UB ReVisit: Sheryl Lee Ralph Talks Moesha, Divas and Dreamgirls
Original Dreamgirl, Sheryl Lee Ralph is a multifaceted jewel of a woman who sparkles in every area of her life. An acclaimed show business “pro”, her award winning body of work in film, television and the Broadway stage includes originating and creating the role of Deena Jones on Broadway in the landmark musical Dreamgirls, which earned her a Tony Award Nomination and a Drama Desk Award Nomination for Best Actress.
After Dreamgirls, Ms. Ralph turned her attention to music, television, and film. She scored a top-ten selling dance hit in the mid-eighties with the infectious anthem In the Evening. The video is a YouTube hit.
Ms. Ralph began her career on the silver screen in the film A Piece of the Action as Barbara Hanley with Sydney Poitier and Bill Cosby. She went on to star as Denzel Washington’s wife in The Mighty Quinn filmed in Jamaica. And starred as Robert De Niro’s mistress in Mistress. Sheryl Lee won the Independent Spirit Award for her role as Linda in To Sleep With Anger with Danny Glover. She and Whoopi Goldberg shared the screen with Lauryn Hill in Sister Act 2 and with Morgan Freeman in Just Getting Started.
On the Broadway stage, she was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actress in a ground-breaking musical Dreamgirls for her role as Deena Jones. In 2017 Sheryl made Theatre history becoming the very first African-American female to play the role of Madame Morrible in the Broadway musical, Wicked.
Sheryl‘s television credits are numerous. She is known for playing Ginger St. James on It’s a Living, Etienne Toussaint-Bouvier on Designing Women, and beloved for her role as Dee Mitchell on Moesha (for which she was voted one of TV’s Favorite Moms). She made TV history playing the first Black transsexual, Claire on the Showtime series, Barbershop. S
Sheryl has a recurring role on the reboot of Mcgyver, as Mama Colton. Recently she also appeared in Will Packer‘s, “The Photograph” alongside Issa Rae.
Sheryl Lee’s book Redefining Diva made her a best-selling Amazon author. In 1984, Ralph released her only album “In the Evening,” which hit #6 on the Billboard charts the same year.
Ralph produces an annual benefit concert, Divas Simply Singing, which raises awareness for HIV/AIDS and other life threatening diseases. Jenifer Lewis, Shanice, Deborah Cox, Kathy Sledge, Kelly Price, Loretta Devine, Faith Evans, Raven Symone, Amber Riley, LaShun Pace, among others have participated in the annual event.
Sheryl Lee Ralph is the proud mother to children, Etienne and Ivy (named after her mother, iconic Jamaican designer, Ivy Ralph O.D.) and wife to Senator Vincent Hughes of Pennsylvania. In July 2004, Ralph was inducted as an honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Ralph has been awarded Honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters from Tougaloo College and Huston Tillotson Univeristy for her dedication to humanity and raising health and HIV awareness.
Ms. Ralph currently stars in the CBS series FAM, and launched a podcast, “Diva Defined,” where she talks to other powerful women making moves in their various life and career paths. Sheryl and her guests are inspiring people each week with this incredible new project.
In this ReVisit celebrating our 15 Year Anniversary. We ReVisit Ms. Ralph‘s 2013 interview with Aries , in support of her role on the NBC series “Smash.”
We took the opportunity to speak to the diva about her amazing career thus far. Sheryl speaks on the legacy of “Dreamgirls,”…