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Michael Jack

Television manager Michael Jack was born on June 6, 1951 in Berlin, Germany to Johanna Magrete Kresse and Huston Jack, Jr., a military veteran. He moved to Massachusetts at age two, however, he relocated frequently with his father to several military bases in the United States and Germany. Jack attended John F. Kennedy High School in Willingboro, New Jersey and Heidelberg High School in Heidelberg, Germany. After graduation, Jack enrolled in Pennsylvania’s Haverford College where he earned his B.A. degree in political science.

After graduating from college, Jack worked for WABC-TV in New York, a subsidiary of Capital Cities ABC-TV, where he would serve for nineteen years. Jack moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1980, serving as an account executive for ABC sales spots in the city until 1981, when he became a national sales manager at KGO-TV in San Francisco, California. He was promoted to local sales manager at KGO and remained at the station until 1986.

In 1986, Jack moved to Los Angeles becoming Capital Cities’ National Sales Office Sales Manager, where he would work for a decade. In 1996, Jack joined NBC, working for Los Angeles’ KNBC as Vice President of Sales. In his role, Jack oversaw the entire department on both local and national levels. Three years later, Jack became president and general manager of Columbus, Ohio’s NBC affiliate, WCMH-TV station, succeeding executive Bill Katsafanas in managing the entire station. During Jack’s tenure, WCMH led the market in early morning news, late news and prime time markets.

An industry veteran, Jack became president and general manager of WRC-TV in Washington, D.C., jumping from the thirty-fourth largest television market in the nation to the eighth-largest. The same year, Jack was named NBC’s Vice President of Diversity by General Electric Company’s chairman and chief executive officer, Bob Wright. He became the President and General Manger of NBC New York in 2010. Jack serves on a variety of boards, including the Greater Washington Urban League, the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington and the Greater Washington Board of Trade.

Michael Jack resides in New York with his wife, Mary, and daughter, Truce.

Michael Jack was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 28, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.277

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/28/2007

Last Name

Jack

Maker Category
Schools

Haverford College

Heidelberg American High School

Bryn Mawr College

John F. Kennedy High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Michael

Birth City, State, Country

Berlin

HM ID

JAC27

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica, Mexico

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Interview Description
Birth Date

6/6/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

Germany

Favorite Food

Barbecue (Ribs)

Short Description

Television station general manager Michael Jack (1951 - ) was the president and general manager of NBC New York.

Employment

WABC TV

ABC

WNBC TV

WCMH TV

WRC-TV

Bloomingdales

Celanese Fiber Company

KGO-TV

NBC

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613006">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Michael Jack's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613007">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Michael Jack lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613008">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Michael Jack describes his mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613009">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Michael Jack talks about his mother's upbringing in Germany</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613010">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Michael Jack describes his father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613011">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Michael Jack describes his father's career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613012">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Michael Jack describes how his parents met</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613013">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Michael Jack describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613014">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Michael Jack describes his earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613015">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Michael Jack recalls moving frequently between the United States and Germany</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613016">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Michael Jack recalls his early experiences of travel</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613017">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Michael Jack describes his religious upbringing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613018">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Michael Jack talks about his brother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613019">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Michael Jack recalls the radio and television programs of his youth</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613020">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Michael Jack talks about his education in New Jersey and Germany</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613021">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Michael Jack describes his early experiences of racial discrimination</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613022">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Michael Jack talks about his family's perception of the Civil Rights Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613023">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Michael Jack remembers the assassinations of Malcolm X and Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613024">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Michael Jack describes the demographics of Haverford College in Haverford, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613025">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Michael Jack describes his experiences at Haverford College in Haverford, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613026">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Michael Jack remembers the African American community at Haverford College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613027">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Michael Jack recalls studying at Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613028">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Michael Jack describes his early work in retail marketing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613029">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Michael Jack recalls starting in the sales training program at WABC-TV in New York City</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613030">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Michael Jack talks about the television advertising industry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613031">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Michael Jack talks about the television programming of the 1970s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613032">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Michael Jack recalls the lack of diversity at New York City's WABC-TV</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613033">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Michael Jack describes his experiences of racial discrimination at WABC-TV</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613034">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Michael Jack describes his experiences of discrimination in the television advertising sales industry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613035">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Michael Jack talks about his career in the sales division of ABC</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613036">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Michael Jack describes his philosophy of salesmanship</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613037">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Michael Jack talks about selling airtime to niche advertisers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613038">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Michael Jack describes the importance of experience in the media industry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613039">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Michael Jack remembers his decision to work for NBC</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613040">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Michael Jack talks about his marriage and family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613041">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Michael Jack describes his role at WCMH-TV in Columbus, Ohio</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613042">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Michael Jack describes the programming on WRC-TV in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613043">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Michael Jack reflects upon the representation of African Americans in the television industry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613044">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Michael Jack talks about the lack of diversity on television</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613045">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Michael Jack reflects upon his career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613046">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Michael Jack describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613047">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Michael Jack describes his transition to WRC-TV in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613048">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Michael Jack talks about his plans for the future</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613049">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Michael Jack describes his organizational involvement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613050">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Michael Jack reflects upon his life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613051">Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Michael Jack reflects upon his legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613052">Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Michael Jack talks about his parents' response to his success</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613053">Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Michael Jack describes how he would like to be remembered</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

1$1

DATitle
Michael Jack describes his experiences of discrimination in the television advertising sales industry
Michael Jack describes the programming on WRC-TV in Washington, D.C.
Transcript
So I was telling you a couple of self-inflicted wounds (laughter), 'cause you were asking about how I felt people at ABC treated me and I really was talking just in general about some experience in Corporate America, but back to that period of time, I was, 'cause I was making very little money, was also selling suits at night at a store called Barneys [Barneys New York], so I, I, after saving Barneys discount, I bought a silk tan jacket. I was sharp and proud. It was the first time, other than a blue blazer that I bought at Bloomingdale's that I actually bought something and I rode down the elevator with the president of the division at that time. And I had on some dress sandals. I don't know if you recall the type that where, you had kind of slits in 'em but I was looking sharp.$$Huaraches they're called, I think, or something like that.$$Not huaraches, but a little more dressy than that and I was, I thought I was looking bad, so, up in the elevator with him. Riding down the elevator, he says, looks over at me and says something about the jacket. And I said, "You like it? Well come on down to Barney's, I'll hook you up. I'll give you a little discount," et cetera. The next day, the next day, there was a memo that came out that all account managers, salespeople who worked for ABC will wear suits or at the--in casual moments, blue blazers, so, so should I have been smarter? Probably. Had I been there longer, maybe the outcome would have been different. But it clearly was, we were on different pages. Had I worked at the time for a different company maybe the outlook would have been different.$$You were actually thinking that he wanted one of 'em.$$Oh, absolutely. I, and I was gonna hook him up. And he was looking at me as, who is this crazy fool riding down the elevator, thinking he's looking sharp, et cetera, et cetera. There haven't been many situations like this, but I remember distinctly one that I know, as I was doing it, it was not the smartest thing to do, but I wonder had the same conversation happened between two white males, if the outcome had been the same, so. Not a bad outcome 'cause I didn't get fired, but we were at a dinner, I can't remember if it was a client dinner or one of just ABC personnel at the time, and one of the guys who happens to have the job that I now have, was sitting at the table with me, along with, I think it was the president of the division, another guy at the time. This is a number of years later, and the conversation came up about country clubs, and we got into this debate about why he thought it appropriate that you could exclude African Americans from country clubs. And I, I just, his rationale was, well because it's private. And I remember distinctly saying, and it stopped the conversation. "So, let me understand this, so it's okay to discriminate in public--in private, but not in public? Is that what you're saying?" So, all in all this world is comprised of people who, despite seeing color as the first thing that walks in the door, is how we deal with each other. Some people never get past that initial reaction and some people do, so, to generalize, I've been successful. Could I have been more successful earlier if I had been evaluated only for the things that hopefully I am evaluating individuals for, competency and performance and those kinds of things, maybe, probably, but this is America.$We were talking off camera about the nature of what you're doing, you were saying that in terms of my concern about public affairs programming, that only 7 percent of the programming nowadays is on the air.$$Is over the air (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Is over the air. That rest is cable, right?$$That people receive via the antenna, in this area, and there are some areas that are even less, the Bay Area [San Francisco Bay Area, California] for instance. Everybody's wired there.$$Okay, so then the presumption is that people would get, would have access to, well cable access channels who carry public affairs shows and then any other niche you kind of--programing would be carried on some other cable channel. Is that pretty much it?$$I mean, I think that's somewhat of a generalization but that's relatively fair. People, people unfortunately don't watch a lot of that programming either (laughter). We do some shows here, one called 'A Reporter's Notebook' [sic. 'Reporter's Notebook'] and another called 'Viewpoint' about a single topic with folks within the community talking about issues that are important here the Washington [D.C.] area, so we do give a voice to it. And the good news is we've locked it in between Sunday morning programming and what's happening in the world is people are waking up earlier and those now become very highly rated areas, but beyond that, you know, I think the domain of public affairs programming is no different than the domain of any other programming you know. People, there are so many different things that people are doing, so many distractions, so many multitask these days that finding audiences for programming is difficult in the broadcast business, but a lot of it's going online. We talk all the time. Our competition is not ABC and CBS and FOX, its Google [Google Inc.] and Yahoo and that's where the world is today. I spent a lot of time talking about how to grow our business on all the multiplatforms that exist. We're content providers but we've got to have the content where people want to watch it and we're, watch and use it. It's a different world than it was thirty years ago.$$We were discussing too that NBC 4 [WRC-TV, Washington, D.C.] here is not a superstation like WGN [WGN-TV, Chicago, Illinois] or WOR [WOR-TV; WWOR-TV, Secaucus, New Jersey] used to be or TBS [Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.], but what you do here, you do, you shoot programs for national distribution here like 'George Michael Sports Machine' ['The George Michael Sports Machine'] used to. Is that still being produced here?$$That was cancelled in March of this year.$$Okay.$$We took it off the air. It had been on for twenty-five years, but we do do here, of course, 'Matthews Show' ['The Chris Matthews Show'], 'Meet the Press,' a show called 'It's Academic' that has a regional place. It's a high school--kind of like 'Jeopardy' for high school competitions. We do--$$'McLaughlin' ['The McLaughlin Group'] is here.$$'McLaughlin' is done out of here, done out of our studios, yeah, downstairs.$$Okay, all right, so, yeah this was like, you know, once we drove up here I mean, I, I been to a few stations, but I've never seen as many antennas, and (laughter)--$$Yeah, right, right. We also have a few MSNBC shows and CNBC down here. It's also the network news bureau, so Tim Russert is the managing editor of NBC News in Washington, so we share the same building.

Priscilla Clarke

Public relations chief executive Priscilla Clarke was born on August 3, 1960 in Swindon, England to Dorothy Sharples, a white Englishwoman, and Gilbert Clarke, an African American stationed in the United Kingdom. The family moved to Springfield, Massachusetts when she was an infant. Her parents divorced when she was six, and Clarke split her time between their homes in Springfield, Massachusetts and Windsor, Connecticut, graduating from Windsor High School in 1978. Clarke attended Western New England College, where she majored in political science, but left school to give birth to her first daughter.

Clarke moved to Maryland, where she owned and managed a health food store in Gaithersburg, Maryland from 1988 to 2001. After selling the store, she embarked on a career in television production, taking classes at Fairfax Public Access (FPA) in Fairfax, Virginia to become a certified television producer. In the course of job hunting, she met the producers of Def Comedy Jam and began handling the merchandising for the comedy shows. She discovered that she enjoyed doing publicity and enrolled at Columbia Union College in Takoma Park, Maryland to study communications and business.

In 2003, she launched Clarke & Associates in Washington, D.C., where she is currently the president and CEO. Specializing in public relations, event planning, entertainment and media relations, Clarke’s clients have included Black Entertainment Television (BET), the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the National Medical Association, the National Council of Negro Women, the Urban League, Boys and Girls Club of America, and Tuskegee Institute. Shaquille O’Neal, Beyonce Knowles, the late Johnny Cochran and Robert Townsend are among her celebrity clients. In 2003, Clarke was named one of the “Fifty Influential Minorities in Business” by the Minority Business & Professionals Network, Inc. In 2006, Clarke received the Black Press All-Star Award for Publicist of the Year.

Clarke is the mother of three children, Huda, Ilyas, and Qasin Mumin.

Clarke was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 10, 2006.

Accession Number

A2006.138

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/10/2006

Last Name

Clarke

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Schools

Windsor High School

Western New England Collge

Columbia Union College

First Name

Priscilla

Birth City, State, Country

Swinden

HM ID

CLA12

Favorite Season

Fall, Summer

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica

Favorite Quote

Make A Difference In The World In A Positive Way.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

8/3/1960

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

England

Favorite Food

Fruit, Italian Food

Short Description

Public relations chief executive Priscilla Clarke (1960 - ) is the president and CEO of Clarke & Associates, LLC, a public relations, event planning, entertainment and media relations company, whose clients have included Beyonce Knowles, Shaquille O'Neal, the National Council of Negro Women and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

Employment

Eat to Live Health Food Store

NEB Securities

NEB Entertainment

Clarke & Associates

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100820">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Priscilla Clarke's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100821">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Priscilla Clarke lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100822">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Priscilla Clarke talks about her mother's childhood and occupation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100823">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Priscilla Clarke talks about her maternal grandmother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100824">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Priscilla Clarke describes her father and his occupation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100825">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Priscilla Clarke talks about her siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100826">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Priscilla Clarke describes her parents' move from England to Springfield, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100827">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Priscilla Clarke shares her earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100828">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Priscilla Clarke talks about when her parents got married and her schools in Buffalo, New York and Springfield, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100829">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Priscilla Clarke describes her neighborhood in Springfield, Massachusetts and the fire that destroyed the family home</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100830">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Priscilla Clarke describes what type of student she was in elementary and junior high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100831">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Priscilla Clarke talks about her parents' divorce</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100832">Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Priscilla Clarke recalls her training as a martial arts champion</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100833">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Priscilla Clarke reflects on the discipline learned through her studies and through martial arts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100834">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Priscilla Clarke recalls the racial makeup of her junior high schools and busing in Springfield, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100835">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Priscilla Clarke remembers her childhood family activities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100836">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Priscilla Clarke describes her experience at Windsor High School in Windsor, Connecticut</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100837">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Priscilla Clarke recalls her career aspirations at Windsor High School in Windsor, Connecticut</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100838">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Priscilla Clarke talks about how she never travelled to England</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100839">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Priscilla Clarke recalls the jobs she had from age twelve through high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100840">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Priscilla Clarke recalls the racism she experienced in elementary and junior high school in Springfield, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100841">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Priscilla Clarke talks about her experience with racism at Western New England College in Springfield, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100842">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Priscilla Clarke describes her political activism while attending Western New England College in Springfield, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100843">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Priscilla Clarke talks about the birth of her first daughter and the beginning of her entrepreneurial career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100844">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Priscilla Clarke recalls moving to Maryland and opening her health food store in Gaithersburg, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100845">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Priscilla Clarke talks about teaching her daughter about business and the success of her health food store</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100846">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Priscilla Clarke recalls the tragedies that led her to change careers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100847">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Priscilla Clarke describes becoming a certified cable access producer and applying to work at BET</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100848">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Priscilla Clarke describes her experience with Def Comedy Jam</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100849">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Priscilla Clarke recalls returning to school and the beginning of her public relations career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100850">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Priscilla Clarke recalls handling public relations for Johnnie Cochran's visit to Washington, D.C. after the O.J. Simpson trial</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100851">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Priscilla Clarke talks about maintaining a balance of clients at Clarke & Associates</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100852">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Priscilla Clarke talks about her range of public relations services</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100853">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Priscilla Clarke talks about Clarke & Associates' political clients</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100854">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Priscilla Clarke talks about Clarke & Associates' corporate clients and working with Oprah Winfrey</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100855">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Priscilla Clarke describes her work with Beyonce and House of Dereon</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100856">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Priscilla Clarke talks about the golf tournaments organized by Clarke & Associates</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100857">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Priscilla Clarke talks about Clarke & Associates' well-known clients</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100858">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Priscilla Clarke describes Clarke & Associates' current music and comedy clients</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100859">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Priscilla Clarke talks about Clarke & Associates' cause-driven work</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100860">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Priscilla Clarke reflects on her life and career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100861">Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Priscilla Clarke shares her hope for the future</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100862">Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Priscilla Clarke shares her regrets</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100863">Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Priscilla Clarke describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/100864">Tape: 4 Story: 14 - Priscilla Clarke describes how she would like to be remembered</a>

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DATitle
Priscilla Clarke recalls her training as a martial arts champion
Priscilla Clarke describes her experience with Def Comedy Jam
Transcript
Okay, when you were in [Kennedy] Junior High School did you have any notion or any clue, about what you wanted to do career-wise, what you wanted to be as we say? Did you have at that early age any thoughts?$$Well you know, interesting enough, when I was in junior high school. I met a young lady that--, actually once we moved from there we--, I transferred to another junior high school, Forest Park Junior High School. And I think I was about, I was twelve then. I was about twelve, and I met a young girl and her dad--, she was like "You know you should come to my dad's karate school." And I was like oh-okay, so she took me one day to her dad's karate school. So I was sitting there looking at all the people. And I was like--, and at that age at twelve, I was very uncoordinated you know, I was little slow on the learning side. And I was like "Wow, that's amazing how they can do all that stuff." So she's like, "Well you should take a class" and I was like, "Uh uh." I just knew, no way I could do any of that stuff. So, I did I took a class--; she convinced me after a couple of weeks, you know, we'd go and hang out at the karate school. And then she commits me to take a class. Her name was Tina Graham, and I'm sorry not, I'm sorry not Tina Graham, I gave you the wrong name, her name is Tina. And so I took the class, and I loved it, you know, I was very awkward at it. I'd say the first year I was very awkward at it, but it started to build my confidence, and it was something that I became very passionate about, I started training really hard. So I trained actually, you know, from--, I started when I was twelve, took me about two or three years to get coordinated you know. So, then I started competing, I started doing form, what they call form, which is we see the movements, and you do a series of movements. I started learning weapons, and I started learning how to fight. So you know, but it was something that--, it was interesting enough because when you learn martial arts, you learn not to fight because you learn discipline. And you learn how to deal with it in different ways as oppose to combat, but I started becoming very good at it. And I started competing in the United States. I started competing in Canada, and I started winning. So, you know, and by the time I was eighteen I was a Canadian Champion, I was an East Coast Champion, I was number two in the country. You know so, that was something I, I felt at that time I wanted to do for the rest of my life; that was one thing I wanted to do. And once I--, you know because that's something I became very good at although I started off--. And when someone would see me initially they'd like "Oh no way, she's never gonna be any good at this, (laughter) she needs to quit now." So it was something that was really against the odds, you know, I kind of blossomed. And that did a lot for me I think, you know, moving forward in my life.$So when BET [Black Entertainment Television] didn't hire me, I was like "Wow, okay there goes that dream." And oddly enough I was sitting in a comedy show, audition, comedy audition one day and I sat there and I laughed, and I laughed, and I laughed. And I was like wow, this is what I you know, it's like this is the kind of career I want, something that, 'cause it was so I think it--. I had been through so much pain; I hadn't laughed in so long til it was so healing for me at that, during that night. You know, and I met the producers of Def Comedy Jam that night. And we all, you know, really clicked, and we formed a friendship at that time. Well, I ended up getting a opportunity with Def Comedy Jam, HBO [HM] Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam to--, well actually let me back up a little bit. I started doing independent editing for projects, and so that's kind of like, I was doing some freelance work and that type of thing with the production piece. Started doing some photography, you know, became very good at photography and kind of all over the place. Now that my BET dream had been just destroyed. And I started doing, actually I started doing by default, it's really kind of an odd--, this is how my, my PR [public relations] career launched. I started doing merchandising for the Def Comedy Jam, did all the tour jackets, have everything designed and you know, which goes back to my seamstress days. Had everything designed you know, started actually managing the marketing on tour and that type of thing. I ended up producing something they did call the club series, which it--. An intimate like at the Improv were some of the smaller comedy clubs we would recreate Def Comedy Jam. And so one day the producer of Def Comedy Jam tells me he's like, "Well, why--" he says "Well, can you give me some publicity on the show? Get me, you know, some--", I said, "No I don't do that," and he's like, "Well just can you try?" "That's really not my forte." He's like, "Just see what you can do." And I got so much publicity (laughter), so I was like wow; you know it's like my first big story. I was like, I like--, you know it just gave me this incredible feeling, this incredible feeling of accomplishment. And seeing the client so happy to see their stuff in print, and that was a revelation for me I was like, I really like this. Okay.