Parks has gone from negotiating legal issues for high-profile clients like Bobby Brown and Slip-N-Slide Records, to winning over viewers with hilarious clichés and upstart Southern traditions.
A semi-newlywed –- she wed younger husband Apollo Nida a year and a half ago –- and new mom, firstborn son Ayden Adonis Nida will celebrate his first birthday in May; Parks was a perfect addition to the sextet of Georgia peaches who make up Atlanta's 'Real Housewives' cast.
BlackVoices.com sat down with the super-sassy managing partner of The Parks Group boutique law firm at the posh Four Seasons Hotel in Atlanta, and while sipping on Blackberry mimosas –- our own version of her infamous Sip-N-See –- Parks shared some insight on her life, while offering legal perspective on some high-profile personalities.
You represented one of entertainment's most notorious bad boys, Bobby Brown. How would you deal with Charlie Sheen if he were your client?
Damage control! Charlie Sheen is such a marketable force. He's gonna get out of this trouble and he will be back. He's like the cat with nine lives. I would just be doing damage control and repackaging him. Anyone that knows me knows that I have worked with some very uncontrollable clients and been successful with them. I think controlling the client has more to do with making the client respect you as a professional and making them believe and trust in you. I think when you get anyone's trust they will follow your direction -- as long as they're sober now. When they're drunk, you can't make them do anything. If you can sober them up, the sky's the limit. Charlie Sheen is a bad boy, and unfortunately, everybody loves a bad boy. He's obviously on something –- I don't know what it is –- but whatever it is has caused him to have more popularity. I don't watch that 'Two and a Half Men' show, but because of all the recent publicity, if he gets a new show I think it would do double the ratings of that show because he is in the media and people love to see a train wreck.
What about Lindsay Lohan? How would you approach her current legal situation?
Lindsay Lohan, unfortunately, embodies the worst of what we know about child stars. I have been very familiar with her from the Nickelodeon tour. I have followed her career as a professional when she did a movie with one of my great friend Jane Fonda, 'Georgia Rule,' about four or five years ago. I believe Lindsay is making a turnaround. If you look at the careers of Drew Barrymore they had some issues, but they came back. I believe Lindsay will come back as well. Now it's just about making her insurable, keeping her clean, making her look clean and just getting her a new job.
Is she going to jail for this latest incident with the stolen necklace?
She's gonna go, but just because you go to jail doesn't mean you're gonna stay. She might go, but to be honest going to jail for white prominent people has helped their careers. Look at Martha Stewart or Paris Hilton. Going to jail is not always a bad thing for a white woman. It can actually raise her stock a little bit.
Former WWE wrestler Shad Gaspard is accusing Columbus, Oh., police of racially profiling him and abuse of power after being arrested while there for the Arnold Classic. Would you take on a case like that?
Thank you, come on in and I'll leave the light on for you! I would be delighted! First of all, while we have definitely progressed as black people, there's still racism. Black men have an unfair amount of racism to be distinguished from black women. Black men, because of size and complexion, can be more intimidating than any other race of people. Because I am a practitioner and because 98% of my clients are black men, I know they are unfairly targeted. I know that driving while being black can be a high risk. I know that being black and unattractive can cause you more harm than help. It exists, and I think in the United States we are not having a fluid dialogue about racism and race relations, and even within our own community, we have people distinguishing us between different complexions. We target ourselves sometimes by not patronizing and not giving black professionals a chance. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy, but that being said, there is police brutality against black people. It's not the same as it was during the Civil Rights era. It's still present, but it's subliminal, and I think people need to realize that. We have a black president, and he's been disrespected more than any other president in the history of this country. He's not being disrespected for any other reason than being black. It is no time we would ever think we could speak to a president or talk about a president like we're talking about him or even question him. We have allowed our highest office to be derogated because it's being held by a black man. You have to realize that and acknowledge it. It's a 1981 case which is federal racism so I would love that case. All that any good attorney has to do is prove that there is a pattern of misconduct targeted toward people of color.
What are your thoughts on the legal scandal with Bishop Eddie Long, since it's a story set in Atlanta?
First of all, I'm very good friends with the attorney [for the accusers] B.J. Bernstein. She's an excellent practitioner. We have traveled abroad a few times. I know her to be a stand-up woman. I know that she would never take a case that doesn't have merit. She would never entertain a frivolous matter. I love the Lord and I'm a preacher's daughter -- my mama and daddy are pastors. I know that things happen in the church with ministers and pastors. At the end of the day, they're people, and I don't think we can turn our heads and have a blind eye to what's really going on. I think any child being assaulted by any person in power needs to be addressed and dealt with accordingly. Their allegations have never been denied and you have to pay to play. Either pay up or shut up, and zip it up and get it out of people's mouth.
What is your take on attorney Gloria Allred? She's always in the media and seems to be associated with some highly publicized legal case.
She's a formidable attorney. She does her thing, and she gets her money. She doesn't take a case unless it's got some money. I think she's known for getting that case that's going to garner great publicity. Sometimes if you take anything because you want to get your publicity on, it can damage you. If you just look at her track record, I think she's a good attorney. She's giving women the representation they need when our male counterparts and colleagues might not take that case. She will take them and do them justice. As a woman, I know that there's a lot of cases I would take because I know it's a woman, but for me, she might not get the proper representation and I understand women because I am a woman. I think she does do that and she does it well so hats off to her.
On the 'Real Housewives of Atlanta' reunion, you spoke about getting into the funeral business. How are those plans coming along?
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