Though it may be a stretch, when you think of Lee Clark Allen, I ask that you think of Clark Kent from the legendary Superman series. Before swiping the page, please check out his journey of achieving his milestone of choosing influences over temporary success; it’s the American story from rags to riches!
Becoming a college graduate was one of my great contributions to the family and community legacy!
When having siblings younger than you, you either recognize your role as a trailblazer or you don’t. My younger siblings were watching me as I had been watching my older brother. My parents’ perseverance and drive to ensure that each child was well-educated and a respectful citizen set forth the belief that I could excel at Westminster College (Fulton, MO), which was very different from my predominantly black hard-to-serve high school [John L. McClellan HS] in Little Rock, AR. From my recollection, both of my parents had earned their Associate degrees; yet, due to their commitment to their children’s development, they responsibly accepted their roles of breadwinners, which propelled them into the workforce during a time in which having a Bachelor’s degree was not the great catalyst to success: routine, gradual professional ascent, and choice were catalysts. Because they had valued the development of our minds and characters, I was able to flourish in various educational settings.
I graduated from Westminster College (Fulton, MO) as a double major in English and Music, published poet, concert pianist and singer-songwriter, Dean’s List recipients, Elementary Japanese Language writer and reader, and an award-winning collegiate football athlete! Showing my siblings and community this level of success, it truly paved the way for greater feats in my family and community. Ultimately, as a musician/artist, I wanted fans to believe in the importance of cultivating their mind and character, whether that be in college or outside of it! Think, read, and communicate well, those are your tickets to living well!
“I turned down two professional Arena Football invitations in order to become an advocate of education and of healthy family relationships.”
Athletically, I knew I had a crazy, healthy work ethic and limitless talent, but I didn’t know how talented I was in sports until I spotted a buddy in the weight room after being a year removed from sports! For the sports fanatics, I ran a 4.36 40 yard dash as a collegiate cornerback; muscle endurance and arm strength assist with those speeds. One summer day during a workout, my buddy and I were bench-pressing, and we had 225 pounds on the bar.
Jokingly, I told my buddy, “Let me show you how to do it!” Shockingly, did I show him and myself?! I had lifted 225 pounds 19 times consecutively with ease, being a year removed from competitive sports. Jokingly, my buddy, JJJ, was livid, because he had me by some pounds. He and I thought it was a scam, so I laid down and lifted 225 pounds 20 more times consecutively.
That’s when my world shattered, and doubt consumed me!
Luckily, Coach John Welty was present to level me out. Before that experience, I had shared desires to attend grad school instead of pursuing a professional sport career with friends. Stereotypically, they felt I was more suited for professional sports; in their minds, wanting the best for me was doing what would come easiest or most natural to me. My physical performance in the weight room had me pondering, “Should I perpetuate the stereotype that African American males are only suited to excel at physical tasks opposed to mental tasks?” Thank God for coach, who quickly encouraged me that I had made the right decision in hanging up my shoes. He reminded me that I’m building a legacy of influence [which could land me an invitation to the Grammy’s], and that my display of ox-like strength was more of a testament of my grit and willpower to shatter everyone’s negative expectations of me.
The major hurdle I had overcome in college involved my relationship with my father.
By the time I had entered college, my parents had been divorced from some years. My respect for my father, at that time, was pretty low, but still he wanted to be involved in my life. The ultimate butt-head moment we faced was not accepting those two professional football invitations. It had been easier to tell a stranger no than it was to tell my parents, “Stay in your lanes.” Playing professional sports would have damaged the relationship between my father and I. Therefore, when I realized that our relationship was breaking through the clouds, I chose my dad over quick money and no college degree.
Staying Out of My Comfort Zone…
Musically, my father and little brother, Isaac [I spared revealing his codename that I mostly call him], have been crucial in my artistic development as a singer-songwriter! Therefore, in resolving issues with my father [divine intervention lol because I wasn’t having it], my father keeps me out of my comfort zone in which allows me to grow expediently–or demonstrate that ox-like strength in mental fortitude. After graduating and attending grad school, I became a Community College English Professor/Curriculum Designer and a Public School Educator, published writer, author of a book of poetry [unpublished], etc. Becoming a trailblazer had helped me understand that my choices are my choices and that I am one of a kind. Importantly, great joy arises from accepting who you are and cultivating that self to enlarge its influence. As an emerging American Soul and Jazz singer-songwriter [and educator], my mantra is: be open to feedback; expand your comfort zone; leave crumbs on your trail to keep from losing yourself.
Looking back at your journey, is there anything you would do differently?
Taking out less student loans! lolololol Or raising a big enough fit so that my mom would have no choice but to have sent me to Booker T. Washington Art school, rather than Booker T. Washington Magnet School. Yet, I’ve been digging this view!
How do you stay focused and balance creating with life..
Prayer, exercise, me time, and honesty with myself on how I’m doing or on how I’ve been coping with the behind the scene endeavors that are needed to grow your influence in the music industry! I love so many artists and I superficially respected them. Now, I wholeheartedly respect them because of how deep I have gotten myself into this music!
CAN YOU BELIEVE, I FINANCED MY ENTIRE FIRST ALBUM AND ALL THE OTHER GOLD NUGGETS THAT COME WITH IT!
What does the song say, “Work work work work work!” Overall, having that opportunity to finalize a product or musical journey that would influence tons of people to feel freely, express freely, and love abundantly keeps going!
More on this artist:
Lee Clark Allen on Being Vulnerable and Honest http://lsh.re/1ODNR