Video: Oh How The Years Go By...Vanessa Willams' Regal Return To The Miss America Pageant

Vanessa Williams looked regal and radiant as she made an incredible return to the Miss America pageant stage on Sunday night.

Serving as opening performer and one of seven celebrity guest judges for the competition, Williams' return 32 years later also held significance as her appearance was meant to right a wrong that occurred back when Williams was crowned the first African-American Miss America in 1983, and the following year had to resign her position over a nude photo scandal.

After opening the show with her hit 1997 single, "Oh How The Years Go By", Miss America pageant CEO Sam Haskell, joined Williams on stage to offer her, and Williams' mother, Helen Williams, an official apology:
"I have been a close friend to this beautiful and talented lady for 32 years. You have lived your life in grace and dignity and never was it more evident than during the events of 1984 when you resigned. Though none of us currently in the organization were involved then, on behalf of today’s organization, I want to apologize to you and to your mother Miss Helen Williams. I want to apologize for anything that was said or done that made you feel any less the Miss America you are and the Miss America you always will be." [Source]
Today the "scandal" seems superfluous considering a lot of stars these days are whisked into fame and fortune just for shedding their clothes, not to mention the whole incident highlights the hypocrisy of how people treat women and their sexuality, and the oh so obvious racial politics that are in play in the pageant circuit, but Williams (bless her) showed that we can have grace and dignity in the face of ugly situations and its why she has always had the last laugh when it came to her post-pageant life. I mean, she released one of the greatest albums of the '90s (1991's The Comfort Zone) and was the incredible Wilhelmina Slater on Ugly Betty...what other Miss America has done that? I'll wait...

While 32 years is a damn long time to dish out an apology, it was great to see Williams all smiles and looking stunning (and singing a track from the underrated Next album!), proving that success is always the greatest revenge.

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