Vanessa Williams Biography (Wikipedia)
Vanessa Lynn Williams (born March 18, 1963) is an American actress, singer, and fashion designer. She initially gained recognition as the first African-American recipient of the Miss America title when she was crowned Miss America 1984 in September 1983. However, a few weeks prior to the end of her reign, she learned that Penthouse magazine would be publishing unauthorized nude photographs of her in an upcoming issue. Williams thus resigned as Miss America on July 22, 1984 (under pressure from the Miss America Organization), and was replaced by first runner-up Miss New Jersey Suzette Charles. A few years later, she rebounded as an entertainer with the song "The Right Stuff." She then had a string of successful albums and singles and also found success as an actress (she is particularly well known for her roles as Teri Joseph in the 1997 feature film Soul Food, Wilhelmina Slater in Ugly Betty, and Renee Perry in Desperate Housewives).
Thirty-two years after resigning as Miss America, the current CEO of the Miss America Organization, Sam Haskell, offered Williams a public apology at the beginning of the Miss America 2016 pageant (where she was serving as head judge) stating: "I have been a close friend of this beautiful and talented lady for 32 years. You have lived your life in grace and dignity, and never was it more evident than during the events of 1984, when you resigned. 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, Miss Helen Williams. I want to apologize for anything that was said or done that made you feel any less the Miss America you are and the Miss America you always will be."
Vanessa Williams Tracks