Actress, HIV activist Sheryl Lee Ralph visits Grambling State University as Black History Month Convocation Speaker
By ANDREA BEASLEY
Grambling State University
Award-winning actress Sheryl Lee Ralph will visit Grambling State University on Thursday, Feb. 28, as a part of the university’s Black History Month convocation.
Ralph is known for her ability to encourage and empower students and because the university has regularly invited “black males…we thought it would be nice to have a black female, especially because we see her as a positive role model,” said David C. Ponton, the university’s student activities dean.
Ralph, a self- proclaimed “diva,” will address the university community and the public during a 6 p.m. program at the T.H. Auditorium. Ponton said in an interview that Ralph will talk about “where we come from to where we are now and where we will go.”
“I feel honored, because I would personally think she wouldn’t have time, but I want to see what she has to say…” said sophomore California native Markisha Roches, 19.
The legendary actress began her career on stage in the Tony Award-nominated play “Dreamgirls.” It was her role as Dee Mitchell on the highly-rated television series “Moesha” that labeled Ralph as one of television’s favorite moms.
“She was more easygoing than the dad, " recalled Shatiya Williams, 22, talking about Ralph’s character on the show. The Louisiana native said she is looking forward to seeing her in person.
Ralph’s visit is a part of the university’s Lyceum Series, a series of “cultural events that are put on by a committee that exposes students…to different things in our community and globally,” said Ponton, a Louisiana native.
The mother of two, Ralph, 56, is adamant about promoting for HIV/AIDS awareness, primarily through her global non-profit D.I.V.A. (Divinely Inspired Victoriously Aware) Foundation, has worked for 20 plus years to raise money for “resources and producing events that raise awareness and educate millions.”
Ralph’s most recent book is Redefining Diva: Life Lessons from the Original Dreamgirl. The personal memoir depicts her experiences as en entertainer and growing up as a young girl with a passion and determination to succeed.
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