My conversation with actress Sheryl Lee Ralph couldn’t have taken place at a better time. Sheryl was one of the presenters at the 2016 McDonald’s 365 Black Awards. It was on the gold carpet where we got a chance to catch up. My dialogue opened with asking Sheryl Lee Ralph to share her highlights from the recently aired TV One “Unsung” episode. Ralph explained the following:
When you do things like this it reminds you of things you don’t want to remember and when you have to relive it again, it’s very interesting. It actually inspired me. It inspired me so much that I reached out to Loretta Devine and Jennifer Holiday and told them we must get together and celebrate. So on July 10, we will be celebrating at the Ford Theater in Los Angeles celebrating Dream Girls 35. It’s been 35 years ago that we were doing Dream Girls; I’m very excited about us reuniting for the occasion.
I loved how she kept everything positive and she merely described what she had to remember as “interesting.” It was no secret that during the Dream Girls run, she was dealing with a lot. Ralph and Jennifer Holiday were not getting along. Ralph had developed an eating disorder, which she came to grips with one day after she passed out during rehearsal.
Immediately, her parents picked up Ralph from the theater, taking her to attend a health camp in upstate New York to get much needed rehabilitation. Ralph would return to Dream Girls to have to endure the death of the director Michael Bennett, who died from complications of HIV. The way everyone treated Bennett because of not being properly informed about HIV sparked Ralph to launch her Divas Simply Singing non profit organization.
This year marks the 25th year of the Divas Simply Singing fundraiser. It’s the longest running HIV awareness fundraiser to date. Check out the video after the break and see why Sheryl Lee Ralph started off her interview by giving thanks to rolling out.