The Dethroned Williams Went On To Become A Big Star
Vanessa Williams received an apology from Miss America CEO Sam Haskell.
In 1983 New York born Vanessa Williams became America’s first black Miss America. However, months into her rein, she was stripped of her title and crown, over nude lesbian pictures that surfaced in Penthouse magazine. Williams had privately taken the photos in university for a photographer, who stated they were for artistic purposes and to be kept private. However, the minute Williams became Miss America, the photographer began shopping the photos, sold them and ruined her life.
Penthouse released the photos and it created a big scandal. The Miss America pageant put pressure on Williams to give up her title and she reluctantly agreed to relinquish her crown during a widely televised press conference. The entire episode hurt the black community, with many believing the scandal and her removal as Miss America was due to racism. It's been a real sore spot with black people for years. Black people have discounted the pageant for decades due it.
This past Sunday during the 2015 Miss America telecast, the pageant's CEO, Sam Haskell, apologized to Williams stating, "Though none of us currently in the organization were involved then, on behalf of today's organization, I want to apologize to you and to your mother, Mrs. Helen Williams. I want to apologize for anything that was said or done that made you feel any less than the Miss America you are and the Miss America you will always be."
Williams stated, "This is so unexpected, but so beautiful." Williams was gracious to even go to the event and accept the apology, because they treated her very badly when the scandal broke and for years after that. Williams and her family were exposed to so much public harassment and scorn. It could not have been easy for them during that time.
Shortly after Williams relinquished her crown, she released her first album “The Right Stuff” and it became a hit with R&B audiences. Williams debut CD was followed by the smash albums “The Comfort Zone” and “The Sweetest Days.” Williams also became an actress, starring in the hit films “Eraser” and “A Diva’s Christmas Carol.” Williams ventured into television and became the star of the show “Ugly Betty.”
In a 1980s piece in Ebony magazine Williams stated her view that “success is the best revenge” as her career and life were destroyed by the Miss America scandal, but she found success in music with her breakthrough debut. Where the mainstream press had assumed she was finished after the Miss America scandal, her career was in fact only just beginning.
Vanessa Williams in 1983
Williams recently revealed she was molested as a child by an older woman and it led to sexual promiscuity in her life. Hence the pictures (it’s a known fact a number of victims of sexual molestation become promiscuous). While the Judiciary Report does not encourage promiscuity and is not into lesbianism, the photographer had no right to sell the nude photos of Williams.
He exploited her in what could have spelled the end of her life, as victims exploited in such situations sometimes commit suicide, which is not the answer to their problems. Many people who have been a victim of sexting and revenge porn became suicidal and some took their own life, which the site does not encourage. Don't destroy other people's lives, especially for financial or social gain. Don't be that kind of person. Everyone deserves the chance to live with dignity and privacy.
Side Bar: Before I was born my mom was in national beauty pageants in Jamaica and did quite well. She was runner up in one pageant that would have led to international pageants (i.e. Miss Universe) had the winner (who my mom is cuter than) been unable to perform her duties. To this day when I watch any beauty pageant with my mother, she makes the most hilariously disgraceful comments that make me laugh. My mom will look at the contestants in pageants now and jokingly make statements such as, "In my day you couldn't wear hair extensions in pageants" and "in my day you couldn't wear fake eye lashes in pageants" and "in my day you couldn't have breast implants in pageants" (that little hater LOL).
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