*COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on our day to day lives – but Tony nominated and Spirit Award winning actress/activist Sheryl Lee Ralph is booked and busy with her ongoing slate of dynamic TV, literary, political and entrepreneurial projects, revealing the incredible truth that it can’t stop the flow of creative determination and LOVE. “Love should not be quarantined.”
In addition to an audio update of her bestselling critically acclaimed 2016 book “Redefining Diva: Life Lessons from the Original Dreamgirl,” Sheryl Lee is making her directorial debut for BET her TV, “serving” as the 45th President of the USA on the Disney-owned Freeform networks supernatural drama “Motherland: Fort Salem” and streaming her popular digital talk show “Divas Simply Quarantined” on Facebook Live. Sheryl is also pleased to announce that ABC has greenlit her pilot “Harlem’s Kitchen,” a heated drama starring Sheryl Lee and Delroy Lindo.
In December, Sheryl Lee will produce the 30th Annual DIVAS Simply Singing!, the longest consecutive running musical AIDS benefit in the United States. The virtual event will be airing for the first time on KTLA Los Angeles and other Nexstar stations on Saturday, December 5 from 7-9 p.m.
The politically engaged Sheryl Lee recently launched the website www.shopwithsheryllee.com for her for her stunning, bling-adorned VOTE masks she designed in addition to a line of VOTE and POWER T-shirts for men and women in a multitude of colors and designs. With her designer mask, she wants people to “Spread the Message, Not the Virus.” A passionate supporter of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, she is married to Senator Vincent Hughes (D), representing the 7th Senatorial District of Philadelphia. He is currently the Democratic chair of the Senate Appropriation Committee, the first African-American to hold that position.
“I want people to exercise their right to vote,” Sheryl Lee says. “I believe in hope and change, and right now Joe Biden and Kamala Harris represent just that. To paraphrase Joe Biden, ‘who we’ve been these past few years can’t be who we are. The country must move forward. We cannot go backwards to an unjust society where racism and hatred are the norm.’ Black people have been under terrorist harm for years, and that has to stop before we can live up to our ideals as a just society where all people are created and treated equal. VOTE!”
Sheryl Lee was inspired to record an audio update of her book “Redefining Diva” because of the promising new developments and opportunities for African American actresses since the release of the original version. “People need to be aware of from whence we came,” she says. “These encouraging shifts in attitude and the expanded number of roles that have resulted didn’t just happen overnight. They are the result of a lot of groundwork laid by previous creative generations.”
REDEFINING DIVA 2.0 will be available in Audible. At home in a TV, film or Broadway stage, Sheryl Lee is very excited about her transition to director with “Like Comment Subscribe,” debuting October 17 on BET Her TV. The powerful script showcases the life of a beautiful young social media influencer who in the midst of planning her wedding is diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. The story hit home with Sheryl Lee because a month before she was given the script, her sister in law was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. The week before she started shooting, her sister in law lost her battle to stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. “Black women’s pain is not taken as seriously as others,” Sheryl Lee says. “This film is an opportunity to launch much needed conversations. Cancer Matters.”
The COVID-19 lockdown hit Hollywood just as the cameras were set to roll on the ABC pilot “Harlem’s Kitchen,” an intense hour-long family drama starring Sheryl Lee and Delroy Lindo. The show is about a Harlem restaurateur and community hero whose deeper truths become self-evident after his sudden death by heart attack. His widow, played by Sheryl Lee, rises to a new level of family leadership. “If you like ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ ‘Scandal’ and ‘How to Get Away with Murder,’” she promises, “this show is the answer to your TV prayers.”
And if that’s not enough, devoted TV viewers can now enjoy more of Sheryl Lee’s onscreen charisma on Netflix. In August, the streaming platform added all six seasons of “Moesha,” where she played stepmom to the title character (played by singer/actress Brandy). Moesha immediately hit the Netflix Top Ten. “I’m encouraged by the renewed support I’m getting from young people on social media as a result,” she says. “So many of them tell me how they hated Dee when they were young but they LOVE her now that they are parents themselves. Good Mothers get better with the aging for their children.”
In March 2020, the Freeform network launched the debut season of “Motherland: Fort Salem,” which features Sheryl Lee as President Kelly Wade, the United States’ indomitable African American female President, described by the actress as “Kamala Harris on steroids.”
While working on these and other self-generated projects, Sheryl Lee has been hosting “Divas Simply Quarantined,” a digital series on Facebook Live every Sunday at 7 p.m. EST. In support of her non-profit D.I.V.A Foundation, which has raised funds and awareness on behalf of HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases for over 30 years, the show is an opportunity to engage people and offer hope during this anxious, stressful year.
“These are difficult times for everybody,” she says. “People are looking to be uplifted, inspired and feel good. I called many of the DIVAS who have been part of our annual gala over the years. We talk about how they’re feeling and how their lives have changed since the Corona lockdown. We also talk about career and where they see themselves in the future. I’m thrilled to have a few thousand dedicated consumers tuning in every week – and growing!”
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BLIND ITEM: Singer Holds Housekeeper Hostage
This foreign born former A list singer in a group and solo has, over the years turned into an awful human being. The antithesis of who everyone thought he was when he was in the band. He recently went on a drug fueled rage against his housekeeper and terrorized her for 48 straight hours and wouldn’t let her leave the house or use the phone.
Can you guess the foreign born/former A list singer? Here’s a hint: he’s not Black
‘What Have You Done for Black People?’ Obama Sits Down in Person With The Breakfast Club (Watch)
*President Obama’s jam-packed book tour for “A Promised Land” stopped by The Breakfast Club Wednesday morning for a wide-ranging interview, including the ongoing question by that one Black person in your orbit who keeps asking, “What has Obama done for Black people?”
DJ Envy asked Obama how he takes it when people question what he’s done for people of color, or say that he hasn’t done enough.
“I understand it because when I got elected, there was so much excitement and hope… And I also think we generally viewed the presidency as almost like a monarchy.In the sense of, ‘once the President is there he can just do whatever he needs to get done and if he’s not doing it then it must be because he didn’t want to do,’” Obama said.
He then pointed out that the current president appears to be able to “do what he wants” because he “breaks the law.” But Obama said he was very confident in what he had done for “Black folks” during his time in office “because I had the statistics to prove it.”
He said that among his accomplishments for African Americans, 3 million more Black people had health insurance who didn’t have it before, the number of Black folks in prison dropped for the first time in years, 30 percent fewer people were in the juvenile correction system, Black poverty dropped to its lowest level since 1968, Black businesses and income rose, and data shows that “millions of Black folks were better off by the time I left office.”
After Charlamagne Tha God pressed him to be more specific about his policies that aided Black people, rather than the “rising tide lifts all boats” answer, Obama conceded, “There is no way in eight years to make up for 200 years.”
Here’s Obama’s full interview with DJ Envy, Angela Yee and Charlamagne Tha God.
Fantasia Announces Pregnancy in Sweet Instagram Video with Husband Kendall Taylor [WATCH]
*Singer Fantasia has announced that she and her husband of five years Kendall Taylor are expecting their first child together.
The couple revealed the news during an Instagram Live, check out the cute moment via the clip below.
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Fantasia has two children from previous relationships; 19-year-old Zion and 8-year-old Dallas.
The singer gave birth to Zion as a teenager and last year she posted a series of photos and videos of her daughter in honor of her 18th birthday.
In the caption she wrote: “I remember the day my water broke. It was the scariest feeling in the world. We lived in Winston Salem at the time and Papa Joe had left the house for a second and so I called the ambulance. Zi, I was terrified because I was so young and I wanted to give you the world but I didn’t know how I was going to do it. You came a little early and at the time I was thinking it was because you were either nosey (lol) or you heard all my cry’s and felt you needed to come on out and protect me. Now I see it was the protection part and still to this day you go hard for Mommy!”
Fanny also recalled a funny memory of Zion as a toddler and the family pet.
“We had a dog named Diva,” she explained. “Zion would hit her from time to time, she was 3 years old, and Diva would always get her butt right back. When she did, Zion would run in the room crying, ‘Diva Said, Diva Said.’ I told her DIVA CANT TALK ZION!!”
In a second post she noted of watching her daughter grow up: “[I’m] having a hard time with this 18 thing.”
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