It’s not top secret information that The Real Housewives of Atlanta star Phaedra Parks is seen by many as problematic.
Her role on the reality show was often southern belle, queen of the quips and the shadiest (peach) tree you could find south of the Mason Dixon line. But there’s something many of us Black folks say on repeat: We are not a monolith.
Black people are often portrayed as one thing, especially those we consume on salacious reality TV shows, but we are more than that. In Phaedra’s own words, “Black women are mosaic. We are diverse in nature.”
And as such, during Essence Festival’s first day of the Empowerment Experience — which included interviews and panels from activists, celebrities and more — we got the chance to experience the mosaic that is Phaedra Parks. Here are all the surprising and beautiful colors that make up the parts of Phaedra that we may not be well acquainted with.
She Gives Back:
Phaedra has two biological children, but she takes care of so many. She has sent 150 kids to overnight camp with YMCA. She also recently brought these to Atlanta for a college tour.
The Phaedra Foundation serves the community and specifically Black men through her Save Our Sons initiative. Phaedra says, “Black men have toughest role in the United States and we cannot remain silent. Save Our Sons provides youth with resources and life-skills to ensure academic, social and intellectual success.
Both of Phaedra’s parents are minister, so faith has always been an important factor in her life. She told the ESSENCE crowd that she walks by faith and not by fear. “No matter what happens, if God never does anything else for me, I have three houses, a plethora of cars, two children, great parents, I’m proud and beautiful.”
Phaedra says that The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan is her mentor and has been teaching her the principles of the Nation of Islam over the last 10 years. “Yes, 10,000 fearless,” Phaedra replied to the audience member who screamed “10,000 fearless!” after she expressed her devotion to the Nation.
She’s Into Politics:
“I love politics!” Phaedra said when asked about running for office. Then she revealed that running for political office was definitely in her future because people are looking for something new. “People want a new voice and I can lend my voice to that.”
Phaedra ended her Empowerment chat with a quotable that made the audience boisterously agree in unison. She said, “In order to be your best self, take care of yourself. Become a fountain and not a drink.” Those may be the types of gems you’ll find in Phaedra’s future book. She shared she’s working on a book and after that nugget, we’re ready to read it!