Brooklyn Mack’s mother fooled him.
You see, Brooklyn wanted to play football. But every time there was a football tryout, somehow, something always "came up." When his school had a field trip to the local ballet, he wasn’t too enthused. But he’d heard that ballet was a useful tool for agility & athleticism in football, so he went.
When he saw the male dancers in action though, he was impressed. So he made a deal with his mother: he’d settle for ballet lessons if she would take him to football tryouts.
He never made football tryouts.
But he did become a principal male dancer for The Washington Ballet.
And back in 2012, he became the first black man to win a senior gold medal at the VARNA - International Ballet Competition, the world’s oldest & most prestigious ballet competition. For reference, Mikhail Baryshnikov is another winner of the same medal.
Not too shabby for a 25-year-old from tiny Elgin, South Carolina.
Brooklyn started ballet at age 12, and his mother knew he had a natural talent. She didn’t tell him until he was already hooked that she too had been a skilled ballet dancer, and although none of his other siblings were interested, she knew that Brooklyn could excel.
And he has. He’s been a featured ballet performer in Venezuela, Latvia, Japan, Bulgaria, Korea, Istanbul, Finland & many other countries around the world. His list of awards is even longer. And in 2015, he starred in the Washington Ballet’s production of "Swan Lake" opposite acclaimed black ballerina Misty Copeland. Their performance was the first time two black ballet dancers had EVER starred in ANY full-length production of "Swan Lake," and they had fought history, exclusion and gravity for the leading roles.