It's Time to Give Sheryl Lee Ralph Her Flowers
Courtesy of ABC

It's Time to Give Sheryl Lee Ralph Her Flowers

The 'Abbott Elementary' Star deserves the world

Culture & Entertainment

It's the season one finale of Quinta Brunson's hilarious hit ABC comedy Abbott Elementary. Among all the great things that have come with the show's success, the reminder of legendary actress Sheryl Lee Ralph’s greatness has undoubtedly been one of them.

Despite all the years of work the author and legend of screen and stage has given us, she recently revealed in an interview that just a few years ago, an executive producer on a show she was working on asked her “what have you done?'"

Only in an industry tuned to view whiteness and whiteness alone as excellence, can someone as esteemed as Ms. Ralph be dismissed by people in a place where talents are purportedly the currency for success. Only in Hollywood can she not be flooded with opportunities to show off the vast array of her talents. Let me give an abridged version of Ms. Ralph’s resume for the uneducated:

The world woke up to her gifts nearly four decades ago when the original Broadway cast of the musical Dreamgirls premiered. She originated the role of Deena Jones, the role that Beyoncé herself would go on to play in the 2006 film adaptation. Ralph proved that not only could she sing, dance, and act, but that she could do all those things brilliantly. From Daytime Soaps to primetime comedy and films of every genre, Ms. Ralph has been shining ever since.

I was first introduced to Ms. Ralph through all my incessant viewings of Moesha as a teen. She played Dee, the stepmother to Brandy’s Moesha. Even playing the stuffy-at-times, strict principal and step mom, there was a deft and delicate comedic sensibility to her even as she was often playing it straight.

Much like with her Ms. Barbara Howard — her God fearing, elder statesmen Abbott Elementary character — Ms. Ralph isn’t the one doing the comedic heavy lifting or the one often being given the punchlines, but only she could bring the dignity and indignation quality to Ms. Howard without it being a drag on the rest of the cast. Quinta Brunson, the creator and star of the show, said it herself when Ms. Ralph initially went out for the role of the wacky principal: “No, absolutely not. You are Mrs. Howard. We need a queen and you are her.”

In that same interview, Ms. Ralph said that her and Brunson’s first interactions on the set of A Black Lady Sketch Show often involved Brunson just admiring and studying her. “Oh, this is wonderful. This young artist thinks I'm something special,” Ms. Ralph remarked. Brunson isn’t the only one!

So to Ms. Ralph directly: To call you a star would be too puny when your talent alone can fill an entire galaxy. You are the epitome of style and grace. You’ve filled my girlhood with precious memories from your time as Moesha’s stepmama to your role as Lauryn Hill’s tough but fair mama in Sister Act 2. (We're still singing our "shoulda, coulda, wouldas" thanks to you!) Your presence and voice on-screen are a balm. If I could bring you an entire garden of flowers to share as a token of my appreciation of you I would, but for now, these words will simply have to suffice. You are excellence personified.

If You're Not Skin Cycling Already, Here's Why You Should

Another day, another TikTok trend that's all the rage. Many TikTok trends are gimmicks without any scientific backing. Or, in the case of the NyQuil chicken trend that took off, just plain dangerous. However, one has bubbled up to the surface that is worth investigating. Enter: skin cycling.

Keep reading...Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.
How Yoga Helped Peloton's Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts Heal From Past Traumas

Since her Peloton debut in May of 2020, Chelsea Jackson Roberts, Ph.D., has become one of the most sought-after yoga instructors on the app. Using a mixture of hip-hop, R&B, classical, gospel, house, and funk-themed classes, the Dayton, OH native guides Peloton users across the globe, in the weekly practice of feeling connected with the body and the breath as they “root down and rise up.” With many leaving her classes feeling more grounded and anchored than they were when they started, it’s easy to see how the former Lululemon Global Ambassador and two-time Yoga Journal cover star has made such an impact. While her background as a third-grade school teacher and founder of Yoga, Literature, and Art Camp lends to her influence, her journey to becoming a world-renowned celebrity yoga instructor was not met without tragedy.

Keep reading...Show less
Your October 2022 Horoscopes Are All About Finding Flow & Alignment

October is a month of balance. With some energy moving direct and some energy moving retrograde, there is a middle ground to find this month between what is unfolding and what you are letting go. The month begins with Mercury officially moving out of retrograde and going direct in Virgo. Mercury this month is cleaning house and sprucing things up after the somewhat tyrant energy it’s brought over the past few weeks. Now that Mercury is direct, there is less interruption when it comes to daily flow and plans, and this is a good month to start setting things into motion.

Keep reading...Show less
The Myth Of The Sex Drive & How Libido Changes From Your 20s, 30s, 40s & 50s

No one prepared me for how horny I would be in my late 30s. All the elders in my life prepared me for random chin hairs, weight gain, and menopause but no one said a mumbling word about my sex drive. Something happens the closer you get to forty. I went from wanting sex here and there to wanting it all the damn time. Is there a support group for this? I can’t be the only one who has the sex drive of the Energizer Bunny. Upon my research to figure out why I felt like a cat in heat, I discovered several theories surrounding women and our sex drives–including one that says the concept of having a sex drive is a myth altogether.

Keep reading...Show less
Exclusive: Da’Vinchi On Protecting His Peace & Why He Prioritizes Mindset Over Looks In Dating

Da’Vinchi has appeared in many television series such as All American and Grown-ish but it was his role in BMF as Terry Flenory that helped propel his career forward. Since starring in BMF, he made his Broadway debut with Thoughts of a Colored Man and is currently shooting an undisclosed movie in Vancouver. The 26-year-old actor is beginning to see the fruits of his labor and so it’s hard to imagine that he almost went in a different direction. Da’Vinchi spoke with xoNecole’s Dana Blair for our xoMan series about acting, being a sapiosexual, and protecting his peace.

Keep reading...Show less
Exclusive Interviews
Latest Posts