Vanessa Williams (278484)
Credit: Gilles Toucas photo

Singer and actress Vanessa Williams will be hosting a benefit concert at the Schomburg Center, on April 24, to raise funds to support Black and Latino students in the college of visual and performing arts at Syracuse University.

The concert entitled, “Our Time Has Come,” will be the first time she will be hosting the event. Williams, also a graduate of the Syracuse’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, said that she would be singing some songs that she did at Syracuse and some of her hits, like “Save the Best for Last,” and “The Way That You Love.”

Born in the Bronx, and raised in Chappaqua, Westchester,

Williams was the first Black Miss America in 1984. She parlayed her success into becoming a well-known singer and movie and TV actress.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to help talented students achieve their dreams, help them to hone their skills further,” she said. “Scholarships provide help where it is needed.”

She mentioned that scholarships are an added help, especially in the arts because when budget cuts are made the arts are generally the first to go.

“These kids are extremely talented, and it shows because college is where the seeds of their talent are planted,” she said. “We all need a little extra help in going on to having amazing careers and getting to where we all want to be.”

Williams has always been grateful to all the people at Syracuse who helped her craft her skills and friends that she made while in school.

“The folks at Syracuse have always been a source of knowledge for me,” she said. “I often turn back to the drama departments to help me research plays and scripts, and I keep abreast of what they are doing there.”

The scholarship was established in 1987 by the Office of Multicultural Advancement at Syracuse to raise $1 million to establish endowed scholarships, primarily for Black and Latino students.

The program offers eligible students leadership skills and mentorship by Syracuse University alumni and friends, in addition to a monetary scholarship. According to the scholarship website, scholars are allowed to enhance their Syracuse University education. They provide encouragement, motivation, and support to students from all disciplines.

Williams is hoping that the concert goes well and that they raise lots of money for kids she considers to be extremely talented.

“I just want folks to come out and have fun, we raise some money for this scholarship, and I get a chance to reconnect with some old and great friends,” she said.