Twice the world yo-yo champion, BLACK mixes dance, sport and performance to create unforgettable yo-yo moments.

Why you should listen

At 14, BLACK picked up his first yo-yo. Initially he couldn't do even the easiest trick -- but after one week of practicing, he realized: I could be good at this. Very good. Four years later (and 10,000 hours of practicing), he took the title of 2001 world champion. And then ... he gave it up. Went to school, got a job. But he missed the passion of performing. He realized: "I want to do this: Entertain, and bring excitement and joy to people with the yo-yo."

Returning to competition after six years, he won the 2007 World Yo-Yo Contest in the artistic performance category. After that, he started dance and acrobatic training to create a new form of performing and art. Imagine a yo-yo performance graceful and thrilling enough to pass the audition for Cirque du Soleil ... while being fast and precise enough to pull a tablecloth out from under a stack of champagne glasses!

What others say

“You can really feel his love and passion for performing through his act.” — ExAzrael on

BLACK’s TED talk

More news and ideas from BLACK

TED Prize

Black Lives Matter: A playlist of powerful StoryCorps interviews

August 26, 2015

Ghetto Life 101 changed my life. I started working on this radio documentary 25 years ago — I gave tape recorders to two kids growing up in the Ida B. Wells Homes in Chicago, one of the most notorious public housing projects in America, and asked them to document a week in their lives. LeAlan […]

Continue reading

A picture that rendered me speechless, snapped at TED2015

June 25, 2015

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This picture was worth all the words I had — it rendered me speechless. It’s an image of six Black women, smiling and hugging, taken by Ryan Lash at the TED2015 conference. There we were —  LaToya, Somi, Aomawa, Camille, Danielle and myself — in all […]

Continue reading

Yo-yo artist BLACK performs with Cirque du Soleil

September 11, 2013

Yo-yo master BLACK, who gave a rousing demonstration of his skills at TED2013 along with a moving talk about how the yo-yo helped him transcend low self-esteem, writes to tell us that he’s finally fulfilled a dream that he shared onstage: Earlier this month, he performed at a one-day Cirque du Soleil event. “Finally, I performed […]

Continue reading