After decades of starring in Broadway musicals, TV, and movies, the most exciting story Ralph has to tell is her own. Like her beloved Abbott character Ms. Howard, she is a true inspiration who also keeps it real. Premiering Sunday, April 16, Ralph drops gems from her legendary journey and Emmy-winning success on UNCENSORED.
Although fans know and love the Jamaican actress as Deena Jones, Dee Mitchell, and Ms. Howard, the TV One docuseries introduces us to the real Sheryl Lee Ralph.
“I think in doing Uncensored, I wanted people to know I don’t look like my journey. Believe it or not, it took me 40 years to become an overnight sensation,” she told The Root.
“You’re going to hear about some of the bumps in the road and what it takes to get here and how I have managed to overcome through my storms and live my life.”
Sheryl Lee Ralph Recalls Quinta Brunson Speaking Success Into Her Life: “You Are That Queen”
Fresh off her Emmy Award win and headline-making speech, Ralph told UNCENSORED about life-changing moments with Abbott Elementary. She revealed initial interest in the principal role, but creator Quinta Brunson said she was born to play Ms. Howard.
“[Quinta] said, ‘Absolutely not! Dealbreaker! No! We need a queen for Barbara Howard and you are that queen.'”
No one can touch the 66-year-old’s confidence, but sometimes it takes a queen to truly know a queen. Ralph recalled her young co-star saying, “Ms. Ralph, they’re sleeping on your talent, but I’m not.”
Ralph didn’t even expect award recognition in an industry that routinely ignores the excellence of Black women. However, Brunson had the vision and determination to give the legend her flowers.
“Ms. Ralph, I’m gonna get this for you. I think I’m going to get this for you,” Brunson would often say to her about a future Emmy win.
“And I get nominated for an Emmy after all these years putting in the work, doing the work, speaking up. And it has been amazing,” Ralph said, tearing up.
Ralph Didn’t Expect To Win, But Realized During Her Epic Emmys Speech “I’m Right Where I’m Supposed To Be”
Dealing with racism, sexism, and ageism in entertainment made Ralph brace for the worst. She expected to stun on the red carpet and support her Abbott family but never thought she’d take the stage.
“I am there to be supportive of my cast, of my show. Do I have a speech? No, there’s no need for one, but I look good! I know that no matter what happens, I’m a winner,” Ralph said about the big night.
“They say, ‘Sheryl Lee Ralph,’ and I lost it! I don’t remember anything! I don’t remember standing up. I don’t remember ascending the steps to the stage. But I know that when I get there to center stage, that’s my home. I’m right where I’m supposed to be. I’m supposed to be right there at this time, with that heavy trophy in my hand. My whole career goes in front of me, and I know I earned it. I know I earned it!”
In addition to the recognition and success, the multitalented star hopes fans find inspiration in her perseverance. Ralph channeled her inner teacher (and preacher) to offer words of advice to her fans.
“The only person who can really stop you from carrying on is you! Do not sit on the sidelines of your own life. Do not give other people the power to tell you who you are! Look in the mirror and love who you see!” Ralph said.
“And you’ve got to believe! It’s the decision you make right now to carry on! That’s what helps define who you are. It’s not your past. It’s your present! What are you going to do in the right now?”
Tune in to TV One for Sheryl Lee Ralph’s episode of UNCENSORED, premiering this Sunday, April 16, at 10/9C
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