Gary Clark Jr. says he is proof that stardom doesn’t protect you from racism. Born and raised in Austin, Texas, Clark says he’s still questioned about whether he belongs and if it’s possible that he owns his property, which includes a sprawling landscape with a pool and horse paddocks.
The Daily Mail says that Clark, who has collaborated with some of the top names in music and appeared on Saturday Night Live as a musical guest recently had an interaction with a neighbor that reminded him that some things haven’t changed,
Clark says that a neighbor approached him recently near his fifty acre Austin property and asked who owned the property, saying, “there’s no way you can live here.”
Clark says he tried to explain that this is where he lives with his wife, Australian model, Nicole Trunfio, and their two children, but the man kept repeating the question.
“Who owns this house? There’s no way you can live here – who’s the owner?”
He says that his son, who is three, asked why the man was so angry.
“Maybe it wasn’t racial… But in my mind I was thinking of that and I’m tired of having to think that way.”
The singer says that it’s experiences like this which contributed to his new, soon-to-be-released album This Land.
Gary Clark Jr. Finds the Right Words, As Well as Solos, on New Album https://t.co/47qRD64LGW
— Variety (@Variety) February 22, 2019
Clark says that growing up in Texas, getting “dog s**t” in the mailbox was a regular thing and people writing the N-word on the family’s fence was a regular occurrence, and those experiences combined with watching the aftermath of the Charlottesville rally really helped shape his album and lyrics.
“Paranoid and p***ed off. Now that I got the money. Fifty acres and a model. Right in the middle of Trump country. I see you looking out your window. Can’t wait to call the police on me. I’m America’s son. This is where I come from.”
Clark told Rolling Stone that he sees the album as anti-racist, but it’s still an emotional topic. He says in working on the album, he made several pilgrimages to the Lorraine Motel, the site of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., which is now a civil rights museum, and it made him think about his own struggle in comparison to men like King, and he is grateful.
Clark says that for all of those who came before him, he thinks the least he can do is thank them for their sacrifices and for his ability to have the microphone to convey a message of peace with his words and his songs.