AmaZe sat down with Pam Chatman, the first African American News Director in the state of Mississippi as well as the first African American woman to serve as News Director Manager for WABG.
[AmaZe] Pam, tell us about your role at WABG...
[Pam] It is a dream come true to be placed in the history records in the state of Mississippi for becoming the first African American Woman News Director. And it is certainly an honor to be given the opportunity to be a moving force and history maker in the broadcasting industry by the Bahakel Broadcasting Company. I consider each of these opportunities as a blessing. It gives this small town country girl the opportunity to leave a legacy for all African American women as well as the opportunity to prove that dreams do come true (Yes, with hard work and determination).
[AmaZe] What have been the challenges?
[Pam] Being that I am a small town country girl, many people have questioned my decisions concerning my career paths and goals, as well as my dreams in the industry. Many of those questions were brought up because my few years in the industry as well my 'full size.' People would always walk up to me and say you are a beautiful woman but, you're heavy.
[AmaZe] What has been the most rewarding part of your career?
[Pam] The most rewarding part of my career has been that the world now accepts me the way that I am (BOLD, yet HUMBLE, CURVY yet BEAUTIFUL). It is a blessing to be given the opportunity to be happy with who I am as well as an inspiration to other full-figured women who aspire to be a part of the broadcasting industry.
[AmaZe] Tell us about your new book, I Made It Through The Storm. What compelled you to write it?
[Pam] The book is a self healing book for women that encourages them to, "Love thyself first" and to get in touch with their inner woman. Every woman you know goes through a storm, or may even be in the midst of one right now! The storms are sometimes brought about because of their size, race or financial situation. Even though we all come from different backgrounds, cities and countries, we all still have something in common, and that is we all go through storms in life.
[AmaZe] What do you think makes a great role model and who are some of yours?
[Pam] When you can look in the mirror and say to yourself, "I am a woman of beauty and strength. I am a woman who demands respect and will not be used for your footstool. I am woman that is different and unique because of my size, style and grace. So stare if you must, but know that what you see is the best of me."
Oprah Winfrey and Star Jones are two women who inspired me to believe at an early age that you can achieve anything in life if you want it bad enough.
[AmaZe] Have you felt it was 'worth the struggle' to speak for the masses on body image? Is it different in various ethnicities or do all women have the same impact on wanting to be "the perfect weight, height, look, etc?"
[Pam] Most definitely, I think through my speaking engagements I have touched or inspired women who are struggling with their body image to be happy with themselves and strive to become the best that they can be. I don't think that it is different in various ethnicities and I think that all women have the same impact on wanting to be "the perfect weight, height, and look." Yes, I do think the media has played a major role in the way people look at themselves as far as their weight, height and appearances, but society has also played a huge role in making women feel that the standard of a woman must be a measured in the numbers 36-24-36.
[AmaZe] How do you see the body image conversation changing in media and magazine publishing and have you seen change?
[Pam] The conversation about body image is becoming a more acceptable subject in the media as well as in the magazine world. Now more than ever, curves are on televison as well as on the front covers of magazines. Full-figured women are stepping up to the plate and speaking out with a passion in their message, "I am Big, Beautiful and Bold."
[AmaZe] If someone was reading your eulogy what would you like it to say about who you had become in your life and what you had accomplished? Personally? Professionally?
[Pam] She was a lady of determination, a lady of wisdom and understanding, bold and courageous. A God fearing, outgoing woman who was truly in touch with her 'inner woman.' A woman who has left behind a legacy of hope. Her smile lit up the life of those who traveled in her path. She encouraged women of all ages to be happy with who God has made them to be personally and professionally.
She gave journalistic chances and challenges to all races and sizes that wouldn't have been given the opportunity otherwise.