The real magical world of Quinton Robinson

FLINT, Michigan — Everyone loves a magic show. No matter our age, it seems to bring forth our innocence. Quinton Robinson is a Flint native magician and a slam-winning poet, musician, and emcee. Though he wears many hats, his favorite is the one he can potentially pull a rabbit out of.

We sat down at Totem Books and talked for hours about the history of magic, the opportunities that come from the profession, rising above hecklers, and discovering the magic within oneself.

Robinson grew up in a home where anything involving magic, sorcery, and spiritism was completely forbidden. As an elementary student, he used to get up every day, go outside to feed his dog then go into the garage, grab his Harry Potter books [that he had hidden], put them in his backpack, and read them at school. Courageously honoring that gut feeling and having a passion for reading leads me to believe that he is the personification of “Black boy joy.”
Going to the library is where it all started. He spent twelve years studying how to become a magician. He believes whatever you want to know is in a book, no matter what. Magicians have been around for an exceedingly long time, and the tricks that he uses in his performances are roughly 400 years old. As he’s educating me, he is effortlessly solving a Rubik's cube which was originally called the 'magic' cube.

Quinton Robinson.
He didn’t perform his first magic trick until high school and ended up traveling all over the world through his ability to perform magic. He has taught thousands of students in China and hundreds in the U.S. “There's a whole world that surrounds magic. There is a community of magicians and creators and a magic economy,” said Robinson, explaining how the highest-paid entertainers of all time have been magicians.

Robinson takes pride in tailoring a person’s experience when performing which is why he avoids generalized magic clips on social media. When I asked him his favorite place to perform, he instantly said, “In places without stages.” 

He expressed how an impromptu performance at the Sunoco gas station on Ballenger Highway supersedes a performance at a huge arena. “I'm at the gas station. I'm reaching in my pockets and all I pull out are napkins. The dude [clerk] looked at me like, 'You just said you want $20 on pump 5, where's your money?' I pull out my wallet, my wallet is empty. I shake the napkin and it turns into a $20 bill. The look on that man’s face is priceless.”

Quinton Robinson.
Magic tricks usually bring wonder and amazement but not everyone is a believer. In the magic industry, there are always a few patrons who only come to debunk and refute every trick of the performance. When I asked why continue to perform at venues knowing that you can almost guarantee there will be hecklers, Robinson
felt compelled to bring awareness to the fact that most people put him in a weird spot.

On one hand, he’s determined to give a high-quality performance, but on the other, you don't go to a movie theater and hope the projector fails. You don't go to a Super Bowl game and hope that there is a power outage. Yet, there are people out there who go to magic shows and hope the magician fails. 

“I'm so glad you asked. I'm not here to fool you!” Robinson exclaimed. “There are things that I've acquired. I would love to share them with you. So at any point during this presentation, you feel like you need to undo my presentation. I'm gonna let you do it. Because when you turn that card over and it's not your cardI will tell you that card's hanging behind that picture up there, and you pull it down off the wall and turn it around, and there's a six of spades taped to the back of the artwork with your signature on it.”
Quinton Robinson.
He mentioned how the wooden table we were sitting at was once a tree and the fact that it is something else is a result of magic. Explaining that magic is all around us, he defines magic as growing a tree by highlighting its simplicity, avoiding the science vs. magic debate, and surrendering to the possibility that they are one and the same.

He feels like he is magical without his tools. I am inclined to agree because he can do what magic does without the wand, coins, and other magic tricks.

Throughout two decades, he put the work into finding what magic does to create and extract his, to some, overwhelming level of influence.

“That’s what magic does — it takes away what we think we know and it replaces it with something we've never considered before or haven't considered in that specific way,” said Robinson. “I've found that people go their entire lives and sometimes never get to feel that small, tiny fraction of what magic is.” 

For more information on Quinton Robinson and updates on his upcoming magic workshops, find him on Instagram and Facebook. His services are available for professional development, after-school programming, birthday parties, mixers, and various private and professional events. 
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