Original Dreamgirl Sheryl Lee Ralph Featured at Delta Sigma Theta International Film Festival in Atlanta This Saturday!

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Hello World,

festival resizeThe Atlanta Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated will host The  Delta Sigma Theta International Film Festival, “Housed In Strength & Dignity” on Saturday, April 30, 2016 at the Shirley A. Massey Executive Conference Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Actress and singer Soror Sheryl Lee Ralph, a member of the sorority, is the 2016 Ambassador and judge for the festival.

Ralph, who currently has a reoccurring role CBS’ hit drama “Criminal Minds,” has found new success with her production company, Island Girl Productions, writing, directing and producing her award-winning film short “Secrets“, which will be showcased at Delta Sigma Theta International Film Festival.

“The Delta Sigma Theta International Film Festival was created to support Delta’s global initiatives and to promote cross-cultural awareness within the Atlanta community.  Another very special component of the event is to give filmmakers interested in cross-cultural stories a forum to exhibit their best work. The evening promises to be enlightening, engaging, and enjoyable,” stated Andrea L. Morgan, chair of the chapter’s International Awareness and Involvement Committee.
Buy tickets for The Delta Sigma Theta International Film Festival at: atlantaalumnaedst.org.

 

Me and Sheryl Lee Ralph, my soror and fellow Jamerican, at For Sisters Only in 2011.

Me and Sheryl Lee Ralph, my soror and fellow Jamerican, at For Sisters Only in 2011.

If you miss Ralph at the film festival, you can see Ralph, who is the founding director of the DIVA (Divinely Inspired Victoriously Anointed) Foundation 501(C) 3, deliver the commencement address at Cheyney University in Pennsylvania on May 7.

Also, for one night only, the original Dreamgirls including Ralph, Loretta Devine & Jennifer Holliday are reuniting for a Broadway Under the Stars special event on Sunday, July 10 at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in Hollywood, according to broadwayworld.com.

Ralph, who is the author of Redefining Diva: Life Lessons from the Original Dreamgirl, is also the creator of the critically acclaimed Divas Simply Singing!, an evening of song and entertainment that after 25 years is the longest consecutive running musical AIDS benefit in the country.

Follow Sheryl Lee Ralph on social media at: @TheSherylRalph (TW) and @Diva3482 (IG).
Any thoughts?

7 Lessons We Can Learn About Life, Love & Creativity from the Life & Death of Prince…

afro prince

Hello World,

It’s been 21 hours and six days since Prince’s life slipped away from this earthly realm, and I doubt anyone will ever compare to him….I was off from work and running the last few steps of my four-mile run when a deejay broke into a song to say that various news outlets were reporting that Prince had died…I scurried to my car and sped to my house to get on my laptop to confirm if what I heard was true…I was stunned when it was confirmed that this horrible news was true…And ever since then, I’ve been compulsively watching various interviews with him and programs about his life, catching snippets of “Purple Rain” (I can’t seem to catch the whole movie), reading articles written by those who knew him and marveling that my generation’s Beethoven has made his transition…

I don’t profess to be a super fan of Prince although I’m certainly a fan…But still I’m somewhat surprised that his death has dominated my thoughts since I heard the news…I think it’s because his death is the third of three artists who redefined music: Michael, Whitney and now Prince…Their last names aren’t even needed because they reached icon status with their contributions to music and their music has been a mainstay in my life for as long as I can remember…But since this post is about Prince, I won’t delve anymore into Michael and Whitney for now…

I think we can learn from anyone whether emulating that person’s successes or avoiding that person’s mistakes. And in thinking about Prince’s life, there many lessons we can learn…Below are my Top 7…

1. Prince taught us to use all of our talents up and not be afraid of exploring new talents(Creativity)…What I respect the most about Prince’s life is that his creativity knew no bounds. He played various instruments used in and wrote the music and lyrics to many of his songs. He was so prolific that apparently he has a vault filled with music that very few people have heard yet. He explored colors and designs so much so that he is known for his love of purple and the paisley design. Although he had never made nor acted in a movie before and “Purple Rain” didn’t have the support of major studios, he demanded that “Purple Rain” be made according to his former manager Joseph Ruffalo. In a recent interview with CNN’s Don Lemon, he said, “Now, what kind of a guy was Prince? Like, when Prince said that, ‘We were shooting thanksgiving,’ it meant we better start shooting thanksgiving. And that started a process to make a movie outside the studio system. And, in fact, we did it independently.” His development of his talents reminds me of “The Parable of the Talents” in which three people were given talents by their master and were expected to develop them in his absence. When the master came back, two of the three had developed their talents and added more talents to the initial ones they were given, but one was too scared to develop his one talent (and probably mad that others had more than he did) and ended up being punished for wasting his talent. I know I don’t have the talent that Prince had, but I hope I’m never scared to develop and add to what I do have….

2. Prince taught us that we don’t have to broadcast our philanthropy(Life)…So I never knew how much Prince supported various organizations and causes over the course of his life until Don Lemon’s interview with Van Jones, a friend of Prince…. According to Jones, he helped to create organizations such as #YesWeCode, “a national initiative to help 100,000 young women and men from low-opportunity backgrounds find success in the tech sector” and anonymously paid for people in Oakland, California to have solar panels on their home. According to Jones, Prince was prevented from speaking about his philanthropic efforts in public because he was a Jehovah’s Witness, but Prince was so private (outside of his music) I doubt he would have said anything anyway. Prince’s approach was the opposite of the Pharisee in “The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector” who exalted himself because of his good works while God admired the approach of the tax collector who was humble.

3. Prince taught us the components of a truly good love (and sexy) love song(Love)… So in the days since Prince’s death, I’ve been trying to break down what made Prince’s love songs (my favorite of his songs) so doggone everythang…I’m thinking it’s because they were so sensory…you could hear, see, touch, smell, and taste his love songs…Here is an excerpt to “When 2 R In Love”: “Come bathe with me. Let’s drown each other in each others emotions. Bathe with me. Let’s cover each other with perfume and lotion. Bathe with me. Let me touch your body ’til your river’s an ocean. Bathe with me. Let’s kiss with one synonymous notion. That nothing’s forbidden and nothing’s taboo…when the 2 R in love.” The words of Song of Solomon have a similar effect…”Your stature is like a palm tree. And your breasts are like its clusters. ‘I said, ‘I will climb the palm tree, I will take hold of its fruit stalks.’ Oh, may your breasts be like clusters of the vine, And the fragrance of your breath like apples. And your mouth like the best wine!’ ‘It goes down smoothly for my beloved. Flowing gently through the lips of those who fall asleep.”

Feast on this song for yourself…

4. Prince taught us to preserve the sexy…While we are talking about sexy…(Life)…Getting older is no excuse to let yourself stop, drop and roll to speak…I know Prince was a man and men do have an easier time of maintaining their weight in my experience, but doggone if that man didn’t maintain his slim hips till the very end! And his hair…chile…was always a top priority…so much so that he kept his do-rag on in the rain when he performed at the Super Bowl…Folks laugh at me because I have locs but I run with a do-rag on…My do will be maintained, okay…Prince demonstrated that Psalm 139:14 is true…”I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works (me and you) are wonderful. I know that full well.”

5. Prince taught us to support other artists…(Creativity)…Prince was The Artist, but he lavishly supported the artistry of others as well…Sheila E., The Bangles, Sinead O’Connor, Morris Day & The Time, Chaka Khan, etc. are just a few of the artists who have been associated with him…And his giving to others enlarged his own legacy like what is demonstrated in Luke 6:38. “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

6. Prince taught us that being young is not a reason to not explore your talents…(Creativity)…This lesson is for my younger artists out there…I’ve wanted to be writer since I was six years old, but in those early years, I wondered if I really had anything to offer…I found this post on thatericalper.com in which Prince, as a teenager, was interviewed by his high school newspaper and his focus was apparent even back then…The article was titled “Nelson Finds It “Hard To Become Known.” Here is an excerpt: “Prince was born in Minneapolis. When asked, he said, ‘I was born here, unfortunately.’ Why? ‘I think it is very hard for a band to make it in this state, even if they’re good. Mainly because there aren’t any big record companies or studios in this state. I really feel that if we would have lived in Los Angeles or New York or some other big city, we would have gotten over by now.’ Although he had confidence in himself, he did doubt that he would be discovered…But obviously, he persevered and we all know what happened…It even says in the Bible in 1 Timothy 4:12, don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young…

symbol7. Prince taught us not to be afraid to stand up for yourself and know your worth…(Creativity, Life, Love)Prince’s battle against the record industry has been well documented over the years so I won’t rehash it here…I mean he was known as The Artist Formerly Known as Prince for years behind trying to get the rights back to his music…And before he died, he secured ownership of his music publishing…His taking on the music industry is the ultimate David and Goliath story…

I’m sure that many other lessons can be gleaned from the life of Prince Rogers Nelson, but these are uppermost in my mind…what have you learned from the life and death of Prince?

Rest in Purple Prince…

Any thoughts?

 

 

Now That Harriet Tubman Will Be on the $20 Bill, I Can Say Goodbye to President Obama…

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Hello World,

Remember when I noted on my About page “I typically blog on Sundays and Wednesdays (to coincide with Sunday Morning Church Service and Wednesday Night Bible Study), but sometimes I may post more or less depending on what is going on in my life… If God can be patient with me, I hope you can too?” Well, there you go… I did so much writing last month and the beginning of this month (various freelance projects), I was empty…all the water in my creative well had dried up and I was empty, chile…I felt drier than my dry dreadlocks but now, I’m feeling fuller again (plus my hair is did and moisturized as of yesterday LOL), and I feel like I can flow once again…(I tried to get started when I had a few drops of water down in me, but that proved to be too soon, but I’m back…I promise :) )

So on Wednesday, when I heard the news that Harriet Tubman, a modern-day Moses for American black people as she led many slaves out of slavery, is going to be on the front of the $20 bill, my inner child did a Holy Ghost dance…

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When I was a nine-year-old student at Pathway Christian School, my class dressed up as our favorite historical characters for “Character Day.” At that time in my life, I was obsessed with reading books about slaves. I think the fact that I was one of about 20 or so black kids in a school of about 200 or so white kids, I was starving for knowledge about black people.To my school’s credit, the library had a series of children’s books about slavery and important people during that time. One of the books I read was about Harriet Tubman. I was fascinated that this woman persevered after getting knocked in the head with a weight by a slave master and was willing to sacrifice so much to usher fellow slaves to freedom.

So when it came time to choose a character to be on “Character Day,” she was my choice. My parents helped me fashion my costume including a head wrap as Harriet’s head was covered in the pictures I had seen of her and a drab brown dress as I imagined that slaves did not have access to the best and most colorful of dresses. I was so excited when a local newspaper photographer took a picture of me and another student and told us we would be in the newspaper. But when I saw the photograph, I was equally disappointed. The other girl’s character in the photo was correctly identified as Betsy Ross, but I was simply and incorrectly listed as an African woman. I’ve kept that newspaper clipping since then. I’m not even sure why…But I wish I could tell that photographer that Harriet Tubman deserved to be recognized then… And now for generations to come, all Americans will recognize her whether they want to or not…

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Not only was Harriet Tubman a hero for black people, she was a hero of the Christian faith which is why my spirit is grieved that Dr. Ben Carson, who is a devout Christian, attempted to downplay Harriet Tubman by suggesting that she should be honored on a $2 bill, which hardly one ever sees anymore?

How can a black Christian man fix his mouth to say such foolishness? But then again, after all of the foolishness that he let fly out of his mouth during and after his failed candidacy for president, I should be nan surprised…But you know what, Dr. Ben Carson, I hope when these new 20s come out, someone makes them rain on you….

rain

I’m so glad that bumbling brain surgeon (how, Lord?) Ben Carson will not be our second black president, and I’m so grateful that our current first black president Barack Obama blessed us to make this new money happen…(Y’all know he had to have something to do with this…)

We may or may not see another black president during our lifetimes, but we at least we can pull some Harriets out of our wallets any time we please…

Thank you President Obama…I feel like going on…

Any thoughts?