Back in 1990, Sheryl Lee Ralph founded the DIVA Foundation nonprofit as a memorial to her friends she lost to HIV/AIDS while she was on Broadway for “Dreamgirls.” The organization was created to raise awareness of the disease and part of that awareness comes in the form of Ralph’s annual DIVAS Simply Singing! concert and DIVAS Health Awareness Week. This year, they’re celebrating 30 years! Virtually…
DIVAS Simply Singing!, which kicked off on World Aids Day (December 1), is usually an intimate event, but this year it expanded to online and is also being broadcasted live on KTLA 5 in Los Angeles due to COVID-19. Much like HIV/AIDS, COVID-19 further exposed the health disparities in minority communities.
“These are difficult times for everybody,” Ralph says. “People are looking to be uplifted, inspired and feel good. I’m thrilled to be able to bring our DIVAS Simply Singing! annual concert to a virtual audience via television and live streaming for our 30th year!”
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This year, DIVAS 2020 guest list includes Philadelphia Queen, Patti LaBelle; “The Mother of Black Hollywood” and co-star of ABC’s Black-ish, Jenifer Lewis; actor and singer of Broadway’s Hamilton, Leslie Odom Jr.; actress of FX’s Emmy nominated Pose, Mj Rodriguez; the legendary gospel performers of The Clark Sisters; Grammy award-winning singer, Lalah Hathaway; Grammy award-winning singer, Gloria Gaynor; Grammy and Tony Award recipient and singer, Stephanie Mills; Grammy award-winning singer, Thelma Houston; Grammy & Dove Award Winning Producer, Grammy Nominated Writer, and singer Rudy Currence; singer, songwriter, musician, producer and actress of The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel, Sheléa; singer and songwriter, Anthony Hamilton; pianist and singer, Oleta Adams; mezzo-soprano opera singer, J’Nai Bridges; cast of Broadway’s Mighty Real; singer and songwriter, Kenny Lattimore; singer and songwriter, Jody Watley; YouTube personality and actor, Kalen Allen; and reality TV personality and hairstylist, Miss Lawrence.
In addition to producing DIVAS Simply Singing!, Sheryl Lee Ralph is working on a new pilot coming to ABC called “Harlem’s Kitchen” and she’s got a new book out (Redefining Diva 2.0)! Watch our interview up top where she dishes on it all, and for more information on the DIVAS Simply Singing! and DIVAS Health Awareness Week schedule, visit divassimplysinging.com.
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A Tribute to Folks We Lost to AIDS
1. Franklyn Seales 1952-1990Source: 1 of 8
2. Jermaine Stewart 1957-1997Source: 2 of 8
3. Gia Carangi 1960-1986Source: 3 of 8
4. Sharon Redd 1945-1992Source: 4 of 8
5. Pedro Zamora 1972-1994Source: 5 of 8
6. Freddie Mercury 1946-1991Source: 6 of 8
7. Anthony Perkins 1932-1992Source: 7 of 8
8. Robert Reed 1932-1992Source: 8 of 8
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