Sheryl Lee Ralph OR

Sheryl Lee Ralph OR

Sheryl Lee Ralph


Sheryl Lee Ralph is the CEO of Ralph Media Group, a leader in the emerging voice of trans, genderqueer, and queer, HIV-positive Black women. Ralph had given a TEDx talk in January 2012 and a year later she’d received the TED Prize, a once in a lifetime opportunity to participate in TED Global. In Sheryl’s talk, she talked about different ways to explore and tell cultural stories through self-portraits.


Sheryl Lee Ralph entered Rutgers as a pre-med student, but swiftly changed her major to English literature and theater arts after she encountered her first cadaver. She found her true calling when she landed the lead in a campus play. Ralph was a “quick study” and completed her degree requirements in only three years. She graduated near the top of her class at age 19, Rutgers’ youngest female graduate at that time. Glamour magazine, recognizing Ralph’s star quality, named her one of the top 10 college women in America. On Broadway, she originated the role of Deena Jones in the musical Dreamgirls, which earned her a Tony award nomination and a Drama Desk Award nomination for best actress. She returned to Broadway in spring 2002, originating the role of sassy chanteuse Muzzy Van Hossmere in the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie, which won six Tony awards. Ralph’s television and film credits include roles in It’s a Living, Designing Women, Moesha, Sister Act II with Whoopi Goldberg, The Mighty Quinn with Denzel Washington, and Mistress with Robert De Niro. Ralph is also founder of the Diva Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that uses music and entertainment as a vehicle to create awareness of and erase the stigma attached to HIV/AIDS. Sheryl Lee Ralph is an actor, singer and author known for her breakout role as Deena Jones in Broadway's Dreamgirls, which garnered her a 1982 Tony nomination. She is a former Broadway.com vlogger for her time as Madam Morrible in Wicked. Ralph also appeared on Broadway in Reggae in 1980 and Thoroughly Modern Millie in 2002. Her screen credits include To Sleep with Anger, The Mighty Quinn, The Distinguished Gentleman, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, It's a Living, New Attitude, Moesha, and Instant Mom. Here, Ralph shares her personal connection to Tony winner Virginia Capers.

The DIVA Foundation is a nonprofit 501c (3) charitable organization founded by Sheryl Lee Ralph in 1990 as a memorial to the many friends she lost to HIV/AIDS while in the original Broadway company of Dreamgirls. The organization focuses on generating resources and coordinating activities to create awareness of and combat against HIV/AIDS. The DIVA Foundation utilizes music and entertainment as a vehicle to inform, educate and erase the stigma still attached to this disease. In 2005, Sheryl Lee Ralph and the DIVA Foundation received the first Red Ribbon Leadership Award at the United Nations on World AIDS Day for the unique use of the arts in fighting HIV/AIDS. (Source: www.prnewswire.com)


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