood my dream of being an international artist.
How did your relationship with Robert and Zhan Petrosyant come about?
I used to work for Robert and Zhan during my days of grad school. I was a busboy cleaning dirty dishes and refilling waters.
What would you say to New Yorkers who might look at all these connections—that you were at a dinner with people who want something tangible from your dad, for instance—and think that something fishy is going on?
I don’t have anything to say to New Yorkers thinking something is fishy, because I don’t know anything of that business. I am a rapper and filmmaker, always have been. Real estate doesn’t have anything to do with me, nor does my dad’s political agenda. We work in different worlds.
Do you ever suspect that you’re given opportunities because of who your dad is?
No, that makes no sense.

Last updated: 12/18/2023

 

Worked for

Jay-Z

Jay-Z is a billionaire who wants things billionaires want—like a license to build a casino.

Attended an event in San Francisco with

Winnie Greco

Winnie Greco connected the Chinese business community to the future mayor. In return, he promised to build an arch.

Worked for

Robert and Zhan Petrosyants

Fun-loving twins who play host to the mayor at their trendy Italian eatery.

Jay-Z

Jay-Z is a billionaire who wants things billionaires want—like a license to build a casino.

Winnie Greco

Winnie Greco connected the Chinese business community to the future mayor. In return, he promised to build an arch.

Robert and Zhan Petrosyants

Fun-loving twins who play host to the mayor at their trendy Italian eatery.

Sylvia Cowan

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