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Grammy Award Winning Artist Tena Clark Visits Off Square Books in Light of LGBT History Month

By Talbert Toole
Lifestyles Editor

Tena Clark is a native of Waynesboro, Mississippi. She was discovered by Steve Wonder, who mentored her in Hollywood. Photo provided.

Following the opening ceremony of LGBTQ History Month Tuesday, Oct. 2, Off Square Books hosts musical writer and producer Tena Clark at 5 p.m.

Born in Waynesboro, Mississippi in 1953, Clark’s resumé of accomplishments is far from average. She has worked with some of the most recognizable and successful musicians in the business such as Patti LaBelle, Aretha Franklin and Natalie Cole.

She began her musical journey in rural Mississippi as a drummer and musical engineer until she was discovered by legendary musician Stevie Wonder. 

Aside from her works with notable artists and musicians, Clark is also a civil rights activist who helped lead the movement for women’s rights. Founder of Vday.org—a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls—Eve Ensler asked Clark to write and produce the theme song, “Break the Chain,” for the One Billion Rising organization.

Clark has now taken a step into the literary world by writing her first memoir, “Southern Discomfort,” which will be published this October.

“Southern Discomfort” is Clark’s first book describing her childhood of growing up in the rural south.

The book describes Clark’s life growing up in the rural South surrounded by her broken family. Her sisters trained to be beauty queens and majorettes, but Clark wanted marry a beauty queen or a majorette.

Clark’s first stop on her book tour is right here in Oxford at Off Square Books. Clark said she is looking forward to visiting the place where her story originated—Mississippi.

“[Mississippi] will always hold a very deep and special place in my heart, which played such an important role in shaping who I am today,” she said.

In light of LGBT History Month, Clark’s arrival makes it an even more personal, special trip for the now author.

“I’m happy to be coming home at a time when it’s more important than ever to remind ourselves that tolerance, acceptance and love are the most special gifts we can give to one another,” she said.

For more information on Tena Clark, visit her website.

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