All Articles Tagged "Vanessa Williams"

Why Miss America Owed Vanessa Williams An Apology

September 16th, 2015 - By Charing Ball
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Vanessa Williams receives apology from Miss America 32 years after nude photo scandal.

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I don’t know if the people behind the Miss America pageant owed Vanessa Williams an apology, but she definitely was owed something from them.

However, others don’t see it that way. In particular, Demetria Lucas D’Oyley, who penned a piece for The Root entitled, The Miss America Pageant Doesn’t Owe Vanessa Williams an Apology.

According to Lucas D’Oyley:

During last night’s pageant broadcast, Miss America CEO Sam Haskell III invited Williams to the stage and apologized to her and her mother, saying, “You have lived your life with grace and dignity. … 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.”

Knowing that I will likely be reamed for saying this, because Williams is a talented actress, singer and a beloved celebrity—especially in the black community—I’m saying it anyway: She deserved to be forced to resign, and the Miss America organization didn’t owe her an apology.

The organization’s reaction to Williams’ pictures wasn’t overblown in the ’80s, and those images should garner about a similar reaction today. The organization’s reaction also was not racist. (The fact that Williams’ replacement, Suzette Charles, was also black kinda kills that argument.)

Lucas D’Oyley said she came to this conclusion after seeing the racy pictures, which ran in Penthouse over 20 years ago, but are now available on the web. While she said she takes no issue with “sex between consenting adults,” she does believe that those images were not “in line with the mission of the organization” or “fit the position she held.”

Likewise, she writes:

Yes, Williams was barely legal when those pictures were taken. I read in a 1984 article in People magazine that she naively believed that the images would be in silhouette and her face would not be shown. Williams was a young girl who made a series of bad decisions. (She did two nude photo shoots, not one.) And the cost was being asked to step down as Miss America. It was a hard way to learn a necessary lesson about actions and consequences. There was no need for the Miss America organization to apologize for teaching it to her.

If you haven’t seen the pictures, you won’t see them here. But you are free to Google them. To be honest, they are pretty racy images, including one picture of a nude woman simulating oral sex on the “Save The Best For Last” singer. And I can certainly see how those images could raise an eyebrow or two.

But, I also don’t how I feel about framing Williams’s racy images as contrary to the mission of the Miss American organization. After all, the Miss America organization claims that it “represents the highest ideals” that a typical “American Girl might well emulate.” But many women, particularly feminists, have long taken issue with the beauty contest for a number of reasons, including the exploitation of women and their sexuality and reinforcing trite, Eurocentric beauty standards.

Matter of fact, it was in 1968 when hundreds of feminists stormed the boardwalk in Atlantic City to protest the Miss America pageant. According to this report by PBS:

One of the protest’s leading organizers was 27-year-old writer and editor Robin Morgan. In the group’s manifesto written to explain the protest of the Miss America Pageant, “No More Miss America!,” Morgan took direct aim at what she called “the degrading mindless-boob-girlie symbol” so prevalent in the media. Morgan attacked the “ludicrous ‘beauty’ standards we ourselves are conditioned to take seriously.” She also attacked the pageant’s beauty standards as racist. As of 1968, no African American woman had taken a place among the contest’s finalists.

Morgan went on to condemn “the unbeatable madonna-whore combination” and the mixed messages women were socialized to accept. “To win approval, we must be both sexy and wholesome, delicate but able to cope, demure yet titillatingly bitchy or should we say [ill-tempered] … Miss America and Playboy’s centerfolds are sisters under the skin.” In addition, in sending pageant contestants and winners to entertain troops in Vietnam, the women served as “death mascots” in an immoral war. Morgan asked, “Where else could one find such a perfect combination of American values — racism, militarism, capitalism — all packaged in one ‘ideal’ symbol, a woman.”

And more than 40 years later, not much has changed.

What’s interesting is that Williams was ultimately punished for exploiting her own body as opposed to letting the organization do it for her. Not to mention the pictures were published in Penthouse without her consent. She was a victim. And she was victimized again when the organization disassociated itself from her instead of having her back against the slut-shaming as well as racist comments.

Vanessa Williams Receives Apology From Miss America Organization

September 14th, 2015 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Three decades after Vanessa Williams gave up her Miss America crown, the organization has issued a public apology for the way that they handled things way back when.

“I have been a close friend to this beautiful and talented lady for 32 years,” said Miss America CEO Sam Haskell during Sunday’s pageant. “You have lived your life in grace and dignity, and never was it more evident than during the events of 1984 when you resigned.”

Williams resigned from her position as Miss America 1983 and returned her crown after Penthouse magazine obtained nude photos her, which were photographed before she won the pageant, and published them without her consent. Though Williams made the decision to resign, many believed that the organization pressured her to do so.

“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,” Haskell continued, “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 always will be.”

Williams graciously accepted Haskell’s apology.

“Thank you so much, Sam,” she said. “So unexpected, but so beautiful. I did as best I could during my reign as Miss America in 1983 to 84.”

Will Vanessa Williams Apologize To Miss America For The Nude Photo Scandal?

September 11th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Vanessa Williams

Joseph Marzullo/

Black girls across the nation rejoiced in 1983, when Vanessa Williams was the first African American woman to win the Miss America pageant.

Later, their joy was dashed when Williams became the first woman to resign her crown after nude photos were printed in Penthouse magazine without her consent.

In an interview with People the next year, Williams described the experience and how she felt “betrayed and violated like I had been raped,” when the pictures finally surfaced.

She received very little support. But 32 years later, she’ll return to the stage as the head judge for the Miss America pageant.

But it’s not without a bit of controversy.

According to TMZ, executives for Miss America are preparing for the show in a bit of a panic.

Apparently, they invited Williams to judge the pageant under the impression that she would apologize to them for the nude photo scandal and she agreed to come back believing that they would apologize to her for their handling of it.


Sources told TMZ that Williams only agreed to appear because she was going to be the recipient of an apology and would be presented with a new crown.

But the discrepancy came to the light on Wednesday when the Miss America execs met with Williams. They said that they thought she would apologize first and then they would give her the crown.

As of yesterday, the two sides had yet to come to an agreement.

But since the organization has already released promotional videos featuring Williams’ image, it’s Miss America who’s feeling the most heat.

Vanessa Williams should absolutely not, under no circumstances apologize for this incident. If you read her interview with People from 1984, she explicitly states that she was reassured time and time again that those pictures would never see the light of day. And since there are no documents proving that she provided her consent, she is the real victim in this situation. As such, she should never apologize for her own violation.

If anything, the fact that Miss America, an organization that claims to care about the rights of women, cannot support Williams in this incident, is pretty telling. They need to apologize for not supporting her as they should have when she was violated all those years ago.

I’se Married Now: Vanessa Williams And Jim Skrip Tie The Knot

July 6th, 2015 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Vanessa Williams will certainly remember this Independence Day for years to come.

According to People, Williams, 52, and her fiancé, Jim Skrip, quietly exchanged vows Saturday in front of family and friends.

The actress first confirmed her engagement back in September during an appearance on “The Queen Latifah Show.”

“I got engaged,” the beauty gushed to Latifah. “I have had a lot of good things happen … I just got engaged a couple of weeks ago. It has been a lot of blessings.”

In April, we were able to catch up with Williams, who gave us the scoop on her new beau and their unlikely first encounter on an Egypt-bound boat.

“I was on vacation with my daughter going to Egypt, cruising on the Nile. I wasn’t looking for anything,” said Williams, who had been divorced for ten years when her path crossed Skrip’s. “I found a hometown guy from my mom’s town in Buffalo, New York and started a conversation.”

The “Royal Pains” actress was also sure to encourage women in their 50s who still hope to find love.

“There’s always hope. You never know what you’ll find and where you’ll find it,” she said. “Don’t ever lose hope. I’m 52, and now I’ve got a new beginning. It happens when you’re not looking for it! Just trust and believe.”

This is Williams’ third marriage. She has four children from her previous marriages to actor Rick Foxx and Ramon Hervey II.

Follow Jazmine on Twitter @JazmineDenise

Exclusive: After Two Divorces, Vanessa Williams Speaks On Finding Love Again, Getting Engaged At 51

April 13th, 2015 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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We recently had the opportunity to speak with actress, singer, and former Miss America Vanessa Williams. The ageless beauty spoke about her involvement with the organization, Dress for Success, which helps disadvantaged women make better lives for themselves through career development tools, donating professional attire for interviews and work, and offering a network of support to help women accomplish great things. Williams is taking part in the non-profit organization’s newest campaign, Success is Calling and talked with us about why such programs are essential.

But Williams also spilled some tea on what’s next for her career (she could be heading to Fox, and who knows if an opportunity to guest star on Empire could happen?!), black women slowly but surely taking over TV, and her love life. Williams, now 52, got engaged to fiancé Jim Skrip last year and wants other women to know that they should never give up hope on finding love. Check out what ‘Nessa had to say!

Her Involvement With Dress For Success And The New Campaign, Success Is Calling

I’ve been working with Dress for Success for many years, not only giving my suits and gently used handbags to the organization, but helping to tell their message. For women who have had some misfortune and disadvantages in their life, Dress for Success allows them to get tools, which includes the apparel, but also the skills to be employed. Dress for Success has teamed up Tracfone. They started a campaign called Success is Calling, and it’s helping women to have great interview skills over the phone. About 92 percent of HR managers say that skills over the phone are paramount to them when they hire someone. So women can go to Dress for Success, do the Success is Calling program, and when they complete the program, they will get a Tracfone smartphone for a year with the service. Hopefully, that will help open doors with all the skills that they learned and all the tools they also got to get jobs and get a new start.

Tips For Women Hoping To Ace Phone Interviews

The employer wants to know who you are. They want to know what your background is, and they want to be able to hear clearly what your message is and what you can do for them. So “um,””aw,” “I don’t know,” “uh” and “I guess” are not very powerful. You have to eliminate that and be clear, and also feel great about yourself. Hopefully, the clothes you get through Dress For Success will make you feel empowered, but you also have to tell your employer what you can do for their job and why you are right for the job. If they ask you about your children and where you come from, be able to have an interesting story and give them information that would say, “This person is unique, interesting, and sounds like they would fit in.”

If you want more information and tips for being fantastic on the phone and getting a job, you can go to the Success is Calling website. It has a whole list of tips you can get for your interview skills.

And if you just want to contribute to Dress for Success, you can go to Wal-Mart, purchase one of the Tracfone smartphones, and 20 percent of the proceeds will go to Dress for Success in April. There are many ways we all can win. Whether you want to help, whether you want to be part of the program or whether you just want to get the skills, you can go online.

Why These Programs Are So Important Right Now

Well, everyone needs a start, and everyone needs a break. A lot of kids are out of college, but a lot of women — I’m a mother of four, and I know what’s it’s like when you need to provide. As a mother, you also need to get a job to provide for your children. It’s always important to be able to have a resource that can help you look the part and give you tools to get the part.

On Fantasy Life, Her New Pilot For Fox

I finished a pilot for Fox called Fantasy Life. It’s about fantasy football, which is a huge, huge craze. And it’s based on the book by Matthew Berry called Fantasy Life. Matthew Berry is the producer and writer, but Mitch Berry is the character, which is played by Kevin Connolly, who is famous from Entourage. I play his boss, the VP at Fox Sports Network. It’s a half-hour office comedy situated in the sports world. It was a lot of fun, and we’ll see in the fall if we get picked up or not.

If Her Singing Skills Will Land Her A Guest Role On “Empire”

Who knows? We’ll see what the Fox network has in store for me. I’m a big fan of Lee Daniels. I was so happy that he did something that was not done on television. They trusted him and trusted what he wanted to bring, and they didn’t mess with it too much. They let him do his thing and look at the results! I’m proud of Lee, I’m proud of everyone’s hard work, and it shows you what can happen when you dare to be different.

On Her Engagement, And Her Words Of Encouragement For Other Women Looking For Love

Well my words are, there’s always hope. You never know what you’ll find and where you’ll find it. I was on vacation with my daughter going to Egypt, cruising on the Nile. I wasn’t looking for anything. I’d been alone for a number of years and divorced for ten years at that time. I found a hometown guy from my mom’s town in Buffalo, New York and started a conversation. He happened to be traveling alone and happened to know who I was but wasn’t a super fan. He accepted me for who I was after a wonderful first three-hour date of talking about ourselves. We found out we had a lot of things in common. Three years later we’re getting married.

Don’t ever lose hope. There are a lot of good men out there — of course I found the best — who are available and ready to be in satisfying relationships as well. Don’t ever lose hope. I’m 52, and now I’ve got a new beginning. It happens when you’re not looking for it! Just trust and believe.

Her Thoughts On Women Killing It On Prime-time TV

When I grew up, there was Julia, which was Diahann Carroll. She was the one who paved the way. And then we saw her in Dynasty as Dominique Devereaux, again, paving the way as well. So, we’ve seen the door open up further and further not only for women of color, but for women in general. With Desperate Housewives, that was the first time you had a whole cast of women who were 40+ who people tuned in to see. It shows that women want to watch other women, and other people want to watch other women as well. That’s when the power comes. When the power and the numbers come, then the networks know that they have something. I’m sure the success that Fox has had with Empire, again, shows that strong women are great TV. I’m happy with Kerry Washington, Viola Davis–who has been phenomenal on Broadway for years but is finally getting her chance to bring it every week. It’s all fantastic, and I’m happy.

Celebrity Glam Mom: Vanessa Williams

March 4th, 2015 - By Rich
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Vanessa Williams is over 50 and fabulous! The beautiful 51-year-old actress–who was recently nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special for her role in The Trip to Bountiful–continues to be an inspiration for many with her longstanding career in Hollywood. Between motherhood and managing her fruitful career the mother of four still continues to age gracefully. Williams shared some beauty tips with

“My first product is the star of my line, my anti-aging wrinkle fighter and my (until now) best kept secret. I’ve been using it for years and it’s made a huge difference in keeping my skin ageless. It’s called the Re-Start Skin Serum. It’s currently available on It includes Dermaxyl, which is a patented oligopeptide complex, Hyaluronic Filling Spheres and antioxidants Vitamin A, C, E and Retinol. These work in combination to oxygenate and moisturize the skin. They also help improve the visible signs of premature aging by smoothing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.”

Beauty aside, Williams’ style is just as admirable. When you click continue, you’ll be able to few some of her most stylish looks in recent times.

Celebrity Glam Mom: Vanessa Williams

Naked: 15 Stars Who Took It ALL Off

November 11th, 2014 - By Rich
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We can’t lie some of the handsome men on this list we wish we could have seen take it off as for these other stars who stripped and dropped it well…

Slide through!

Sources: FoxNews, Mommynoire, Smosh. All images courtesy of Instagram, except where noted.


Naked: 15 Stars Who Took It ALL Off

Where Are They Now? The Cast Of New Jack City

October 20th, 2014 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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New Jack City came on VH1 recently, and I was engrossed in it as though I was watching the film for the very first time. I think a lot of people feel that way about the film, because it was just that entertaining. Watching it for the umpteenth time made me wonder: Where has the cast gone? Where are they now?

I did some digging, and here’s what they’re looking like and up to now:

Warner Bros./WENN

Warner Bros./WENN

Wesley Snipes

Snipes played the hell out of drug kingpin Nino Brown, and we all know that the ’90s were good, if not great, to his career. But everything came to a halt when he spent three years in prison for tax evasion charges (starting in 2010). But since he was released earlier this year, he’s been back to work like he never left. He was just in the Expendables 3 and is about to be in the film, Chronicles of the Mayan Tunnel. 

Over 50 And Fab: On Vanessa Williams And Sex After 50

October 14th, 2014 - By Rich
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Love has no color, no age, and is it limitless?

As the saying goes, love has no limits, and love certainly has no color. Women over the age of 50 are getting engaged and marrying their lovers daily. We are also seeing more interracial relationships and marriages over the age of 50.

There is something about African-American women and women of color that just look good, period! White men have always found women of color attractive. Yes! I said it! I tested the swirl out many times and to this day white men still peek-a-boo me. I’m over 50, single and who knows? I practice what I preach; I am staying open for the possibilities. Yes, baby dah-ling.

Actress Vanessa Williams just turned 50, got engaged to Jim Scrip and is performing in a Broadway show. She announced her engagement on the ‘Queen Latifah Show’–and as usual, “looking fabulous dah-ling.” Vanessa is a twice-divorced mother of four, and a triple threat: actor, recording artist and dancer.

Sources say she met him (Jim Scrip) in Egypt while vacationing with her daughter. He is from Buffalo, New York and well, he looks white

I refuse to wear the “over-the-hill” badge. Fifty is the half way mark up a steep mountain with pure oxygen. The age experience when embraced with wisdom is powerful. Rethinking and reinventing ourselves on the top of the mountain is refreshing. With age our confidence is the driving force of our past experience and we keep it moving and remain opened to love.

Finding a soul mate is wonderful and love has no color, only preference. Sex is the intimate expression of the love language, and discovering it again over 50 is simply blissful! Wouldn’t you agree?

In his online article “10 Tips for Better Sex After 50” , Dr. Northrup states: “Sex in the second half of life is fascinating. Many women in their 60’s and 70’s are having the best sex of their lives, whereas some women over the age of 50 feel that they’ve lost their libido. Everyone thinks the reason is because they’re going through menopause, but that’s not it. The truth is the old way of having sex leads many women to lose their libido. They just need to rethink their own brainwashing!”

Wow, I get that! Getting sexually creative can be exhilarating. There is nothing wrong for asking what you want and finding the spots of pleasure for you and your partner. There are plenty of resourceful ways to reaching new sensual heights over 50, embracing love and getting married.

I want to wish Vanessa Williams and Jim Scrip all the love and sex in the world, congratulations!

There is a long list of cliché’s that describe the beauty, hues, and skin of African-American women. One of those cliché’s is,” black don’t crack”. In a 2013 article, music icon Tina Turner who was 73 at the time married her longtime beau Erwin Bach. Tina’s described her interracial relationship as, “a wonderful place to be.”

Like Vanessa Williams, these women are ageless, beautiful and joining the ranks of interracial love. The beauty of finding and falling in love over 50 is for everyone. You don’t have to be a wealthy actor or a billionaire; love will find your openness. We were built to have a choice in choosing a partner or not. Having a mate, companion, lover or however you choose to label it, is a wonderful place to be as Tina put it.

The saying, age 50 and over, does not mean, it is over. Age gets better with time. If you find yourself still swooning, drooling, and can still fantasize about a hot night in between the sheets, then you are half way there baby! Whooo…there is nothing like a sizzling night, or day, or morning making love with someone that turns you up. Love-making releases the chemicals that lower stress and boost mood.

Discovering love over 50 can be the elixir to greater health and vitality. Vanessa Williams is simply fabulous dah-ling and is not shy at telling it her own classy style. So let’s keep love moving and remember…we get better with age, and love has no color and no age, it’s limitless.

Congrats! Vanessa Williams Is Engaged

September 26th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Vanessa Williams Is Engaged

Joseph Marzullo/

Well, look at “The Queen Latifah Show” coming with the tea! Today, the cast of the Broadway show and television movie Trip to Bountiful (Cicely Tyson, Blair Underwood and Vanessa Williams) visited the talk show. And in the midst of talking about the play and a whole host of other things, Vanessa Williams revealed that she is engaged to be married.

Williams’ new fiancé is Jim Skrip.

Back in February of this year, Williams spoke to about Skrip. 

“He’s a guy I met a year and a half ago when I was on vacation with my daughter in Egypt. You go across the world to find somebody who’s six hours away.”

She described him as a “nice, regular, gorgeous guy” who was in real estate back in the day and was also an accountant.

Ok den!

This will be the third marriage for Williams who was married to Ramon Hervey from 1987-1997, with whom she shares two children, and Rick Fox from 1999-2005, with whom she also shares two children.

Take a look at Skrip in the picture below.


You can watch Williams’ announcement in the video below.