Meet Ringling Bros.' 1st Black Ringmaster

At TheBurtonWire, Christopher A. Daniel explores the exciting life of Johnathan Lee Iverson, Ringling Bros.' first black ringmaster.

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Johnathan Lee Iverson (theburtonwire.com)

Christopher A. Daniel writes at TheBurtonWire that Johnathan Lee Iverson, Ringling Bros.' first black ringmaster, is the luckiest man in show business. Forty-eight weeks a year, he's in a different U.S. city entertaining alongside a diverse cast and doing what he loves most: singing.

"I'm a fierce advocate for living out the best life you possibly can. There's no glory in living beneath yourself," says Iverson.

And rightfully so. The 6-foot-5 performer is the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus' youngest and first black ringmaster. The New York City native's stellar voice -- since the 129th edition -- has been a staple in the 143-year-old Greatest Show on Earth's celebratory, mystic and family-friendly production.

Iverson's innate ability to mesmerize audiences is rooted in eight years as the Boys Choir of Harlem's lead tenor. He trained extensively across various genres. He circled the globe to perform for various entertainers, politicians and world dignitaries. When Iverson performed for Lena Horne, he earned second prize in the entertainer's vocal jazz scholarship. "She was such a gem, such a lady and so down home," says Iverson. "It was one of the highest points in my life."

Read Christopher A. Daniel's entire piece at TheBurtonWire.

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