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“Raise Your Voice” – The Hollywood Reporter

Sheryl Lee Ralph is still singing and getting a standing ovation.

Just won her Emmy on Monday night, Abbott Elementary School the star attended Elizabeth Taylor’s End AIDS Festival at West Hollywood Park on Thursday night to receive her second trophy of the week. Here’s her path through three decades of working against the AIDS pandemic through her DIVA Foundation, which has a shining history of giving concerts about the benefits of HIV and health awareness. The longest-running annual AIDS/AIDS in the United States. Decorated in a red dress and supported by her two children and Abbott co-stars Lisa Ann Walter, Ralph took the stage to cheers of applause.

In taking her place on the podium under the lights and in front of 300 guests, including Colin Farrell (who detailed his strong relationship with Taylor) and guests Paris Jackson, Jennifer Tilly and Alexandra Shipp, Ralph broke into the song by tying the ropes once again. premiered “Endangered Species” by Dianne Reeves, she sang at the Emmys to viral results.

“On December 20, 1981, I made my Broadway debut. It’s a lie, actually, but it sounds a lot better than talking about the failure I came out with,” quipped Ralph as he began his speech by recalling the background of the platform. his foundation. “Dream girls. It was the best and worst time of my life. Of course, the most amazing was the performance of the ball on Broadway. The worst is when you watch your friend/actor die from a mysterious illness. They get sick, and they die. They are sick. There is no dead process. They get sick, and they die. Some of them have developed strange purple marks on their bodies. They died.”

So Ralph started to act and eventually founded the foundation in 1990 as a memorial to the friends she had lost at the time as an early member of the Dream girls cast. Even being an activist is far from easy, she said.

“It was a bad time in America just 40 years ago. If you are someone in the LGBTQIA community and community, I want you to know that someone, 40 years ago, died for your rights today. For a transgender person living in your truth, I want you to remember what it took for you to even be considered a human because in the war you were shut down because you did it poorly. You deserve who you are,” explains Ralph. “The truth is, it’s not easy, and 40 years later, people want to act like it didn’t happen, but it did. It was horrible. It was. it’s ugly, and that’s America. It’s spread to the rest of the world.”

She continued: “When you use your voice to speak up, people want to tell you, ‘You need to be quiet. No one wants to hear about that. ‘ Even people who have been infected tell you, ‘This is not your fight. Stop it. You will make it worse for us. ‘ Because some people didn’t use their voices, didn’t speak up, stayed silent, it became and still is a horrible thing for all of us. Because no matter what you think, some women in the South, in America are now fighting AIDS. Some women are currently living with HIV. As quiet as it is kept, people still die of AIDS in America. “

And other places. That night’s other honoree, Charlize Theron, was unable to attend because she was filming The Old Guard 2 in Rome. She delivered her acceptance speech via video and said that her Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project has partnered with the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation on a new initiative supporting young women, girls, the LGBTQ+ community and other affected populations in South Africa.

“This pilot program will support work at the intersection of gender-based violence and HIV, leveraging critical resources for community-based organizations focused on responding to and preventing gender-based violence. ,” said the Oscar winner. “I only have four words for all of us: Let’s get to work.”

Ralph also leans on a similar emotion at the end of his speech. “Aids in America is still here. Enhance your voice. Work. Validate it, and open your heart and mind to people who are not like you,” she said. “That is Sheryl Lee Ralph, president, chief executive officer, founder of DIVA, the divinely inspired AIDS Awareness Foundation. For thirty years, we have found a way when there was no way for us. But we lit it. We’re using our voices because I’m an endangered species, and I know where my voice belongs.”

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