Jamerican will ‘lift’ the big game higher

Jamaican-American actress Sheryl Lee Ralph has been inducted into the Institute of Caribbean Studies Wall of Fame.
Jamaican-American actress Sheryl Lee Ralph has been inducted into the Institute of Caribbean Studies Wall of Fame.

Barbados’ billionaire and national hero Rihanna is the star attraction to headline the halftime entertainment game in Arizona on Feb. 12 when the Philadelphia Eagles challenge the Kansas City Chiefs for the Lombardi Trophy during Super Bowl LVII.

However, Jamerican and self-proclaimed diva Sheryl Lee Ralph will take the game higher by asking the crowd to “lift ev’ry voice and sing.”

“Someone wake me up from this dream I’ll be singing lift every Voice and Sing at Super Bowl LVII – See you there,” Ralph said after hearing the NFL named her among the chosen few.

Ralph tweeted the message to fans who have been following her progression from actress, singer, author and entrepreneur since 1977 when she debuted featuring in the Sidney Poitier movie “A Piece of the Action.”

The proud offspring of a Jamaican mother and American father who was born 66 years ago in Waterbury, Connecticut was recently tapped to sing the Black anthem at the biggest football game in the nation.

Distinctive by the moniker Ralph adopted from spending much of her youth in Mandeville, Jamaica while attending schools on Long Island, the hybrid national was bestowed worthy last year when the government of the Caribbean island awarded her the Order of Jamaica, their fifth highest award of honor.

Ralph is revered there for investing in the tourism industry back in the 1990s when she hosted an international, celluloid, screen fest in the second city of Montego Bay.

She named it the Jamerican Film & Music Festival and invited some of her most celebrated colleagues to travel south to the island/paradise.

Among them singer/actor Harry Belafonte, “Shaft” star Richard Roundtree and Roger Moore who portrayed 007 in the James Bond spy series.

Prior to that, the ambitious thespian claimed theater’s highest award by winning a Tony award for the role she portrayed as Deena Jones in the Broadway production of “Dreamgirls.”

Ralph is acclaimed for promoting diversity and shedding light on a taboo topic when many of her colleagues and friends in the entertainment industry succumbed to the devastation from the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

In order to bring awareness to the issue she created the DIVA Foundation nonprofit.

She later penned a book titled “Redefining Diva” by offering “Life Lessons from the Original Dreamgirl.”

Last year she took home television’s most coveted, highest award — the Emmy – snagging a win in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in Abbot Elementary. Earlier this year Ralph picked up a Golden Globe award for her role in the same situation comedy for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical-Comedy or Drama Television Series.

Needless to say, Ralph is eyeing the possibility of upping her status to EGOT (winner of Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony).

“You can do it all…” one of her Twitter followers assured.

Viewers of FOX-TV are in for a treat when Babyface sings “America the Beautiful.

And for the third consecutive year, a country music singer has been tagged to render the national anthem. Grammy-winning singer Chris Stapelton will sing the Star Spangled Banner.

But when Jamaica’s honorable citizen steps-up to laud African-American achievement, at least one Caribbean nation will be lifted by the lyrics James Weldon Johnson penned in 1899 to honor the race.

Catch You on the Inside!