Phaedra Parks on Black History Month: 'If We Can’t Get 40 Acres and a Mule, At Least Give Us February'

Photo by Joslyn Blair
The Real Housewives of Atlanta star stopped by ESSENCE, where she discussed everything from Beyoncé to Black pride.

Phaedra Parks is not here for people’s Black History Month ignorance.

The Real Housewives of Atlanta star is an avid social justice activist—during last year’s Million Man March, she had an untelevised four-hour interview with Louis Farrakhan—and she wants to make sure that the Black community’s voices are not being undermined.

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“What is wrong with being proud?” Parks asked ESSENCE. “I think people confuse the term proud and prejudice…Because I’m pro-Black does not mean that I’m anti-White. Because I want to celebrate my culture does not mean that I don’t appreciate yours.”

That’s a sentiment that she applies to Beyoncé’s Super Bowl performance, which has resulted in many people saying that her show was an “attack on police” and compared the Black Panther-inspired routine to a Ku Klux Klan glorification.

Though Parks thinks that the backlash is asinine, she praises Queen Bey’s bravery.

“I thought it was very courageous of Beyoncé,” she said. “…Everyone else can celebrate their accomplishments. Everyone else can celebrate their special holidays. When we, as people of color, celebrate what’s important to us, we’re seen in a negative light.”

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But society’s opinions shouldn’t quiet our own, she says. Which is precisely why she thinks that having—and owning—Black History Month is so imperative. 

“We have grown this country, and we still have not got our 40 acres and mule, and we won’t,” she said. “When I see [Beyoncé] doing that, I’m like, ‘We can’t get the mule and the 40 acres; give us at least the 28 days of February.’ Give us a little something.” 

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