It’s really hard to believe that it has been more than thirty-years since Vanessa Williams, who will always be a queen, broke color barriers and made history becoming the first black Miss America. It happened on September 17th 1983 at a time when racial division was still a divisive issue in America. Just to make the point Reagan was president.
She was not the first black woman to enter or take the stage at a beauty pageant nationally but she was the first to take the crown. Just a few years early, fresh out of the turbulent 1960’s, Cheryl Brown of Iowa, won her state title and made it to the national stage as a contestant. Another beauty, Miss Arkansas Lencola Sullivan was the first black woman to make it to the top five.
Williams was quoted as saying at the time that she never expected the swarm of hate mail and racist comments after being crowned. Adding, “I never imagined I’d be that depressed about being Miss America” she told People Magazine.
Williams, a stunningly amazing beauty, held the title of Miss America 1984 ultimately resigning early due to scandalous unauthorized nude photos published of her in Penthouse magazine. But the scandal didn’t stop her – it only empowered her.
In 1990, she told Ebony Magazine “I’m just moving on, for there is nothing I can do to change that, so I just have to deal with it and move on… If situations arose where I could get revenge, I absolutely would. But at this point, success is the best revenge.”
She broke into the film and music industry creating a lasting career that’s still going strong 30 plus years later. Today, at the age of 52, Williams is as gorgeous and beautiful as the day she was crowned. She has starred on Broadway in “The Trip To Bountiful” and has a number of movies, albums, and awards under her belt.
Vanessa, you are and will always be our queen. We thank and love you for being you – simply amazing. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…