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Vanessa Williams Returning to Miss America 32 Years Later as Head Judge

FNN NEWS Atlantic City NJ – The Miss America Organization, dick clark productions and ABC announced today that for the first time since she was crowned Miss America 1984, one of the most respected and multi-faceted performers in entertainment today, Vanessa Williams will make history when she returns to the Miss America stage after 32 years.  Williams will serve as Head Judge for the “2016 Miss America Competition.”  She joins host Chris Harrison, co-host Brooke Burke-Charvet, Music Curator Nick Jonas and celebrity judges Brett Eldredge, Taya Kyle, Danica McKellar, Kevin O’Leary, Amy Purdy and Zendaya.
The “2016 Miss America Competition” airs live from Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall on SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 13 (9:00 – 11:00p.m./ET) on the ABC Television Network. The evening will be filled with glitz and glam as 52 women compete for the coveted crown and scholarship.
“Vanessa Williams made history by becoming the first African American to win the competition when she was crowned Miss America 1984, and she went on to conquer the worlds of music, Broadway, television, and film,” said Sam Haskell, Executive Chairman & CEO of the Miss America Organization.  “It is a great honor to welcome her back to the competition as our Head Judge.”
“We recognize that Vanessa’s return to Miss America on Sunday, September 13th is a special cultural and television moment,” said Mike Mahan, President of dick clark productions. “We are both honored and excited that she will take center stage for the 95th Anniversary of the competition.”
Since her debut release with, “The Right Stuff,” in 1988, Vanessa Williams has sold over 7 million records worldwide, and has scored numerous #1 and Top 10 hits on various Billboard Album and Singles charts: Pop, Dance, R&B, Adult Contemporary, Holiday, Latin, Gospel and Jazz.
Vanessa’s critically acclaimed work in film, television, recordings and the Broadway stage has been recognized by every major industry award affiliation including 4 Emmy nominations, 17 Grammy nominations (of which 11 were for her individually), a Tony nomination, 3 SAG award nominations, 7 NAACP Image Awards, 3 Satellite Awards and ultimately a Golden Globe, Grammy and an Oscar for Best Original Song for her platinum single “Colors of the Wind,” from the Disney film Pocahontas.
A strong advocate for equal rights, especially concerning the gay community and minorities, Vanessa was honored with the Human Rights Campaign “Ally for Equality” Award for her humanitarian contributions.  She also achieved a career pinnacle with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007.
Her autobiography, “You Have No Idea,” co-written with her mother Helen Williams, was a New York Times Best Seller in 2012. Vanessa returned to Broadway in the spring of 2014 for a special limited engagement in the musical “After Midnight.” She also co-starred with Cicely Tyson and Cuba Gooding, Jr in “The Trip To Bountiful,” which was the #1 play of the 2013 Broadway season.
Vanessa is the mother of four – Melanie, Jillian, Devin and Sasha and continues to live in Westchester County, New York – not far from where she grew up.  Her charitable endeavors are many and varied, embracing and supporting such organizations as Special Olympics and several others.
Voting for America’s Choice continues through September 10 at 11:59p.m. ET. For the first time in Miss America history, fans have the opportunity to cast their vote entirely on social media for America’s Choice. The winner of America’s Choice will move forward to the Top 15 in the competition. Fans can vote on both Facebook and Twitter by posting a status and/or tweet with the name of the state they are voting for and the hashtag #MissAmericaVote.