Broadway actor Dwayne Clark, who was born in Newark, has been hard at work as he and his wife Janeece are helping their kids, Jana and DJ, deal with on-line school instruction while schools are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Clark has also launched a children's book series based on his experiences with his children and family.
Clark, who has appeared in many hit Broadways shows like The Color Purple, Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark, Rent and Tarzan the Musical, met his wife Janeece Freeman Clark during the Broadway production of Urinetown. The live in South Orange and help run the Vanguard Theater Company.
Dwayne Clark spoke to WBGO News Director Doug Doyle about the books, his new inspirational podcast and how his family is coping with the coronavirus pandemic.
The first book is titled One on One and is the story of a father shoring his live of basketball with his son DJ. DJ learns about hostory and fundamentals of basketball while gaining the self-discipline that can help him succeed in all areas of life.
"I played basketball the majority of my life. I had the dream like every boy from Newark and Irvington of getting into the NBA and at some point I realized that wasn't going to happen. But I still had a great foundation that I took with me in my professional life. So because DJ and his friends are learning the game I thought to share our experience. We do watch a lot of basketball games. We do talk about the history of the game. And then just a lot of the players that inspired me. We start with Dr. J. (Julius Erving) of course, and we go into Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar) and Magic (Johnson) and Michael Jordan of course and the a lot of the players that he loves like Seth (Curry), LeBron (James) and Kyrie (Irving) and Shaq (Shaquille O'Neal), so its him telling his friends about his love of basketball and what we share as father and son."
DJ's older sister Jada got her own book too, Me, My Mom and My First Violin, which tells the story of how Jada's artistic family supported and influenced her musical career, and the dedication and commitment it takes to be successful.
"I know that she loves the violin. I know that she's gifted. He mother came up to her one day and said 'Jada, I think you should play the violin.' Jada was like 2 and a half. Janeece kind of had this vision. So Janeece found a teacher for her. Miss Amy (Beshara) shows up at the door and she's this vibrant teacher with a lot of energy. Miss Amy comes in and they have their first lesson and Jada began to like it."
Clark says all of the books in the series encourage children to follow their dreams and apply what they learn to achieve success even at an early age. He stresses there's a need for more books that portray African American families in a positive way.
Future books in the Clark Family series will involved a family trip to visit their grandparents, their aunt's beauty shop and the enpowerment of theater.
The motivational speaker, who is posting exercise-related videos for everyone on a daily bases on Facebook, has also developed a new podcast series called "Inspirations by Dwayne".
Click above to hear more about Dwayne Clark's new projects.