Public relations chief executive Priscilla Clarke was born on August 3, 1960 in Swindon, England to Dorothy Sharples, a white Englishwoman, and Gilbert Clarke, an African American stationed in the United Kingdom. The family moved to Springfield, Massachusetts when she was an infant. Her parents divorced when she was six, and Clarke split her time between their homes in Springfield, Massachusetts and Windsor, Connecticut, graduating from Windsor High School in 1978. Clarke attended Western New England College, where she majored in political science, but left school to give birth to her first daughter.
Clarke moved to Maryland, where she owned and managed a health food store in Gaithersburg, Maryland from 1988 to 2001. After selling the store, she embarked on a career in television production, taking classes at Fairfax Public Access (FPA) in Fairfax, Virginia to become a certified television producer. In the course of job hunting, she met the producers of Def Comedy Jam and began handling the merchandising for the comedy shows. She discovered that she enjoyed doing publicity and enrolled at Columbia Union College in Takoma Park, Maryland to study communications and business.
In 2003, she launched Clarke & Associates in Washington, D.C., where she is currently the president and CEO. Specializing in public relations, event planning, entertainment and media relations, Clarke’s clients have included Black Entertainment Television (BET), the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the National Medical Association, the National Council of Negro Women, the Urban League, Boys and Girls Club of America, and Tuskegee Institute. Shaquille O’Neal, Beyonce Knowles, the late Johnny Cochran and Robert Townsend are among her celebrity clients. In 2003, Clarke was named one of the “Fifty Influential Minorities in Business” by the Minority Business & Professionals Network, Inc. In 2006, Clarke received the Black Press All-Star Award for Publicist of the Year.
Clarke is the mother of three children, Huda, Ilyas, and Qasin Mumin.
Clarke was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 10, 2006.