Tuesday, March 18, 2008

"success is the sweetest revenge"

It is in these acts called trivialities that the seeds of joy are forever wasted, until men and women look round with haggard faces at the devastation their own waste has made, and say, the earth bears no harvest of sweetness --- calling their denial knowledge.
George Eliot ~ pen name of Mary Anne Evans (1819-1880) novelist, humanist & freethinker
quote from Middlemarch, chapter XLII

more herstory:
born on this date in 1963, vanessa l. williams. ms williams made history on september 17, 1983 when she became the first african-american woman to be crowned miss america. unfortunately, decisions made in her past forced her to turn in her crown, or as she put it "The past just came up and kicked me." ms williams has gone on to great success as an actor and singer-songwriter. in her career to date she has earned grammy, tony, and emmy recognition.

the title of today's post is another quote by ms. williams, which is appropriate for both women being recognized on the mouse today!

photo: maple sap buckets at hale farm and village, bath ohio ~16 march 2008


Reya Mellicker said...

The snow is melting, even there! Equinox is upon us.

Happy spring!

zquilts said...

Where was that photo taken??
It so reminds me of home! Well, where I grew up I mean !

Barbara said...

I'm happy to say I remember Vanessa Williams being crowned, but I don't remember why she had to give it back and don't plan to look for the reason.

WAT said...

Yes, Vanessa Williams really came into her own after all that scandal didn't she? I was surprised back then when I started hearing hit singles by her on the radio! WOW MAN!

For those who don't remember, it was due to being nude in PLAYBOY that she was dethroned right?

Tina Turner also was supposed to be washed up and done once she had divorced Ike Turner in the late 70s, and she came back reinvented in the 1980s to a new generation of music fans like me!

mouse (aka kimy) said...

for inquiring minds who really would like to know about vanessa's miss america story (from wikipedia, portal of much knowledge):

Williams' reign as Miss America was not without its challenges and controversies. For the first time in pageant history, a reigning Miss America was the target of death threats and angry racist hate mail.

Ten months into her reign as Miss America, she received an anonymous phone call stating that nude photos of her taken by a photographer prior to her pageant days had surfaced. Williams believed the photographs were private and had been destroyed; she claims she never signed a release permitting the photos to be used.

The genesis of the photos dated back to 1982, when she worked as an assistant and makeup artist for Mount Kisco, N.Y. photographer Tom Chiapel. According to Williams, Chiapel advised her that he wanted to try a "new concept of silhouettes with two models." He photographed Williams and another woman in several nude poses. The photographs depicted mild overtones of simulated lesbian sex, which was quite controversial for its time.

Hugh Hefner, the publisher of Playboy, was initially offered the photos, but turned them down. Later Hefner would explain why in People Weekly. "Vanessa Williams is a beautiful woman. There was never any question of our interest in the photos. But they clearly weren't authorized and because they would be the source of considerable embarrassment to her, we decided not to publish them. We were also mindful that she was the first black Miss America." Days later, Bob Guccione, the publisher of Penthouse, announced that his magazine would publish the photos in their September 1984 issue, and paid Chiapel for the rights to them without Williams' consent. According to the PBS documentary, "Miss America," the Vanessa Williams issue of Penthouse would ultimately bring Guccione a $14 million windfall.

After days of media frenzy and sponsors threatening to pull out of the upcoming 1985 pageant, Williams felt pressured by Miss America Pageant officials to resign, and did so in a press conference on July 23, 1984. The title subsequently went to first-runner up Suzette Charles, who is also African-American. In early September 1984, Vanessa filed an unheralded $500 million lawsuit against Chiapel and Guccione. According to a Williams family representative, she eventually dropped the suit to avoid further legal battles choosing to move on with her life. Vanessa is quoted as saying "the best revenge is success."

Although she resigned from fulfilling the duties of a current Miss America, she was allowed to keep the bejeweled crown and scholarship money and is officially recognized by the Miss America Organization today as "Miss America 1984" and Suzette Charles as "Miss America 1984b."