Sheryl Lee Ralph will be the guest of honor at the 9th Annual New York African Diaspora Film Festival actress/filmmaker. Ralph had her film debut with glowing critical acclaim in 1977 when she starred with Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby in the popular comedy “A Piece of the Action”. A few years later, the singer, dancer, actress was nominated for a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award for her starring role as Deena Jones in the now-legendary original production of the Broadway musical “Dreamgirls.” Ms. Ralph has extensive stage, film and television credits and is best known for her performances in the films “To Sleep With Anger” (1990), “Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit” (1993), “The Flintstones” (1994), and “Personals” (1998). She currently plays the strict yet loving Dee, stepmother to Brandy on the UPN hit series “Moesha.”
Behind the camera, Ms. Ralph wrote and directed the award-winning film short “Secrets”, where she was featured along with an all-star cast, including Oscar nominee Alfre Woodard, Victoria Rowell and Robin Givens. Utilizing her highly acclaimed musical and production talent, Ms. Ralph is the creator and producer of one of the most important annual AIDS fund-raisers in Hollywood “Divas Simply Singing” now in its 12th year. In 1999, Sheryl Lee Ralph launched The Jamerican Film and Music Festival, an annual event held in Montego Bay.
According to Reinaldo and Diarah Spech , directors of the NYADFF: “Sheryl Lee is a wonderful example of the talent and spirit found all over Africa and its Diaspora. She is a wonderful actress and singer. She is independent and a fighter. We are very proud that she has agreed to be part of this year’s event.”
Ms. Ralph will participate in two panel discussions during the festival: “A Conversation with Sheryl Lee Ralph, A Woman of Many Talents” and “Globalization and Black Film – International Markets and Film Festivals.”
Created in 1993 as a way to redesign the Black cinema experience and strengthen the role of African descent directors in contemporary world cinema The ADFF has brought together people from various races, nationalities and backgrounds. This year’s theme “From Cuba to Hollywood” acknowledges the more than fifty featured films and their filmmakers from all over the world that depict the diversity and richness of the global Black experience.
The NYADFF will be held from Friday, November 23rd until Sunday, December 9th in New York. For details and schedules, visit the NYADFF web site.
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