Vanessa Williams' most recent stage role featured lyrics written in the '50s that have an "eerie" relevance in 2018.
Williams appeared in the Encores! production, Hey, Look Me Over!, earlier this month, in which she performed songs originally performed by Lena Horne -- someone who she says she has an "unbreakable connection" with -- music that "still holds up," according to Williams.
"It's interesting that we're talking about the '50s and, more than 60 years later, some of the things I'm talking about in one song, 'Push de Button' from Jamaica, is Manhattan being this big island with everything that is automated," she explained to AOL Entertainment over the phone. "To them, it was push the button out comes orange juice, but there's one lyric that goes, 'All Republicans have buttons!'"
"In the '50s, I'm sure they were talking about a Republican candidate running for office and people wearing a pin or a button, but nowadays, when you hear about a Republican with buttons, it's the president having access to the nuclear button," she added with a laugh. "It's completely different, but still relevant. It's amazing how eerie these things can be."
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Vanessa Williams out and about
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 06: Vanessa Williams poses at The 7th Annual #KnockOutHeartDisease Campaign Launch at Burlington Union Square on February 6, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/Bruce Glikas/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 06: Jillian Hervey and Vanessa Williams team up with WomenHeart for the fight against heart disease in women at Burlington Union Square on February 6, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Santiago Felipe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 11: Vanessa Williams with cast during the final performance curtain call for the New York City Center Encores! at 25 production of 'Hey, Look Me Over!' on February 11, 2018 at the City Center Theatre in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 11: Vanessa Williams attends the final performance after party for the New York City Center Encores! at 25 production of 'Hey, Look Me Over!' on February 11, 2018 at the City Center Theatre in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 08: Vanessa Williams poses backstage during the Pamela Roland New York Fashion Show at Pier 59 on February 8, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DECEMBER 08: Vanessa Williams attends the Global Gift Gala on day three of the 14th annual Dubai International Film Festival held at the Versace Hotel on December 8, 2017 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for DIFF)
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DECEMBER 06: Vanessa Williams attends the Opening Night Gala of the 14th annual Dubai International Film Festival held at the Madinat Jumeriah Complex on December 6, 2017 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for DIFF,)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 04: Vanessa Williams attends the 'Right Before I Go' Benefit performance at Town Hall on December 4, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 15: Vanessa Williams arrives at the Gershwin Prize Honoree's Tribute Concert at DAR Constitution Hall on November 15, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: Vanessa L. Williams attends 'Torch Song' Off-Broadway Opening Night - Party at Copacabana on October 19, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 04: Vanessa Williams attends the National Geographic Encounter Blue Carpet VIP Preview Celebration on October 4, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Pont/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 09: Vanessa Williams is seen attending Christian Siriano during New York Fashion Week wearing Christian Siriano on September 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Sperzel/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 09: Vanessa Williams attends the Christian Siriano collection during the September 2017 New York Fashion Week: The Shows at Pier 59 on September 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 09: (L-R) Vanessa Williams, Christian Siriano, Gina Gershon and Patricia Clarkson pose backstage for the Christian Siriano fashion show during New York Fashion Week: The Shows at Pier 59 on September 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
MODERN FAMILY - 'The Long Goodbye' - Phil and Claire realize that Alex may be more self-sufficient in college than they give her credit for when they drop in for a quick visit. Meanwhile, Manny is determined to avoid a long tearful goodbye after Gloria and Jay move him into his college dorm. Finally, Mitch may have accidentally accelerated a planned renovation, and Hayley gets an unexpected opportunity when she befriends a wealthy female member at the country club. 'Modern Family' premieres WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 4 (9:00-9:31 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (Richard Cartwright/ABC via Getty Images)
SARAH HYLAND, VANESSA WILLIAMS
OCEAN CITY, NJ - JUNE 25: Vanessa Williams performs in concert at the Ocean City Music Pier on June 25, 2017 in Ocean City, New Jersey. (Photo by Donald Kravitz/Getty Images)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE WITH ANDY COHEN -- Pictured (l-r): Vanessa Williams and Star Jones -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 12: Vanessa Williams attends 2017 Education Through Music Children's Benefit Gala on June 12, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 02: Actress Vanessa Williams of 'Daytime Divas' attends the NASDAQ opening bell at NASDAQ on June 2, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Steve Zak Photography/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 08: Actress and singer Vanessa Williams attends the Pamella Roland Resort 2018 Presentation at Bvlgari on June 8, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Randy Brooke/Getty Images)
THE VIEW - Former co-host of 'The View' Star Jones with Vanessa Williams and a performance from the cast of the Tonyï¿½ nominated Broadway musical 'Come From Away' airs Friday, June 2, 2017 on ABC's 'The View.' 'The View' airs Monday-Friday (11:00 am-12:00 pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network.
(Photo by Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABc via Getty Images)
STAR JONES, JOY BEHAR, SUNNY HOSTIN, VANESSA WILLIAMS, SARA HAINES
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 01: Executive producer Star Jones (L) and actress Vanessa Williams attend the 'Daytime Diva's' New York Screening at the Whitby Hotel on June 1, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 31: Actors Vanessa Williams onstage during Build Presents Vanessa Williams, Star Jones, Chloe Bridges, Camille Guaty & Fiona Gubelmann Discussing 'Daytime Divas' at Build Studio on May 31, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by J. Countess/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 31: Vanessa Williams attends the Build Series to discuss the new VH1 show 'Daytime Divas' at Build Studio on May 31, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 04: Actress/Singer Vanessa Williams attends the New York City Ballet 2017 Spring Gala at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center on May 4, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/FilmMagic)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 28: Singer and actress Vanessa Williams performs at PBS' 2017 National Memorial Day Concert at U.S. Capitol, West Lawn on May 28, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Capital Concerts)
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A Tony nominee, Williams began her stage career back in 1985 and has since appeared in countless productions on and off Broadway. The first black Miss America winner has in many ways paved the way for others in her decades-long career, which also includes multiple Grammy and Emmy nominations. During our interview with Williams, she reflected on the importance of Black History Month and recognizing more recent influential black leaders.
"I’m fascinated by the new information and new discoveries," Williams explained. "When I did that show 'Who Do you Think You Are?,' though, I realized how tremendously deep our roots go in this country. I can trace my ancestors back to the 1700s! Many people of European descent can’t do that."
"We need to realize that we are as essential as anyone else in building this country," she added.
In addition to celebrating Black History Month, Williams is also spreading awareness about Heart Health Month, also in February. The star, alongside her daughter Jillian Hervey (who is one half of the musical group Lion Babe), recently teamed up with WomenHeart and Burlington Stores to encourage women to receive heart health screenings. It's part of the larger effort to "knock out heart disease," which is the leading cause of death in women.
"The common theme is that women have these issues or either no one pays them any attention, thinking, ‘Oh, they’re drama queens’ or ‘Oh, it’s not that bad’, and blow them off, or they themselves think it can’t be that bad in terms of finding out what their symptoms mean," Williams said of the issues facing women. "Everyone’s got their personal story, and you’ve just got to listen to your body and pay attention. If you’ve got a symptom, and they’re telling you it’s nothing, but you know you have a crushing pain on your heart, be your best advocate and get checked."
Though not something she has had to face personally, fighting heart disease is something that has deeply affected Williams' family. Three of her four grandparents died of heart disease before reaching the age of 65, including her paternal grandmother who died at the age of 28 while carrying her sixth child.
"Back in the day, they'd just say you had a weak heart," she explained, before adding that Dr. Oz explained that her grandmother most likely suffered from preeclampsia.
Vanessa Williams is encouraging women to get screened for avoid heart disease by going here.