If you only judge a book by its cover, then Ben Baller with his multiple tattoos, big diamond earrings and dark sunglasses is the epitome of a rebel with a mean attitude. But dig deeper, and you find a phenomenally driven, creative and outspoken Korean American who has succeeded in just about everything he’s tried.
Born in Los Angeles, California, Ben Baller, whose real surname is Yang, was the first Asian to play NCAA football and basketball. He was one of the only Asians working in the world of Rap and Hip Hop when Dr. Dre hired him as VP of A&R at Aftermath Records where Ben racked up 21 platinum album credits. Then in 2005, he jumped into the jewelry business creating elaborate, sometimes, over the top pieces for celebrities and VIPs including Snoop Dogg, Justin Bieber, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian and Tom Cruise.
This week, May has a no holds barred conversation with Ben Baller about his upbringing, his business pursuits, why he thinks Asian Americans “can’t be soft” and his clash with Elon Musk.
About The May Lee Show: Join award-winning international journalist May Lee as she sits down with the most impactful and relevant Asian and Asian Americans who are boldly enhancing and elevating Asian voices and issues around the world. The show strikes an authentic and intimate tone with honest, entertaining and, sometimes, uncomfortable conversations. Expect the unexpected on the show.