They say that beauty contests are sexist and archaic, that the swimsuit competitions are the epitome of patriarchal privilege incarnate. They say that nobody cares anymore, and that beauty contests have no place in an evolved and progressive society. Most of these complaints are made less valid in a world where bathing suited selfies are the main feature of Instagram, and I can recall a time when pageants were very important.

But anyway, it’s been a long road for honey. The pictures revealed a womanliness that exceeded the ’80s standards of appropriateness. Despite the scandal and the media brouhaha, I saw something in her – star quality. Unbeknownst to me, Ed Eckstine saw it too. He started a label with a project by her as his first release. He needed airplay in New York so he tapped me to get it for him. And with that, Vanessa Williams began the long hard road of rehabilitating her public image, and erasing the disgrace of being the first Miss America to be forced to resign. A road paved with hit records, sold out tours, film roles, product endorsements and hit TV shows.

It was my great pleasure to have worked with Vanessa, she was down to earth, witty, professional and obviously tough. Yesterday, the Miss America Pageant saw the error of their ways and named Vanessa Williams the lead judge for their next event. To me, she seems like a modern and appropriate choice, and a great role model for young women everywhere. I’m proud of my old label mate. She’s still got the right stuff.


Former Miss America, Vanessa Williams

Former Miss America, Vanessa Williams


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