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Najja Parker shares her love for Atlanta, storytelling & empowering Black voices

Najja Parker, originally from Memphis, Tennessee, has found a second home in Atlanta, a city that she first fell in love with when she arrived as a freshman at Spelman College in 2008. Following graduation, Parker moved to Chicago but ultimately settled back in the A in 2016, where she’s taken on multiple roles at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution – including her current role where she is a co-curator for the media company’s Unapologetically ATL newsletter.

“I am proud to call Atlanta my second home. I love when people visit me because I love taking people to explore different neighborhoods and restaurants,” Parker told Access Atlanta. “Atlanta is the city that I like to show off. I’ve seen the city evolve and I’m really proud to be a part of the culture because I know how influential it is to the rest of the world,” Parker said.

Best place to get away: AMC Theatres - “I love going to the movies. It’s a really good getaway for me because it forces me to not be on the phone and be in the moment. I always keep a blanket in my car just in case I feel the spirit of the movies calling me.”

Favorite Black-owned restaurant: Le Petit Marche - “I’ve been trying a lot of new restaurants lately. Le Petit has lunch and brunch and depending on how hungry I’m feeling I’m going to get that pesto chicken sandwich with the french fries.”

Preferred outdoorsy spot: Atlanta BeltLine - “The beltline is something new that I’m trying!”

“Atlanta means a lot to me because I feel like this is the city that I transitioned into adulthood,” Parker said. The city has been a place of growth and independence for Parker, where she has been able to meet lifelong friends and understand herself better. She also loves that the city is close to her hometown of Memphis, where she can easily drive or fly to visit family and friends.

Unapologetically ATL is a newsletter that Parker co-curates with a team of producers for the AJC to cater specifically to Black Atlantans. The newsletter aims to provide a space for Black voices to be heard and celebrated, and Parker has been an integral part of its creation and success.

Parker has been a co-curator of Unapologetically ATL since its inception in September 2021. The mission of the newsletter is to let Black Atlantans know that the AJC has products and stories that cater to their community. Parker believes that this is a crucial step in creating a more inclusive space for everyone in Atlanta.

Unapologetically ATL covers a range of topics, from food and drink to entertainment and politics, all through the lens of Black Atlanta. Parker loves the opportunity to tell stories and learn more about the people and city of her second home. She says that the best part of her job is “being able to tell different stories every week.”

Parker’s work with Unapologetically ATL is not only important for the Black community in Atlanta but for everyone in the city. By creating a space that highlights Black voices and experiences, Parker and the AJC are making a conscious effort to promote diversity and inclusivity in their work. Parker says that she wants the newsletter to be “engaging” and for people to feel like they are a part of the stories being told.

As Parker reflects on her time in Atlanta, she can’t help but feel grateful for the opportunity to call this city her second home.

“I’ve lived in Chicago before, I’ve lived in New York before, but there’s something about the South that makes me feel at home,” Parker said. Metro Atlanta’s mix of city and country vibes, combined with the thriving Black community, makes it the perfect place for Parker. Her work with Unapologetically ATL is a testament to her love for the city and her commitment to promoting inclusivity and diversity.

In many ways, Parker’s journey in Atlanta is symbolic of the city’s own growth and evolution. As Atlanta continues to develop and change, it is crucial that we create spaces that celebrate and uplift all voices, particularly those that have been historically marginalized. Parker’s work with Unapologetically ATL is just one example of how we can create a more inclusive future for everyone in Atlanta.

Subscribe to Unapologetically ATL to learn about trends, Black-owned small businesses, events and news shaping the Black culture in Atlanta. Keep up with Najja on Instagram and Twitter.

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