7/23/84: It was 25 years ago today…
At a press conference, Vanessa Williams resigned as the reigning Miss America, after Penthouse magazine announced that it would publish nude photographs of her (unauthorized) in an upcoming issue. Playboy magazine had previously turned down an offer to purchase the photos.
Williams had been the first African-American Miss America.
While initially embarrassed by the “scandal,” Williams’ career was far from over.
Since then, she has maintained a thriving multi-faceted career as an actress on Broadway, in films and on television, in addition to being a successful Top 10 recording artist.
She’s won a Grammy Award, an Academy Award, five NAACP Image Awards, a Billboard Music Award, a Soul Train Music Award and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She’s also earned a Tony nomination and three Emmy nominations.
Meanwhile, when Williams relinquished her title as Miss America a quarter century ago, the crown was passed on to … Suzette Charles. And I right now can hear the collective voice of Nippertown asking, “Who?”