*Los Angeles – After the tragic loss of R&B singer Vesta to its line up, The 21st annual DIVAS Simply Singing! for a 21st century cure for HIV/AIDS is happy to add Amber Riley , who plays Mercedes Jones on the hit TV series GLEE.
Actress, activist and the show’s creator Sheryl Lee Ralph has once again assembled an all-star lineup for the 21st annual Divas Simply Singing! AIDS benefit concert which includes Grammy® Winner Bonnie Pointer, Kelly Price, Hip-Hop artist YoYo, gospel great LaShun Pace, Frenchie Davis from NBC’s The Voice, and the 2010 winners of Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound – The Voices of Destiny Choir and Raven.
Along with a reunion of Broadway’s original DreamGirls, Jennifer Holliday, Loretta Devine and Ralph herself on the same stage celebrating 30 years since the musicals iconic debut! Paying tribute to the DIVAS, singer Freddie Jackson will be the resident Divo. The pre-show will be hosted by newlywed Niecy Nash.
DIVAS Simply Singing! takes place Saturday, October 22, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre, 4401 West 8th Street, Los Angeles. Tickets prices range from $35 to $250. For tickets and information, go to www.brownpapertickets.com, call (800) 838-3006, or contact the Wilshire Ebell Theatre box office (323) 931-1277.
DIVAS Simply Singing! 2011, created and produced by Ralph – marks 30 years of AIDS in America, 30 years of DreamGirls and 21 years of DIVAS Simply Singing! It is the longest consecutive running musical HIV/AIDS benefit concert in the country to help raise awareness and erase the stigma associated with the virus. Proceeds from Divas Simply Singing! benefits The DIVA Foundation’s outreach programs.
DIVAS Simply Singing is sponsored by Merck and American Airlines. Promotional consideration provided by Damōne Roberts “The Eyebrow King,” KCAA radio personality Wendell James, and media sponsor KJLH 102.3 FM Los Angeles.
About Divas Simply Singing!
“It’s one of the best events in town, where music raises the roof, the applause pours out like love and the tears flow like redemption.” – Daryl H. Miller, LA Times
With a unique blend of song, entertainment and empowerment, this oft-praised and highly-anticipated event continues to attract some of the most talented women in show business, uniting in song against HIV/AIDS. Talents such as Chaka Khan, Patti LaBelle, Oleta Adams, Melissa Manchester, Dianne Reeves, Roberta Flack, Eartha Kitt, Stephanie Mills, Fergie, Raven, Loretta Devine, Jennifer Holiday, Miss Nancy Wilson and so many others have raised their voices in song and support of Divas Simply Singing!
Divas Simply Singing! has raised funds to help and assist HIV/AIDS organizations in Los Angeles and around the world. In the past, proceeds from the concert have benefited organizations such as Project Angel Food, Caring for Babies With AIDS, Minority AIDS Project, the Safe Place for Pediatric AIDS, the National Minority AIDS Council, and Women Alive.
About The DIVA Foundation
The DIVA Foundation is a national nonprofit 501c (3) charitable organization founded by Sheryl Lee Ralph in 1990 as a memorial to the many friends she lost to HIV/AIDS while in the original Broadway company of DreamGirls. The organization focuses on generating resources and coordinating activities to create awareness of and combat HIV/AIDS using the arts. The DIVA Foundation utilizes music and entertainment as a vehicle to inform, educate and erase the stigma still attached to this disease. In 2005, Sheryl Lee Ralph and the DIVA Foundation received the first Red Ribbon Leadership Award at the United Nations on World AIDS Day for the unique use of the arts in fighting HIV/AIDS.
About Sheryl Lee Ralph
“It’s difficult to remember a time when people died in numbers too great to imagine and families turned their backs on loved ones dying in silence, stigma and shame. I will never forget.” Sheryl Lee Ralph
For thirty years Sheryl Lee Ralph has done something very rare, she has simply dared to care for those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. She has used her celebrity to give voice to those society would rather not hear from.
Yes, it’s hard to remember that 21 years ago people didn’t really talk about AIDS in America but Sheryl Lee Ralph has never forgotten. Understanding that silence equals death Ralph created the DIVA (Divinely Inspired Victoriously Anointed) Foundation. Her dedicated commitment has led to the 21st Annual Divas Simply Singing! And her critically acclaimed one-woman show, “Sometimes I Cry,” a production written and performed by Ralph, which explores the lives of women infected and affected by HIV/AIDS and continues to tour the world.
“If was fortunate for the country – and world – that two years ago Ralph became sufficiently outraged over the silence about HIV/AIDS and how it kills too many people, too many women, to many black Americans. Not only did she find her voice when writing Sometimes I Cry. She found her calling.” – Mary Martin Niepold, Winston-Salem Journal
With continued success on stage, screen, television and music along with her philanthropic endeavors, Sheryl Lee Ralph has never been one to rest on her laurels. A triple threat DreamGirl, Ralph is an acclaimed veteran of film, television and the Broadway stage. Her award-winning work includes creating the role of Deena Jones in the legendary Broadway musical, “DreamGirls,” which earned her Best Actress nods for Tony and Drama Desk Awards. She returned to Broadway in the Tony-award winning musical, “Thoroughly Modern Millie,’ creating the role of sassy chanteuse Muzzy Van Hossmere to rave reviews. Ralph‘s book “Redefining DIVA” is scheduled for release by Simon & Schuster in March 2012.
No stranger to television, Ralph’s credits include “It’s a Living,” “Designing Women,” “ER,” and most notably, “Moesha” for which TV Guide named her one of TV’s best Mom’s and was nominated for seven Image Awards. Sheryl has shared the big screen with some of Hollywood’s award-winning leading men with film credits that include “The Mighty Quinn” with Denzel Washington; “Mistress” with Robert de Niro; “The Distinguished Gentlemen” with Eddie Murphy and “To Sleep With Anger” with fellow AIDS activist, Danny Glover for which Ralph picked up a win for Best Supporting Actress at the Independent Spirit Awards for her critically acclaimed performance.
Finding success in writing and directing, Ralph’s award-winning short film, “Secrets,” co-starring award-winning actress Alfre Woodard and Robin Givens was a finalist in the HBO Film Short Competition, Showtime’s Filmmaker Award Series, and the BET Filmmaker Award Competition. The film was also selected as the audience favorite at the Outfest Film Festival. “Secrets” was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, as well as the Hollywood Film Festival, the Acapulco Film Festival and the Urban World Film Festival.
Did you know?
Women comprise the fastest-growing population of new HIV infections in the U.S. women are 8 times more likely than men to contract HIV from one act of intercourse. Women are becoming increasingly affected by HIV — about 47% of the 34.7 million adults living with HIV or AIDS worldwide are women. 1,000,000 Americans are infected with HIV and most of them don’t know it. Don’t let one of them be you.
Get tested! Visit www.testtogether.org or www.thedivafoundation.org
“AIDS affects us all. Get tested!” Sheryl Lee Ralph
Tom Estey, publicist
Tom Estey Publicity and Promotions