Stage, television and film veteran Sheryl Lee Ralph is in town, performing her acclaimed one-woman play Sometimes I Cry.
You want to be there for a couple of reasons. Stage, television and film veteran Sheryl Lee Ralph is in town, performing her acclaimed one-woman play Sometimes I Cry.
You want to be there for a couple of reasons.
Obviously, the chance to catch a legend in action is not to be missed. Ralph vaulted to Broadway stardom in Dreamgirls, ascended to the screen and prevails, a daughter, as it were, of Dorothy Dandridge: Sheryl Lee Ralph stepped through the door Dandridge opened and lives up to the legacy with some of the strongest acting chops out there. She's a cultural fixture vis a vis her portrayal of career woman, wife and stepmom "Dee" on Moesha. As well, a world of accomplishment includes To Sleep With Anger with Danny Glover (for which she won Best Supporting Actress at the Independent Spirit Awards), The Distinguished Gentleman with Eddie Murphy, Mistress with Robert De Niro and her mesmerizing turn as "Lola" opposite Denzel Washington in The Mighty Quinn.
Second, Sheryl Lee Ralph isn't here to flaunt her fame. Sometimes I Cry is an activist's clarion call. And activists don't come anymore committed. Ralph is founder of The Diva Foundation, which produces Divas Simply Singing! in tribute to those taken by AIDS. Among those who've weighed in with support are Oleta Adams, Dianne Reeves and Roberta Flack. Sometimes I Cry speaks artistic voice to social issue. And does so just in time for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) come February 7.
Sometimes I Cry is inspired by real women's life-stories and their battle against HIV and AIDS. Two years ago, Ralph became outraged over the silence about HIV/AIDS and how it kills off African American women like flies. This is what she did about it. "I'm for Obama. But, like Hilary said, 'If this was an epidemic impacting white women, there would be a national imperative in effect." Sheryl Lee Ralph goes on to say, "Nothing's being done. This health epidemic is getting to the point where, we're going to be wandering around, lost in the desert and won't trust the solution. When Moses came back with tablets, they looked at him like he was a damned fool. And that's what we're doing to people who tell us about health and well-being. That's what we're doing to ourselves."
If you need any additional reason to go, frankly, I feel bad for you.
It hardly surprises that, in bringing Sometimes I Cry, Ralph has found herself face to face with good, old-fashioned sexism. A la all-this-gorgeousity-and-brains-too, she's had to put more than a few folk in check. "People look at me and expect one thing. Always, somebody brings up the way I look. And I say don't let them looks fool you." Revving up to get a roll going, she takes a breath and opens both barrels. "I realize the bar is set low, even lower as a black woman. So, when I go into a situation and soar over the bar, I'm already ahead of the game."
Sheryl Lee Ralph in Sometimes I Cry: The Lives, Loves and Losses of Women with AIDS, Thursday, February 7, 2008, 7 p.m. at the Shiloh Temple Church, located at 1201 W. Broadway Ave in Minneapolis, MN. This event is FREE and open to the public.