Nikki Black is a wildman. He is “The Captain” Jack Sparrow look-a-like wearing cowboy boots, black jean jacket, long dark hair, dark beard, black nail polish and eyeliner. Hilarious individual, very prompt, oddly responsible, loves entertaining families as “The Captain” Jack Sparrow. Nikki is a high-intensity mix of Lebanese & Polish and a fast-talking whirlwind of a character.
“I’m a Sagittarius, so I like to talk. I was born on December 19th, the Day of the Hellraisers. I had the typical middle class American family rounded out by dealing with family alcoholism as a youth. I grew up in the 1980’s, was a hellraiser, and had kids at 30. I was a train-wreck until then. My kids saved me, having kids seriously saved my life and they’re beautiful and I love them. The cycle of my youth was never continued with my children. My kids are my proudest achievement.”
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The Origin of the Name Nikki Black
“I acquired my name Nikki Black back in the mid-80’s when I was working support for a national act. I was signing autographs and was teased by some members of the band. So I told the band member, I’ll sign your name from now on: Nikki. And I always wore black. So-boom!-Nikki Black became a reality. Being a roadie, doing stage tech stuff, lighting, rigging, etc, back in the glory days of 80’s hard rock and metal was an exceptional experience.”
Nikki: The Early Years
Nikki grew up on the Northwest side of Detroit. His nickname was Little Nick and he lived near Cody High School (Joy & Evergreen, Detroit) but went to Catholic schools.
“Yeah, I eventually ended up moving from the ghetto to the burbs and graduated high school in 1982. The suburbs were weirdly nice. My best friend from another Catholic school and I used to get into a lot fights with people. I have a rough exterior that comes from my strict upbringing and early Detroit years.
Nikki Gets Into the Detroit Rock Scene
“The music scene in Detroit, Mid-America rock ‘n’ roll, has always been outstanding and nationally famous and I’m proud to be a Detroiter. Back around 1980, I was a 16yr old kid and I went to my first concert with my friends from the suburbs, the Dio and Pat Travers concert at Cobo Hall. It was that moment in time that I realized I didn’t belong hanging out in the crowd. I told my friends that one day, I’ll be hanging out with Dio. And they just laughed. So, I started pushing my way into the clubs and doing whatever it took to help out. I worked with bands at all the clubs: Blondie’s, Token Lounge, Traxx, Harpos, the Palladium, St. Andrews, State Theater, etc, doing whatever support-work needed to be done. Then by 1987, bam! Here I am really hanging with Ronnie James Dio.”
Nikki Becomes a Professional Hairdresser
Nikki, now connected to the rocker world, was simultaneously introduced into the big hair and beauty business. 1980 was the turning point for Nikki because of Dio and skipping school which led to his becoming a professional hairdresser. His move from Detroit to the suburbs had changed his life drastically.
“I come from a long line of famous hairdressers. One connection was the Robert & Charles Salon in West Bloomfield at 15 Mile Road and Orchard Lake. Robert and Charles, the Peruski Brothers, owned the salon. They had 38 hairdressers at their salon. Charles was my brother-in-law and he was a mentor to me when I was growing up. We did the hair for all the big entertainment stars in Detroit including Kelly & Company and this led to my world of being surrounded by beautiful women.”
“My a-ha! Hairdressing moment came one day as I was skipping school during lunch. I saw the beautiful young ladies from my school getting on a bus and asked my friend, ‘what’s that all about’? He said ‘they all go to Cos. You, know, Cosmetology School. Our high school and two other high schools’. And I said ‘all girls’? He said ‘yeah’! I said ‘I’m there’. It was at that moment that my mentoring from my brother-in-law became a reality. So I joined hairdressing school. Hair was big in the Eighties. I was a natural. I was given the rare honor of having keys to the beauty school supply room. I even graduated hair school before graduating high school. Then, in 1982, after graduating high school, I go to a bachelor party at a new strip club in Romulus. I was there partying, having a great time and this stripper was having a hair-meltdown. So, with a fork and a can of hairspray, I transformed her hair in a few minutes from a disheveled rat’s-nest into a beautiful bouncy blonde. I was instantly offered a job from the owner and I accepted it on the spot.”
When not impersonating “The Captain” Jack Sparrow, Nikki is currently a master hair stylist and colorist at Shine Salon in Brighton.
Nikki Black “The Captain” Jack Sparrow Impersonator
Nikki has an uncanny resemblance to Johnny Depp’s character Jack Sparrow and is a professional “The Captain” Jack Sparrow impersonator. Nikki even formed his own company called ‘Sparrow Enterprises LLC’ and he has performed at almost every major festival in Michigan including the Downtown Hoedown, Renaissance Festival, Star & Stripes, etc. Nikki also promotes his own Michigan pirate festival, Pirate Palooza, which he started in 2011. The reason Nikki lands so many gigs is that, despite his wild past, Nikki Black is extremely professional.
“In 2006, my kid’s rent The Pirates of the Caribbean. I watch it and I immediately notice my resemblance to Johnny Depp’s character, so I start impersonating “The Captain” Jack Sparrow for my kids. We all agreed this would be my new Halloween outfit. So, Halloween came, “The Captain” Jack Sparrow was born and I had no idea the impact it would have on others. Especially women. (He chuckles). My first night out included my girlfriend breaking up with me, women giving me the wandering eye and me stumbling around that night in a drunken rum being-a-pirate haze without realizing the power of looking like Johnny Depp.”
“Then, it’s November. My friend is a road tour manager for Warner Brothers Records. I’m cutting his hair and he laughs, tells me I should turn this into a career and offers me assistance to become “The Captain” Jack Sparrow Impersonator. He helps me get a full replica of the exact costuming that Johnny Depp had in POTC One. He returns the summer 2007 and my first gig as “The Captain” Jack Sparrow is announcing the bands onstage at the Detroit Downtown Hoedown. I show up, dressed as “The Captain” Jack Sparrow and I immediately get overwhelmed by concert-goers flocking to me, thinking I really am Johnny Depp. The cops come and I’m now being escorted by Detroit’s finest to the bottom of Hart Plaza. We go backstage. Everyone is taking pictures with me. I go onstage at 10am to announce the first band and the crowd has an absolute breakdown. Women blow the barricades, people are screaming and throwing things at me, everyone thinks I really am Johnny Depp, its pandemonium. Memories of my rock star days flash thru my mind. Suddenly, I snap back to. Security finally controls the situation. I announce the band; exit the stage to wildly cheering applause and the true version of “The Captain” Jack Sparrow is born.”
Nikki Black on Actually Meeting Johnny Depp
“Back in 2011, I actually met Johnny Depp in person. We met at a film studio in the Detroit area. He was in town visiting the set of ‘Oz: The Great and Powerful’ and I was brought there by one of my friends who introduced me as ‘Jack Sparrow’. Depp chuckled. I was so nervous but he was really cool, very soft-toned, very nice guy. Standing there talking with him I thought back on how I went frame by frame thru The Pirates of the Caribbean dozens of times to study his clothing, mannerisms, essentially becoming Johnny Depp and now here we both were. It was surreal.”
Nikki’s Final Words (for the moment)
So, as you can see, Nikki is quite the character. He even has some hobbies too, “Hunting, Fishing. I’m a rock ‘n’ roll hillbilly. I just love to participate in the world. Never was a spectator.”
As of spring 2015, Nikki is currently writing various books about his real-life adventures. He is branching into screenwriting with his NASCAR-themed feature comedy called ‘Checkers’. “One night in Detroit I watched several car thieves strip a car and leave it up on cinderblocks. So, this movie is basically inspired by watching efficient auto thefts in The D and that’s all I can tell you at the moment.”
You can contact Nikki and/or book “The Captain” Jack Sparrow at: