My name is Aimee Parker. I was born and raised in southern Louisiana. I moved to Arizona a few years ago where I am currently pursuing my second degree at attend Arizona State University. I really appreciate my southern roots because as a black southern woman you really come to learn about your roots as an African-American. I remember as a child my entire community including friends, family, and teachers constantly reminded us of the great black heroes that came before us. The ones who shattered and broke the glass ceiling so that I can be in the position that I stand in today freely. They instill in you the importance of knowing who you are and where you come from so that you know where you are going in life. My grandmother always told me “When you are 80 years old and God is about to call you home, in that moment that you reflect on all you have done in your life, if you have changed the life of at least one person on this earth, then you can rest knowing you did a job well done.” That saying has always stuck with me and that is why I constantly strive to help those who are in need and change the lives of those who need to be changed and I just so happen to do that through pageantry.
I am the head director of the Miss Black Arizona USA Pageant along with my partner, executive director, Angelique Jones. We are the premier pageant for women of color. The Miss Black Arizona USA pageant provides women of color ranging from ages 14-27 the opportunity to attend college by competing in our scholarship pageant and winning scholarship funds to assist them with covering the increasingly high costs of college tuition within the state of Arizona. We provide the young women with one on one workshops leading all the way up to pageant weekend, focusing on self-esteem, confidence, interview skills, resume building skills, and the importance of knowing your worth. These workshops provide these women with the necessary skills they will need in order to succeed not on the pageant stage but on the stage called life. We instill in our girls the importance of success as a woman of color and provide them with the necessary tools to be just that, a success. We refer to our pageant as the stepping stone into life.
When did I get started and why I do what I do?
I got started into the world of pageantry at the very young age of 9. I received an invite in the mail from a pageant and I remember opening it up and asking my mom if she could enter me into it because I wanted to be a princess like the girls on tv, and over decade later I have walked away with over 8 pageant titles starting from my pre-teen years. One thing that really drew me to pageantry was the skills that I started to obtain. Skills such as oral and communication skills, how to properly dress and conduct myself in an interview setting, and the importance of giving back to my community. Living in Arizona I felt the African American community (especially women) lacked places to go for those type of resources and I felt could provide those resources while doing something I loved and something that actually helped women that looked like me. Coming from a very close knit place like Louisiana to Arizona, I was shocked by how spread out the black community was in Arizona and I wanted to be a part of something that would bring the black community together. I wanted to erase the image some women of color had of pageantry by allowing them to compete in a system that was created by us for us. After finding the Miss Black USA system which was founded in 1986 by Karen Arrington, and completing my own reign as Miss Black Arizona USA 2015, I took the role of director so that I could do just that. The Miss Black USA system prides itself on providing educational opportunities to outstanding young women of color and to develop the “whole woman mind, body, and spirit of the African American woman, which is something most definitely needed in Arizona. Miss Black Arizona USA is stepping stone for women of color to begin their debut into pageantry without feeling like their unique beauty will be overlooked or not noticed.
Visit https://www.facebook.com/MissBlackAZUSA for more information.