Born in Chicago, Illinois on January 11th, Jamael I. Clark was raised in a much safer west suburban area known as Oak Park. Attending Irving Elementary and Percy Julian Middle School, Jamael’s interest outside of school was sports. From being a member/assistant at the YMCA to participating in sports camps and competitions, Jamael’s initial love was to play organized basketball at his high school.
His freshman year of high school at Oak Park River Forest began. Basketball tryouts approached in Autumn along with the pressure of making the team due to the expectations of his peers. Unfortunately, his diffidence on the court deprived his chances of earning a spot as he was cut after the first tryout. After realizing he only pursued the basketball dream because he wanted to make an impact on his school, Jamael decided to devote himself to breaking his two Achilles heels; public speaking and poetry.
Sophomore year commenced with Jamael expressing an absence of empathy for poetry to Mr. Kahn, the Spoken Word instructor at OPRF. He even told Mr. Kahn, “I hate poetry and I will never join Spoken Word.” But Mr. Kahn’s persistence gradually reversed Jamael’s aversion to poetry into exploration.
By his junior year, Jamael grew into the role of both student and teacher as he learned and coached the craft of poetry in an intrapersonal technique. Once he sustained enough confidence by impressing his Creative Writing classmates and his teacher with original pieces, he discovered he had a true gift he once despised.
Together, Jamael and Mr. Kahn worked diligently on writing and performing techniques. As Jamael progressed, he finished his senior year by completing four Spoken Word shows, competing in the junior slam finals, earned a performing slot at the high school’s M.L.K. assembly, and was a finalist in the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry competition. Now, with experience in the art of poetry, Jamael is exploring the art of fashion, modeling, designing, and ultimately, music. He has completed a numerous amount of photo shoots and designed original tattoos, receiving awe-inspiring praises from professional tattoo artists at Jade Dragon.
Jamael is currently a Community Advisor in New Hall while attending Northern Illinois University after spending 2 years at Triton Community College. His major is Communication with an emphasis on Organizational/Corporate Communication. He is also the Founder & President of the NIU Spoken Word organization, which was established Nov. 18th, 2012. Now that Jamael has transitioned himself from being a writer for Andwepresent to Executive Director, he has utilized this authority and creative freedom to control the Spoken Word section of the site and internal/external duties of this future multi-million dollar company.