Atiba Clarke is not your typical Brooklyn author. At just 20 years old, he has undergone sixteen surgeries to combat cerebral palsy, which he was diagnosed with as a baby. Despite being largely confined to a wheelchair, Clarke has resolved not to allow his physical limitations thwart his ambitions. A longtime fan of Beyoncé, he approached his dream to meet the superstar with similar perseverance.
Six years ago, Clarke purchased backstage passes to a Beyoncé concert. Upon his arrival, he learned his name was not on the list. At another concert, he waited for hours outside in the hopes of meeting Beyoncé, but was again unsuccessful.
Eventually, Clarke reached out to Stevie Rutherford, an independent coach who suggested that he share his wisdom and tenacity by writing down his life story. This past summer, the debut author published “Unexpected Words from a Gifted Angel” (released by Tate Publishing), hoping to bring his story to Beyoncé’s attention.
Clarke revealed his wish to The Grant Angel Wishes and Travel Foundation, Inc., which coordinated the long-awaited introduction to Beyoncé at a recent performance in Brooklyn. “It’s been a long, long time since I’ve been trying to meet Beyoncé, and the book really helped me out and made my dream come true,” Clarke told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
“I told her that meeting her has always been a dream of mine and that I wrote a book to put myself out there just to meet her,” Clarke said. “I am so proud of you,” Beyoncé told Clarke as he handed her a book.
In addition to fulfilling his dream of meeting Beyoncé, Clarke enjoyed front-row seats to the show. Beyoncé further acknowledged their bond as she held the mic out to Clarke to sing during two of the songs. Clarke has expressed that he will never forget this moment and hopes that his book will inspire others in the same way Beyoncé has motivated him.
“Unexpected Words from a Gifted Angel” is available for purchase at tatepublishing.com/bookstore.
Clarke will appear in Brooklyn for a book launch party and signing on Oct. 12 at Excyte Hall (5507 Glenwood Rd.) The event will begin at 6 p.m. and books will be available for purchase. Food and drinks will be served.