Rightnowish: Donté Clark and His Words

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Donté Clark in Richmond's Nichol Park.  (Pendarvis Harshaw/KQED)

Donté Clark is a poet and thespian from North Richmond, you can tell by the way he talks. His southern drawl on certain words shows his family roots, while his proper pronunciation of other terms is evidence of his upbringing in Northern California.

Clark combines both, while speaking passionately about social issues, community empowerment and the things he's seen. His new book KnowFreedom, a collection of his poetry and writing, exemplifies this work.

Donté Clark in Richmond's Nichol Park.
Donté Clark in Richmond's Nicholl Park. (Pendarvis Harshaw/KQED)

Clark's craft has taken him to stages for Youth Speaks and a role in the film Romeo is Bleeding—which led to an appearance on Sway's Universe, where Clark was introduced by none other than Russell Simmons. Recently he landed a role in the web series about gentrification and global warming, The North Pole, which just wrapped shooting for its second season.

I caught up with Clark at Nicholl Park in Richmond, not too far from where he went to school. He told me how his experiences in Richmond helped him to find his voice—both in the sense of what to talk about, and how to say it.


Donté Clark performs as part of 'Word of Resilience' on Thursday, April 25 at the Oakland Public Library Main Branch. The 6pm event is free and open to all ages. Details here.