Sheryl Lee Ralph has made a career of being a trailblazer, so breaking boundaries is nothing new for the Emmy winning legend of stage and screen — which is why we were so very excited to have her recently grace the cover of our annual African American issue (Plus 152, Jan/Feb 2023 issue).
In addition to paving the way for women of color in the entertainment industry (she directs and produces too), Ralph was one of the first high-profile celebrities to use her platform to raise awareness around HIV and AIDS. In 1990 she founded the DIVA Foundation, a nonprofit that has raised hundreds of thousands for HIV-related causes. Read about the documentary she’s now producing, Unexpected, which focuses on Black women affected by HIV, as well as what was going through her mind during her now-famous Emmy acceptance speech.
In the video below Plus magazine's editor in chief, Desirée Guerrero, recalls first seeing Sheryl Lee on television in the 1980s and what that meant to her, as well as the importance of a new short-form horror film that actually seeks to reduce HIV stigma — and stars a HIV-positive actor, Peter McPherson, playing an HIV+ character for the first time:
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