Vanessa Williams returned to Miss America 32 years after becoming the first African-American woman to win the crown — and being stripped of her title soon after. But all was set right during Miss America 2016. What an amazing night.
Vanessa Williams was the belle of the ball at Miss America 2016, after gracefully returning to the pageant 32 years after receiving her own crowning title. The 2016 Head Judge took center stage singing her heart out, a surprise for us watching — and was hit with a surprise of her own, even after her massive standing ovation. Miss America’s CEO Sam Haskell gave her a heartfelt apology for the organization’s decision to strip of her of her title in 1984.
We knew that Vanessa would be returning to Miss America, but we weren’t prepared for such a moving, grand beginning to the night! Vanessa was treated to a touching introduction by host Chris Harrison, who noted her prowess in the entertainment industry. She certainly cemented that statement by walking out singing a moving ballad expressing her strength and beauty.
CEO Sam gently approached Vanessa after her performance, and said that although nobody working with Miss America now was involved in 1984, they were deeply sorry for what happened to her. He took the classy step of apologizing to both Vanessa and her mother for the pain that the scandal caused. What a lovely gesture!
Vanessa won Miss America in 1983, but had her crown taken away after it was discovered that she had posed nude for Penthouse magazine before the pageant took place. Of course, Vanessa went on to have a successful career, but the story of her beginning was always part of her narrative. With Miss America 2016, Vanessa returned to the competition that rejected her over 30 years ago — and came out on top.
We are so thrilled that Vanessa had such a triumphant return to Miss America, both with her stunning performance and the justice she deserved after being dethroned. She earned that standing ovation! HollywoodLifers, what did YOU think about Vanessa’s return to Miss America? Tell us in the comments and take our poll!
— Samantha Wilson