The More You Read
Los Angeles Actor & Writer, Clark Backo's IGTV series & Podcast
“The More You Read,” started by the wonderfully talented LA-based actor and writer Clark Backo - is an IGTV series , and podcast that uses books to talk about the Black experience and race relations. Find out more about Clark, some of the books she’s read during quarantine and the importance of allies ‘pulling up’ below!
Collective Culture - Tell us a bit about yourself? What do you do and where does your creative experience come from?
Clark - I am an all-around storyteller, originally inspired by my Cameroonian Pops’ persistent storytelling both through his music and the countless children’s tales he creates and acts out. His name is Njacko Backo and he’s the best — just give him a quick Google search and you’ll be in love with him too.
My main avenue through which I express my creativity is acting and more recently, I have delved into creating as a writer.
CC - What is The More You Read and what inspired you to start it?
CB - When the Black Lives Matter movement first really exploded after the murder of George Floyd, I was extremely overwhelmed, and so I turned to reading. As I read Ijeoma Oluo’s So You Want To Talk About Race, I thought, “Wow, everyone needs to read this and understand this.” And so, I decided to start The More You Read, which is a series where different guests come on to read an excerpt of a book that centres around the Black experience and race relations. It is an educational tool as well as a safe space for conversations surrounding race. I truly believe that the more you read, the more you know, the more you can change.
CC - In the first episode, you discuss Ijeoma Oluo’s book So You Want to Talk About Race. What are some other books you’ve read during the pandemic that has helped you cope with the current social climate and/or moved and inspired you? And why?
In all honesty, I’m a slow ass reader, which is another reason I started The More You Read — I wanted to get a glimpse into other books while I slowly moved through my list!
I did read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz during quarantine, and that has been a life-changer. It has pushed me into a beautiful and terrifying self-realizing journey that has ultimately helped me develop tools that are helping me process today’s tumultuous social climate and my place in it.
I’m now reading Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi: a historical fiction novel that travels through generations of an Asante family — from slavery to contemporary times. I’m only about 70 pages in, and I’m already in love. Reading it I feel more connected to my ancestors than ever. Which is both heartbreaking and absolutely enlightening.
CC - So far, what have you learned from this project?
CB - The main thing I’ve learned is the importance of conversation. Having open dialogue about race is the beginning of healing, learning, and pushing forward. But, it can’t stop there. The slogan for The More You Read is, “Knowledge changes the mind, action changes the world.” It doesn’t matter how much we talk about it if we aren’t willing to bring our learnings back into our everyday lives. I want to specifically highlight white people here — If you want to be, or call yourself an ally, then prove it. Or, as Rihanna once said, “pull up.”
CC - What do you hope to take away from this series? What do you hope others will take away from it? (feel free to only answer on of these if you want)
CB - I hope people will be curious enough to start reading and educating themselves -- that they will be impassioned. The onus is not on the Black community to do the work for you. People — white people — have to step up and understand that this is their problem. I hope people understand that the fight is really, very simple. We are human beings too. We are worthy. Fight because you believe that to be true.
CC - Where can people watch, follow, and keep up to date with you and The More You Read?
CB - Ya’ll can keep up to date with me, myself, and The More You Read @clarkb. The series also has it’s very own IG @themoreyou_read. And, you can listen to the podcast here!
Clark Backo - The More You Read