"DIVAS Simply Singing! Raising Health Awareness" is the longest consecutive running musical health awareness benefit in the United States, now in its 32nd year of service to the community.
The show was created by Sheryl Lee Ralph, a Tony Award nominee, Spirit Award winner, director, actor, AIDS activist, and founding director of the D.I.V.A Foundation (acronym for Divinely Inspired, Victoriously Aware Singers). Ralph wanted DIVAS Simply Singing! to serve as a living memorial to the many friends and colleagues she lost to HIV/AIDS during the AIDS crisis while she was an original company member of "Dreamgirls" on Broadway. DIVAS Simply Singing! was Sheryl's way of bringing the industry's brightest and beloved stars together to raise awareness and erase stigma - women with big voices and equally large platforms who simply dared to care.
Every year, Sheryl Lee Ralph curates a magical evening of song and entertainment with the mic, the light, and the DIVAS...Simply Singing! DIVAS Simply Singing! began as a live theater fundraiser and is now a televised fundraiser executive produced by Ralph and her producing partners Stephanie Lilly Smith and Norman Lee Waddell. www.divassimplysinging.com
DIVAS Simply Singing! will celebrate this momentous move with a special presentation of On The Red Carpet. "On the Red Carpet: DIVAS Simply Singing! Raising Health Awareness" special is hosted by ABC7 Entertainment Reporter George Pennacchio and Sheryl Lee Ralph. The special will include exciting segments including an exclusive sit-down interview with the cast of "Abbott Elementary," a special surprise from the cast of "Motherland: Fort Salem," plus Sheryl Lee Ralph announces pop artist Netta her next 'D.I.V.A. Discovery!' Prior DIVAS Simply Singing! D.I.V.A. Discovery artists included Fergie and H.E.R.
The creation of The D.I.V.A. Foundation stemmed from a deep concern for the lack of attention given to AIDS in the early years and even now with the health disparities that exist for people of color as exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I created The D.I.V.A. Foundation as a loving and living tribute for those diagnosed with and affected by HIV/AIDs. As the years have gone by, it became clear that I needed to continue to raise my voice and use my platform to uniquely use the transformational power of the arts, through DIVAS Simply Singing!, as a vehicle to raise funds, awareness, and erase the stigma still connected to HIV/AIDS, mental wellness, and educate people about STDs, including HIV, Hepatitis C, and other life-threatening conditions," she said.
The D.I.V.A. Foundation also benefits vital community charities like Project Angel Food, Better Brothers Los Angeles, and Walkgood LA who are effectively responding to food insecurity, hunger, poverty, poor or lack of healthcare, racial and social injustice, and issues facing the black LGBTQ+ community.
"We have come a long way," Sheryl adds, "More people are owning their health and checking in with themselves like never before, but there is still work to do and many reasons to fight for those we love."
For more information, visit divassimplysinging.com.