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Sheryl Lee Ralph

Tony Nominee/Emmy Winner Sheryl Lee Ralph Will Sign Memoir DIVA 2.0: 12 Life Lessons from Me for You Tuesday at Barnes & Noble

By: Ellis Nassour

April 10, 2023: Indefatigable Tony nominee as the co-star of the legendary Dreamgirls and 2022 Emmy winner for ABC’s smash hit Abbott Elementary Sheryl Lee Ralph can now add another item to her list of accomplishments: Author. She’s back in own on  Tuesday/April 18 at Noon, signing DIVA 2.0: 12 Life Lessons from Me for You (Wordee Books; 193 pages; 23 B&W photos; Trade Edition; $19.99 SRP) her book of guideposts at Barnes & Noble, 555 Fifth Avenue.

Tony Nominee/Emmy Winner Sheryl Lee Ralph Will Sign Memoir DIVA 2.0: 12 Life Lessons from Me for You Tuesday at Barnes & Noble

By: Ellis Nassour

April 10, 2023: Indefatigable Tony nominee as the co-star of the legendary Dreamgirls and 2022 Emmy winner for ABC’s smash hit Abbott Elementary Sheryl Lee Ralph can now add another item to her list of accomplishments: Author. She’s back in own on  Tuesday/April 18 at Noon, signing DIVA 2.0: 12 Life Lessons from Me for You (Wordee Books; 193 pages; 23 B&W photos; Trade Edition; $19.99 SRP) her book of guideposts at Barnes & Noble, 555 Fifth Avenue.  

Of her memoir, Ralph states, “My story will empower and encourage anyone seeking to find and live their best life with beauty, dignity and a grace that radiates from within.” In her very tale of her stellar career, Ralph says she took the best lessons learned and used them to move her career forward. “Now, I’m happy to share them with you.”

The best advice she ever received as she was beginning her career came from her parents: “Be as nice as you can to as many people as you can for as long as you can.” She notes, “And that was my guiding light.”

It wasn’t always easy. “A teacher told me that my greatest difficulty in life was going to be making a choice as to what I could do because I could do so many things. So, I worked hard to develop my skills.”  

However, when she went to Hollywood and began making the rounds, “I was told I was too tall, too short, too black and not black enough — all in one day! That was my challenge and I decided I had to push on through.”

In the chapter, How I Became a Diva, Ralph admits the title of her book is apt: . “I’ve been called the ultimate diva by close friends and utter strangers … I’ve heard it more times than I can count! And to them, I say thank you. I am the ultimate Diva.” 

If anyone knows a thing or two about staying power in the capricious world of show business, it’s Ralph. In her personal recollections, she reveals the ups and downs of establishing a career, handling stardom, the heartbreaks and triumphs, the strength she found in her family, and finding the kind of love that gives wings.

Of course, if she is a diva, you will find she’s the nicest one. She is amazingly personable and even interested in you. You get the sort of diva she really is from her riotous and Emmy-winning portrayal of beloved teacher Barbara Howard on the hit sit-com, Abbott Elementary. She has love and time for everyone.

Ralph takes readers behind the scenes of stage, screen, and media to discover what a true aspiring artist needs to know. Okay, Divas, listen up! Every chapter ends with a final bit of advice, such as: Find your role model and seek their mentorship: Search for your joy because when you find it and are doing what you love everything will be alright; and Life is a risk, so take that risk and live  your life. At the end of this easy-to-read, sometimes  hilarious, oft-times sad book, Ralph leaves her divas with a go-to list of 12 guideposts to not only find their dream, but also to know how to navigate it, Most important of all, she writes: “Respect yourself.”

On the recent Emmy Awards, Ralph spoke of the trajectory of her life and career. She paused and said, “To anyone who’s ever –ever – had a dream and thought your dream shouldn’t, wouldn’t, couldn’t come true, I’m here to tell you that this is what believing looks like.”

Whether starring on the big screen with Sidney Poitier, Denzel Washington, Eddie Murphy, Robert De Niro, Jon Voight, or Whoopi Goldberg, or on the small screen (Moesha, Ray Donovan, Motherland: Fort Salem, or Abbott Elementary),” Ralph states, “I brought my “D.I.V.A.: Divinely Inspired, Victoriously, Awesome self to every project.” 

She’ll tell you that her diva-inspired qualities have earned her the respect of her peer’s and recognition from legions of fans. Lee uses DIVA 2.0 to empower and encourage anyone seeking to find and live their best life with beauty, dignity, and a grace that radiates. 

Ralph burst onto the Broadway stage in the role of Deena Jones in Michael Bennett’s groundbreaking musical Dreamgirls, with music by Henry Krieger and book and lyrics by Tom Eyen. After her Tony-nominated performance, she returned to the stage in Thoroughly Modern Millie and Wicked, in which she made Broadway history as the first African American to play Madame Morrible. 

Ralph, actress, singer, theater investor, activist, and now author has another feather in her cap. Her portrayal as beloved, no nonsense teacher Barbara Howard on Abbott Elementary not only earned her an Emmy, but made her the second Black woman since Jackée Henry to receive the honor in 35 years.