Jibrizy Taylor is a hip-hop illusionist and magician. The Chicago native discovered magic by watching David Blaine when he was 8 years old, and that was a life-changing moment for the magician-to-be.
He began to fuel his dream by learning tricks, watching the greats. He then started posting videos to Youtube showing off his skills, and that’s when things started to take off. He became the youngest winner of the CW Television Network’s show “Penn & Teller Fool Us.”
Today, Jibrizy has amassed 182,000 followers on Instagram. He dropped by rolling out studios to talk about his craft and how he has become a social media sensation.
What drew you to magic as a career?
I don’t really feel like I chose it, I feel like it chose me. I would die if I couldn’t do magic. … I love it that much. You cannot pull me out of the realm of what I like to do. I’m that dedicated.
Explain how you developed your stage name?
I was in first grade, and I wanted to be a rapper. I was rapping, and I only knew a couple of lines. I needed something that rhymed with Bow Wow and Lil Wayne. I rapped, “My name is Jibrizy/I’m off the heezy/like Bow Weezy and Weezy/I keep it easy.” So I liked that name, and it stuck with me. I convinced other people that they should call me that.
What was the “aha moment” when you realized you were going to be a magician?
I was 12 years old, and something really bad was going on with my body. We found out I had Crohn’s disease, and I couldn’t leave the house. I love doing magic, and I noticed you need an audience to do magic. I said if my life ever becomes better, then I promise to myself, God and everyone around me that I will be the best at this,…that I would not let go and show the world I was chosen for this.
What did your parents think of your wanting to be a magician?
My dad thought it would be a phase. My dad would buy me magic tricks and say, “Son, look at this.” My mom was like, “Oh, my God. Hopefully, this isn’t witchcraft that he’s doing.” My mom and my grandma are slightly religious. For the most part, they were always very supportive of the dream.
How do you use social media to build your audience?
I thought about Jibrizy as a brand. I feel [that] is bigger than a person. I feel bigger than I actually am. I am in this little human body, but I feel like I can be everywhere at once [on social media]. I displayed my talents for the first time by doing a video on YouTube. At the time I had this little camcorder my mom had, but it wasn’t doing much for me. Then I asked the world to donate money to me. It was a thing called TubeStart. I got $1,000 from people around the world who would love to see this young kid make a magic show. I got the camera, and every day I went out in Chicago. Rain, snow, whatever. I didn’t care. I was going to make a magic show. We made the episodes, and we posted them on YouTube. We started to build a fan base from there. I was like documenting my process and journey.
Give some advice to some young people about pursuing their dreams?
The idea that you’re thinking right now is only an idea. … Just do it. Nobody is going to give you a handout. Whatever you plan to do to help the world, make sure you can help them 110 percent. Do not get into something that you’re not passionate about because it’s not gonna help anyone out.