“It’s difficult to remember a time when people died in numbers too great to imagine and families turned their backs on loved ones dying in silence, stigma and shame. I will never forget.” Sheryl Lee Ralph
For thirty years Sheryl Lee Ralph has done something very rare, she has simply dared to care for those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. She has used her celebrity to give voice to those society would rather not hear from.
Yes, it’s hard to remember that 21 years ago people didn’t really talk about AIDS in America but Sheryl Lee Ralph has never forgotten. Understanding that silence equals death Ralph created the DIVA (Divinely Inspired Victoriously Anointed) Foundation. Her dedicated commitment has led to the 21st Annual Divas Simply Singing! And her critically acclaimed one-woman show, “Sometimes I Cry,” a production written and performed by Ralph, which explores the lives of women infected and affected by HIV/AIDS and continues to tour the world.
“If was fortunate for the country – and world – that two years ago Ralph became sufficiently outraged over the silence about HIV/AIDS and how it kills too many people, too many women, to many black Americans. Not only did she find her voice when writing Sometimes I Cry. She found her calling.” – Mary Martin Niepold, Winston-Salem Journal
With continued success on stage, screen, television and music along with her philanthropic endeavors, Sheryl Lee Ralph has never been one to rest on her laurels. A triple threat DreamGirl, Ralph is an acclaimed veteran of film, television and the Broadway stage. Her award-winning work includes creating the role of Deena Jones in the legendary Broadway musical, “DreamGirls,” which earned her Best Actress nods for Tony and Drama Desk Awards. She returned to Broadway in the Tony-award winning musical, “Thoroughly Modern Millie,’ creating the role of sassy chanteuse Muzzy Van Hossmere to rave reviews. Ralph‘s book “Redefining DIVA” is scheduled for release by Simon & Schuster in March 2012.
No stranger to television, Ralph’s credits include “It’s a Living,” “Designing Women,” “ER,” and most notably, “Moesha” for which TV Guide named her one of TV’s best Mom’s and was nominated for seven Image Awards. Sheryl has shared the big screen with some of Hollywood’s award-winning leading men with film credits that include “The Mighty Quinn” with Denzel Washington; “Mistress” with Robert de Niro; “The Distinguished Gentlemen” with Eddie Murphy and “To Sleep With Anger” with fellow AIDS activist, Danny Glover for which Ralph picked up a win for Best Supporting Actress at the Independent Spirit Awards for her critically acclaimed performance.
Finding success in writing and directing, Ralph’s award-winning short film, “Secrets,” co-starring award-winning actress Alfre Woodard and Robin Givens was a finalist in the HBO Film Short Competition, Showtime’s Filmmaker Award Series, and the BET Filmmaker Award Competition. The film was also selected as the audience favorite at the Outfest Film Festival. “Secrets” was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, as well as the Hollywood Film Festival, the Acapulco Film Festival and the Urban World Film Festival.
Did you know?
Women comprise the fastest-growing population of new HIV infections in the U.S. women are 8 times more likely than men to contract HIV from one act of intercourse. Women are becoming increasingly affected by HIV -- about 47% of the 34.7 million adults living with HIV or AIDS worldwide are women. 1,000,000 Americans are infected with HIV and most of them don't know it. Don't let one of them be you.
Get tested! Visit www.testtogether.org or www.thedivafoundation.orgCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun