YOU CAN’T BREAK ME
ICONIC VANESSA L. WILLIAMS
I’ve made it no secret that one of my idols is Vanessa L. Williams, the first Black woman to be crowned Miss America. She is a friend, mentor, and inspiration not only for me, but for millions of women around the world. Miss Williams’ contribution to American history, as well as Black history, will forever be relevant and remain one of the most powerful and indelible images I have ever witnessed and experienced as a hopeful 12 year-old girl who was always made to feel that Black was not beautiful. She literally changed my life. Seeing a Black woman validated for her beauty encouraged me to live my dreams and not allow anyone to tear me down or tell me that I cannot achieve something in life.
When Miss Williams was crowned Miss America in 1983, she opened the door for Black women around the world to achieve immeasurable dreams the same way Hattie McDaniel did as the first Black woman to ever win an Academy Award. Although there have been others to achieve the pinnacle of achievement and honors in pageantry and in entertainment, the first from an overall platform or genre will always be the individual who made it possible for ALL others to come after. Challenging my admiration for Miss Williams is ignorant, irresponsible, and indicative of the lack of respect for my convictions, beliefs, and my own legacy as the second Black woman to be crowned Miss USA. My crowning is a part of history and is a part of my legacy -- that can never be taken away from me as much as the haters try to hate.
With that said, whom I admire and respect and hold in high esteem and for what reason is my exclusive right. I chose not to and won’t respond to ignorance and stupidity and to someone who is merely relevant for arguing and picking childish fights with me the entire season and has no accomplishments of their own. I’ve learned that lesson and won’t fall for the banana in the tailpipe again. You get nothing but my back… no response, no acknowledgement, no comment. Since I’ve revoked my coattails for her to ride, I’m feeling a lot lighter these days.