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‘Snowfall’ Star Damson Idris’s Parents & How They Influenced His Approach to Life

Oyin Balogun
Apr 08, 2022
08:45 A.M.
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Damson Idris has spent the last five years portraying the horrible realities of growing up as a young black boy on both sides of the Atlantic in the hit series "Snowfall." Away from the screen, Idris shares a close bond with his family.

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Damson Idris is a young but talented actor from Peckham, London, but his life changed in 2015 when he landed a huge TV audition in Los Angeles. The actor had only a few acting credits to his name, but "Snowfall" was about to change his life.

Idris's breakthrough moment was playing Franklin Saint, a bright youngster from South Central Los Angeles in the 1980s who emerged as a drug kingpin just as the city was on the verge of a crack cocaine pandemic. 

A picture of "Snowfall" Actor Damson Idris | Source: Getty Images

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Reports emerged that almost every young black actor was desperate to be cast in John Singleton's brainchild, "Snowfall," but for Idris, it was a role he had long envisioned as his.

However, things didn't start all rosy in the series. The "Snowfall" pilot was shot, and the network, FX, rejected it. FX asked that the script be revised and all characters except Idris be replaced. 

Half a decade later, "Snowfall" is one of FX's most successful series. The show has gained thousands of viewers and is currently in its fifth season. Idris, now 30, has emerged as one of the most prominent young Black actors.

Damson Idris attends the ESSENCE 15th Anniversary Black Women In Hollywood Awards highlighting "The Black Cinematic Universe" at Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel on March 24, 2022 | Source: Getty Images

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Idris has long moved out of his mother's house and has fully embraced life as a Hollywood golden boy, enjoying as much sunshine as he could possibly grab.

However, everything seems too fast for him. Idris confessed that he is still settling into life as a famous movie star and sometimes thinks he is mistaken for another black actor. 

Playing Franklin on the show is an experience Idris can relate to, having been raised by a single Nigerian mother in the tough neighborhood of Peckham, often considered one of the most deprived areas of Europe.

IDRIS'S BIGGEST INSPIRATION IS HIS MOTHER

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Idris is the youngest of six children raised by his mother, Philippa. The actor cites his mother as one of his biggest influences. In addition, the "Snowfall" star credits Phillippa as the inspiration for his love of fashion. 

He once said, "But I've always loved fashion and it's because of my mum. When I was five, six years old, she would dress me up in three-piece golden suits with these black shiny leather church shoes with the gold buckle. And all my friends are wearing tracksuits and hats. I used to be so jealous."

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Idris also associates the bulk of his success with his faith in God which the actor claimed was inspired by his mom. He said,

"Every single morning, I get on my knees, and I thank God for everything I've accomplished, something my mum instilled in me I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Him."

MAKING HIS MOST DIFFICULT SCENE IN "SNOWFALL"

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"Snowfall" undoubtedly brings to life an experience most black kids can relate to. Due to this, the show quickly captured the attention of global stars such as P. Diddy, Naomi Campbell, Seal, and Mary J after its first season.

"Snowfall's" increasing popularity is all thanks to Idris's perfect interpretation of his role. Idris's talents led iconic director Singleton to compare him with another Hollywood great, Denzel Washington.

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Filming "Snowfall" was not smooth sailing. The show sometimes brought back old memories of his relationship with his father, which he said was an experience most black kids could relate to. Speaking to Men's Health about the most challenging scene to play, Idris said,

"The hardest scene to film was when Franklin was in prison and had to confront Alton and Cissy through the mirror. I was so deep in it, and my relationship with my father bled into the scene."

Although the show has been snubbed by some of the most significant industry awards, Idris believes that "Snowfall" has played its part in people's lives, and that's enough prize for him. 

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PLANS FOR FATHERHOOD

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Although Idris is working hard to show the world how much of a grown man he has become, he is not ready to take up some serious roles like fatherhood. The actor hopes to be a father someday but is not ready to make the sacrifices family life demands.

The "Astral" actor plans to enjoy the freedom of being a single celebrity, gracing Oscars. However, when the time is right, Idris plans to embrace fatherhood with an open heart.

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