Home Music Industry News KUDOS to Vanessa Williams Return to Miss America Pageant as Head Judge

KUDOS to Vanessa Williams Return to Miss America Pageant as Head Judge


Yesterday, one of the best singers I have ever heard and a FaceBook friend, Kipper Jones, posted on FaceBook about how glad he was to see Vanessa Williams return to the Miss America pageant as a host. I was not so glad until I gave it some thought. (cheers for the bathroom selfie).

What happened to Vanessa Williams in 1984 to destroy her career is what CREATES a career today. The irony.

Early on in Vanessa’s singing career, she was determined to give up-and-coming artists and producers a break because of the repeated rejection when she tried to get a record deal herself. This all after the scandal broke in 1984 where explicit pictures of her and another woman in lesbian sex poses were released in Penthouse magazine. She was the first black woman to win the Miss America crown in 1983 and her skyrocket to fame came crashing down when the magazine hit the newsstand. She wanted to pursue a record deal but she was turned down by all of the labels and she was the laughing-stock of the industry and beyond. That had to be an incredibly heavy load for a young black girl in her early 20’s to bear.

beauty_williamsKipper Jones and Brian McKnight were two people I had seen her mention in several articles that she was loyal in working with during her tenure as an artist on Wing/Mercury records and beyond. Former husband, public relations expert Ramon Hervey II was hired by Vanessa to clean up her tarnished image and to open the slammed shut door for her to have a career in the industry. Industry legend Ed Eckstein, son of legendary vocalist and bandleader Billy Eckstine, was the president of Mercury records when Vanessa came back to him and approached him a second time about being on the label. He admitted he was impressed with her resistance but he didn’t think it was a good idea. Vanessa simply started coming by and hanging around his office after that and they started having conversations about the history of R&B music. He admitted that he was very impressed with her knowledge of music (both her parents were music teachers and his father was a music industry legend) and after some time passed, he approached the staff about signing her. He admitted they laughed at the idea but he became more and more convinced that it could work.

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