Black History Feature: Vanessa Williams

Posted: February 11, 2010 in Black history, Vanessa Williams
Tags: , , , ,

Vanessa Lynn Williams (1963-) is a model, singer, songwriter and actress. Performing, music in particular, has been a very vital portion of Williams’ life. Williams began competing in beauty pageants in the early 1980s. She won Miss New York in 1983, and went to the Miss America national pageant in Atlantic City. In 1984, she became the first African American woman to be crowned Miss America, but a scandal caused her to relinquish her title. Williams is quoted as saying “the best revenge is success.” She rebounded by launching a career as an entertainer, earning Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award nominations. Vanessa launched her recording career in 1988 with her first album, “The Right Stuff,” which went gold and earned her first three Grammy Award nominations. Check out the music video below of her first single “The Right Stuff”..

Williams’ first television appearance was on a 1984 episode of The Love Boat, playing herself. She then made guest appearances on a number of shows, including T.J. Hooker, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Saturday Night Live, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, LateLine, MADtv, Ally McBeal and Boomtown. Williams made her film debut in 1986 in “Under the Gun” and she appeared in the films “The Pick-Up Artist,” “Another You” (with Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder) and “Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man” (with Mickey Rourke).

Here is another one of her music videos from her 1991 multi-million selling follow-up, “The Comfort Zone,” which featured the unforgettable “Save the Best For Last.”

Other facts:

  • Vanessa L. Williams is most often referenced and publicly recognized simply as “Vanessa Williams”. There is, however, occasional confusion with similarly named actress Vanessa A. Williams, who first came to national notice in 1992, when she appeared in the first season of Melrose Place.
  • In 2008 & 2009, she was nominated for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series for Ugly Betty.
  • She has been married twice. Her first marriage, to her then-manager Ramon Hervey II, was from 1987 to 1997. They have three children: Melanie (born 1987), Jillian (born 1989), and Devin (born 1993).
  • Her second marriage was to former NBA basketball player Rick Fox. They married in September 1999 and have a daughter, Sasha Gabriella (born May 2000).
  • Williams is currently single and resides in Chappaqua, New York

For more information on Vanessa L. Williams visit the official site The Official Vanessa Williams Website and Vanessa Williams Music.

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