Saturday, January 22, 2022

Vanessa Williams Received Death Threats After Crowned First Black Miss America

Vanessa Williams (Getty)
Vanessa Williams (Getty)

*Vanessa Williams is an acclaimed actress, who has appeared on television shows, in film productions and stage plays for more than three decades.

As a songstress and recording artist, she has enjoyed many hit records, such as  “Dreamin’,” “Save the Best for Last,” and “Colors of the Wind,” among others.  And in the world of fashion, Williams, as a designer, has her own exclusive collection that she says “celebrates  the beauty in every woman.”

While Williams has achieved mega professional success over the past 32 years of her career in entertainment, such a fine future didn’t look so promising after she made history in 1983 as the first African American to win the crown of Miss America.  Following her historic win, Williams received death threats.  And there would be another surprise development that would rock Williams’ world.

“A lot of people don’t like to be confronted with diversity, and I was the symbol of that, so I had to prove that I was smart enough, I was talented enough,” Williams said in an interview with the online media platform, “Shine My Crown.”

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Vanessa Williams2 - Getty
Vanessa Williams (Getty)

She persevered, but just six weeks before her year-long reign as Miss America was set to end, Williams relinquished her title, after Penthouse, an adult-themed magazine, published naked pictures of her, a couple of which were in provocative positions with another nude woman.

While it looked like Williams would not escape the fallout from the photos, she defied the odds, but it would take a few years and the “re-imaging and rebranding” of Williams by Ramon Hervey, a public relations guru.  Williams and Hervey married in January of 1987, three years after Williams gave up her crown.

After a ten-year marriage to Hervey, which ended in 1997 but produced three children, Williams later married former NBA star Rick Fox.  The marriage produced a daughter.  In 2015, Williams wedded Jim Skrip, a successful businessman whom she met in Egypt, where both were vacationing in 2012.



  1. The constant plight of Light-skinned Black women. Micro-aggressions from other Blacks is often and plentiful. Glad she had the courage to tell the truth.


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