From Homeless To Hollywood Leading Man: 9 Things To Know About Skyh Alvester Black
Leigh Keily

Skyh Alvester Black is everywhere these days. From Tyler Perry’s Sistas on BET to Black Monday on Showtime, the Miami native is in demand. It’s understandable why that is. When he steps into the picture, whether on TV or on social media, all eyes are drawn to him.

The multifaceted dancer, singer and actor, who not long ago was performing alongside heavy hitters like Beyoncé, Rihanna and Mariah Carey before hanging up his dancing shoes for acting classes, is celebrating his latest gig. These days, Skyh is starring in the new BET+ series All the Queen’s Men, about a sexy band of dancers and their leader, Marilyn ‘Madam’ DeVille (played by Eva Marcille). He plays AMP, a dancer with a hidden past but undeniable good moves. Up next for him, he will be starring as a lawyer in the ALLBLK series Lace. The opportunities are pouring in and Skyh says his success is something he still can’t believe, but he’s thankful for it.

“It hasn’t hit me yet. I will say that, it’s hitting me in doses,” he tells ESSENCE. “It hit me after the show came out, All the Queen’s Men. I was like, ‘Oh wow. People like it. I’m grateful.’ That’s how it’s been going. It’s just been one surreal moment after the next.”

And with the journey Skyh has been on, it only makes sense that his mounting accomplishments would feel almost unbelievable. During a chat with the burgeoning star, we learned a wealth of fascinating things about him. From being homeless in Hollywood to being encouraged to act by the great Debbie Allen, he’s lived quite the life already, and he’s only a twentysomething. Check out nine pretty amazing things about the star, who’s far more than just eye candy.

Leigh Keily

He Was Parking Cars to Pay the Bills Not Long Ago

Last year, right before the pandemic, I was parking cars. I was valeting with The West Hollywood EDITION in LA, which is this huge five-star hotel. Every person that I had worked with in my dance career used to come to the hotel, like, “Yo, you parking cars now?” I’m like, “Yep. Can I have your keys?”

Debbie Allen Is to Thank for Him Taking Up Acting

Debbie Allen…she is the one who pushed me into being an actor. Her exact words were, “I’m going to make your a– an actor.” I said, “No, you’re not because that’s not me.” She said, “Honey, you don’t know who you are yet.” She was right.

As He Pursued Acting, He Was Homeless Three Times

My homelessness came during the interim where I stopped dancing. I think my last performance was with Beyoncé on the MTV Music Awards. Then during that time, those years in there, they were hard. They were rough. I did go homeless three times. All I knew, my acting class had to be paid. That’s all I cared about. I would stay in Motel 6, just by having friends who had someone as an employee that would just give me a little $60 discount. I had repossessions. You just got to persevere and keep going.

Acting Became Therapy

I went into an acting class, which was Tasha Smith’s acting class here in LA…I started there and what it was for me, it was therapy. I went to class and I just became so enthralled and submerged myself in everything that was my craft for a couple of years. I just learned by listening to stories or researching, and every Monday for three hours I would just be in my class. It just developed into this thing because anything you want you’re going to find out information of how to get it done. So that is where I would say it was therapy for me. As a black man I feel a lot of times we don’t get to feel because society doesn’t allow us to, because we have to … I grew up in the south and I’ll wrap it up a little bit, but sometimes as a black man you feel like you can’t feel, and this was a place I felt like I could feel without being judged in an art form I felt like I could feel without being judged, and I fell in love. That’s what really started it for me.

He Was a Ballet Star Who Danced With Misty Copeland

I graduated from high school, but I’d been going every summer to the School of American Ballet in New York. So every summer I would get scholarships to go and train for the summer because my dream was to be in New York City ballet. You train for the summer, then after you get of age you’re able to go for the year. So I went from Miami, graduated high school, went to New York, trained. Then I took a couple of professional jobs, like in Seattle and Pacific Northwest Ballet. Then I came back to New York, hit American Ballet Theater. Myself and Misty Copeland went in during the same year in American Ballet Theater. We started together when we were kids.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – SEPTEMBER 09: Skyh Black (L) and KJ Smith attend the premiere screening for the new BET+ and Tyler Perry Studios’ scripted series “All The Queen’s Men” on September 09, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET )

He and Girlfriend KJ Smith Didn’t Start Dating Until After Sistas

KJ is the lead on Sistas. So I always say that I learned how to be a leading man by watching her, watching her on and off set and how she just communicated with people. I was like, oh, this girl’s pretty dope. Not thinking anything of it. Once I got All The Queen’s Men she actually shot me a DM and said, “Hey, I didn’t get a chance to get your number, but I just wanted to tell you, congratulations. If you need any advice, if you need anything like that, don’t hesitate to reach out.” I was like, cool. At that time she was on Family Business and I said, “Thank you,” and I congratulated her on Family Business.

We actually just called each other. I was like, “Yeah, I’ll take you up on that.” So I called her and we had a three-hour conversation. We had this beautiful three-hour conversation just about life, about navigating the industry. We’re both from Florida, so we had that in common. It was like, okay, cool. Then the next day we actually talked again about something and it went to a two-hour conversation. I’ll be honest, I just said, “Yo, can I take you out Saturday?” She was like, “Sure.” It was back in January. We were not filming together. I was very adamant about not having any kind of relationship with anyone that I was actually currently in a work setting with, just because I was new. I didn’t want to get in trouble or anything like that. There was a huge no fraternization policy. We went out and from that day, January 7th, we’ve been together every day ever since. It’s the best. She’s my best friend. She’s my better half. She really helps me navigate this thing because she’s been in it for a while as far as being a working actress. She’s great. She’s incredible.

He Appreciates the Enthusiasm of His Many Female Mans

I think anybody who is taking time out of their busy day to even go to my page or look at a picture or anything like that, it’s flattering. I don’t really get caught up in it because I’m really an arts kid at heart. I’m so in my work, but I mean, without the people, without the women, without just people who support you and admire you and your work, there would be no you. It’s really about the people. I tell people that all the time, the people make the person. So it feels good. I’m not going to say it doesn’t. It feels good to know that, hey, somebody is supporting you or somebody thinks you look good that day because I’m in an image driven business. So it’s kind of like if they’re saying, “Oh, you’re nice looking.” Well, thank you. I’ll take that. I will take that because being in the gym and not eating your favorite Southern foods? Thank you very much! [laughs]

Health is Wealth

I actually have myself on a pretty good meal plan. I really do believe in health. My father passed of heart disease, so I’m really on my health, especially being a Black man. So egg whites, turkey sausage, just meat and vegetables. Low carbs, kind of stay away from too much sugar, unless it’s a holiday and I have to have my sweet potato pie.

He Wants to Be the Next Denzel

What’s next for me? World domination. I think I’m relentless and I love TV, but I love film. I have a huge affinity for filmmaking and the way in which it’s done and everything like that. So for me, I would say a lot of movies are on the horizon and there’s a couple of things I can’t really talk about, but a lot more. You’ll be seeing a lot more of me. You’ll be seeing and hearing Skyh Alvester Black for a long time to come.


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