By Shanderia K. Posey
With plans to celebrate the accomplishments of five African-American women celebrities native to Mississippi, the first Boss Lady Diamond Gala is set for 6 p.m. Oct. 8, at the Mississippi Grammy Museum in Cleveland.
The women to be honored are Actress Cassie Davis, American Idol first-runnerup LaPorsha Renea, Mary Parker, a multimillionaire CEO; Mablean Ephriam, reality TV judge; and Monica Parker, a producer for Steve Harvey.
Having the gala was the brainchild of Pam Chatman, the first African-American woman to become a news director for a television station in Mississippi when she worked for WABG-TV in Greenville starting in 1998. Chatman is the founder of Boss Lady and now works as a motivational speaker, community advocate and business consultant.
Through her business, she offers self-worth programs for girls titled “I Am a Diamond” and programs for women titled “Diamond in the Rough.” “I felt it was important to try to bring back women from Mississippi, particularly African-American women, to share their stories to empower and educate others,” Chatman said.
“Who better to bring back than these black ladies.” Chatman began thinking about having the event some two years ago. At the time she was in the midst of back and forth travel between the Delta and Los Angeles exploring all sorts of Hollywood opportunities. She was also working on a reality show called “Breaking Greenville,” which was filmed in Greenville. Since then she has made appearances on “The Today Show” and “The Talk.”
Being from the South, she says she faced some judgment on exactly what she could offer. But when people heard her speak, she said they told her, “You speak with power.” Chatman says she eventually earned the nickname “The New Oprah of the South” as people often gravitate toward her for general advice about life questions.
She’s now under contract with RKD Management in Los Angeles as a motivational speaker and actor. She’s currently working on a new reality show to be filmed in the Delta called “Mississippi Boss Lady.”
Interviews for cast members will begin in November. During the gala, each honoree will share their stories of success. Seven Delta residents, who Chatman calls “Glass Ceiling Breakers” will also be honored. They are Nicole and Victoria Watkins, twin sisters; Freddie White Johnson, Mable Starks, Clara Reed, Trina George and Sade Turnipseed. Chatman will also be honored during the gala when Congressman Bennie Thompson inducts her into the Congressional Records of History.
Tickets for the black-tie affair are $50. For more information, contact Chapman at (662) 588-2019.