When Sheryl Lee Ralph speaks, everyone seemingly listens. The award-winning actress won her first Emmy award last year for her role as Barbara Howard in ABC’s “Abbott Elementary.” She gained newfound success playing a Philadelphia kindergarten school teacher with a bold personality and sharp humor, as one of the hit series’ more seasoned staff members.
Not to mention, the 66-year-old’s commentary on social media and the red carpet often goes viral the next day, including her tweets about the 2023 Grammy Awards that aired last Sunday, Feb. 5.
In promotion through a partnership with Microban 24, Atlanta Black Star spoke with Ralph about her reaction to the Grammys and some of her viral statements. The multifaceted entertainer discovered the disinfectant product early during the COVID-19 pandemic to help keep her home clean. “So when that ask came about … I said, ‘That’s an easy one,” she began.
Like many, Ralph was home watching the 65th-annual Grammy Awards, which she described as one of the “most improved” award shows. However, she felt indifferent about a particular performance of “Unholy” by pop stars Sam Smith and Kim Petras.
“I was like wow this show is on point. Everybody got something that they really loved out of it or you know weren’t really in love with it,” she told Atlanta Black Star. “But you still got a great show.”
The S&M-style performance featured Smith and his collaborator dressed in all red surrounded by troupes of dancers wearing long black wigs and hats with devil horns on top, which many viewed as demonic or satanic.
After viewing the performance while at home, the “Moesha” star tweeted, “Commercial time!” A longtime advocate of the LGBTQ community, she said she tends to stray away from narratives that depict that particular community in a negative light.
“For me, it was just like, you know, in all the work that I’ve done with Black folks and the LGBTQ community, I can’t stand it when very often its that crazy image of us. That there’s something wrong with you like you’re the devil. Or the fact that you are unholy,” Ralph said. “And I’m like, you know what? People are people, and I hate the fact that sometimes we have to embrace the worst in order to make that pain not hurt as much.”
She then went on to congratulate both artists for winning the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance Grammy award.
The “Dreamgirls” star also made headlines a few weeks back before she won her first Golden Globe Award. During one of her red-carpet interviews, she made a remark about the Kardashians paying $10,000 for lips like hers.
While many assumed she was taking a jab at one of the most famous reality families, the Connecticut native revealed that she was truly speaking to her younger self.
When we spoke with the Hollywood star, Ralph confirmed that there was no shadiness in her response as she spoke nothing but facts. She claims the moment made her recall some childhood issues she endured.
“My whole life, people made fun of my lips they used to call me liver lips and all of that because they were full lips. Now you have a whole family of young white women that pump up their lips and become billionaires on lip gloss because they do it,” said the Tony-nominated actress. “So I was literally saying to my 15-year-old self, ‘It will be okay because you will come into fashion, and that is all right.’ That’s no shade on that; it is what it is. Is it not?”
She added, “It’s nothing more than a true statement.”
From “Dreamgirls” to “Abbott Elementary” and throughout her legendary career, the Broadway veteran has continued to relish in her successful moments and embrace her newfound recognition after over 50 years in the entertainment industry. Up next, she will amaze a stadium of over 50,000 people singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” at Super Bowl LVII this coming weekend, before singer Babyface performs “America the Beautiful” and headlining halftime performer Rihanna takes the stage.
Using her big lips, big personality, and the big voice she perfected in Broadway plays, Ralph is more than prepared and ready to command any stage.
“Super Bowl as a Broadway actor and signing to the back of the theatre, it’s something I’m quite used to,” she concluded.
Super Bowl LVII will take place this weekend at 6:30 p.m. EST on Sunday, Feb. 12, live from the State Farm Stadium in Arizona.