If you’ve seen 45-year-old Derek Clark before, it was likely during a YouTube excursion. But the 6- foot 5-inch tall businessman turned motivational speaker is much more than a silly parent calling out contemporary MCs for cursing, portrayals of negativity or misogyny. Clark is a fighter, who has overcome numerous difficulties ranging from child abuse to anger issues.
He certainly has a story to share.
“I spent 13 years in the San Francisco area foster care system,” Clark said. “I had a lot of abuse, a lot of labels, and I’ve overcome so much in my life. With the death of my sister and brother, abandonment by my parents, in the back of my mind I’ve been accumulating tools to deal with this adversity.”
The tools could be stripped down to positive thinking and a refusal to give up. He plans to share those and more in a training session for communities partners of High Sky Children’s Ranch this Tuesday. He comes to Midland as a guest for the opening and ribbon cutting of the Community of Hope Administration building.
“My message is determination and the power to fight for your life,” Clark said. “My dad tried to kill me when my mom was seven months pregnant with me because he wanted her to get an abortion. I dealt with a number of child abuses growing up, so I’m a fighter. I have a mechanism where I won’t give up and eventually I fought so hard to reclaim the direction of my life so I would never let weakness destroy greatness again.”
After years of turmoil spawned from bouncing around the foster system coupled with fights with teachers, students and other figures of authority, Clark began to turn the tide in his early twenties.
The journey to prosperity started with forgiving himself for his circumstances and a renewed dedication to focus on the future, in favor of dwelling on his tumultuous past. By starting Fast Mortgage, his California-based company, success was in reach. He soon married and had children of his own.
But he yearned for people to know his struggles that included anger issues, an IQ deficit, a violent outlook and even a misdiagnosis of being mentally handicapped.
When he was still a young man prone to solving issues with his fists, Clark was also an aspiring rapper known in Northern California as White Diamond and Diamond D.
“I was a skater punk. I had horns, died my hair orange, and one day I was hanging out with my friend and I saw a group of people in a circle, and I thought, ‘fight,’” Clark said. “I walked over there and I saw two people battling each other, but not with punches, with lyrics.”
Clark joined in and was admittedly eviscerated. From then on, he wanted to write rhymes.
“Rap was the key to the master lock of my spirit,” Clark said. “It allowed me to let the inside out, fighting wasn’t working. It helped me act out poetry in motion, and I started with the pain of my past. I carried binders of my rhymes, I battled, and I still sucked.”
As time passed, he honed his craft and developed a “quick tongue,” spitting words out like a machine gun.
“Rap was the first way I could creatively express myself and get the pain out.”
Clark perservered and overcame despite his pain. With his “never give up” attitude, he wanted to share that with others.
Instead of rhymes though, he shared his story with his first book, “I Will Never Give Up,” in 2008, which went on to become a series of motivational books.
“I had kept the story inside for so long, and not many people in my life knew that I was even in foster care,” Clark said. “When I finally became vulnerable and said ‘this is who I am,’ I took the mask off. I made myself more human.”
Watch Derek’s Motivational Video “Everyone of You Has a Story. Don’t Let The Inner Me Become The Enemy”
Clark never pursued a record deal because of his burgeoning careers in other sectors, but White Diamond does emerge on occasion. In 2013, his children turned on the camera to witness their father’s skills and Rapping Dad was born into viral web history.
“We were just having fun in there, and all of a sudden I’m on WorldStar Hip-Hop, and referenced by Shaquille O’Neal on Twitter,” he said.
The subtext to his message is anything but silly as he often calls out prominent rappers like Lil Wayne, Kanye West and Drake for any negative connotations their songs carry.
“I want hip-hop hope,” Clark said. “I understand you’re going to put out your crap, but put out some hopeful stuff too. A lot of rappers aren’t saying anything these days, I’m very affectionate for the old days.”
Source for Original Article: Motivational Rapping Dad makes visit to Midland – MRT.com: Philanthropy
Written by Trent Johnson