#MakeYourselfKnown: Jamael Clark The Makar
“Universities and colleges are having problems with the student enrollment and retaining students who have immeasurable gifts and talents. They do not have the opportunities or platforms to expose them,”said the strident founder and brainchild of Impact Makars Jamael Clark. It is one of few founding reasons Clark established such a prestigious organization at Northern Illinois University (NIU). Yet, Clark happens to be one of those students whom at one time “did not have a purpose in life. I did not know I had the gift of spoken word until given the opportunity to rock the microphone center stage.”
Spoken word is a lifestyle for Clark perceiving poetry as a way of life. “There is poetry to everything from cooking to the art of getting dress. It is about self-expression and presentation,”expressed an enthusiastic Clark. “I visualize poetry as a piece of art. Words are like pixels to a painting.”Poetry gives him a sense of enlightment. Clark views poetry at a discrete angle and the world from a unique perspective. “Poetry, like art, allows me to become conscious of societal ills that coexist and tackle issues that need to be solved.”There is nothing more fulfilling for a poet like Clark when “an audience conveys the literal meaning behind my poetry and empowers others to discover their form of poetry from within.”This self-fulfillment gave him foresight to fashion his own spoken word organization.
“My friend who went to France had a dream of spoken word talent wearing shirts with an imprint of a certain brand and logo. I pondered on the significance of that dream and what it meant for my organization.”Clark meditated on the concept of expansion and not reducing the organization to only spoken word. “I want to incorporate and showcase a variety of artforms.”What was originally called NIU Spoken Word is now aptly titled Impact Makars. Makar, spelled differently, means maker, creative artist, or poet. The word impact is greatly suited for the name of the newly formed organization “to show we are trying to make an impression and influence on campus and the world with our art.”
Clark, with starry eyes continues, “I want to produce vast opportunities for students and young adults to stimulate inspiration on what they feel passionate about.”The change in mission statement for Impact Makars derived from maturity; change of heart, foremost his experiences as a student in Northern University Illinois. “I used to be interested in having a career that would generate me great amount of income. However, money causes blindness and a void in life.”Clark felt that discovering his passion would give his life new meaning. “Academic advisors would tell me and other students to take certain courses to graduate and intern at a company of interest in order to be successful. I do not want students to similarly go through what I endured as a student and major in a career that will make their lives miserable.”He regrets hearing the opinions of others that dissuade him in not only to pursue a career as an authentic writer but the potential to lift Impact Makars off from ground. “My faith lacked but I questioned would I be able to passionately pursue my creative endeavors without money being a factor of motivation?”Without a doubt, Clark realized Impact Makars was meant to take formation.
“I want the masses of different cultures to be empowered and transformed through my organization in being unique beings contributing to change. I want for them to have a sense of belonging and provide a platform of creative expression.”That change begins with the collaboration between Impact Makars and One Hope United in bringing child abuse awareness. Metaphorically, “our organizations are like gardeners planting seeds.”These seeds are symbolic of the youth. “The children are our future and it is not only important to reach out, but to protect them from worldly dangers,” laments Clark. He suggests to nurture and care for the youth who lack inspiration foremost hope, filled with hatred, doubt, and negativity. With the Go Blue campaign, “it is our goal to design blue T-shirts with a powerful message regarding child abuse for students to wear on campus and throughout.”The issue will not grow neglected because “children do not have the opportunity to heal, grow, and foster into beautiful human beings.”
Empowerment is something Jamael Clark would like to be remembered for. “If I were to die this very minute, I would like to be remembered by the masses as someone who encouraged lives for the betterment of students and of Northern Illinois University as a university.”He desires the talents and creativity of individuals to be valued. “Sometimes people do not feel wanted and I want for them to know that they are valued. I want for them to realize this is an opportunity for them.”Clark hopes his organization can help others find that passion and have a vision for what they want to do with their lives. “I want for them not to give up and to surround themselves with people who share that similar vision to plant the seeds of opportunity.”Competitiveness is something neither Clark nor Impact Makars thrive on. “I am my own competition and desire for my organization to symbolize something meaningful with purpose.”