DIVAS Simply Singing!, the longest consecutive running musical AIDS benefit in the United States, hosts its 27th annual fundraiser for The D.I.V.A. Foundation at the Taglyan Cultural Center in Hollywood California Saturday, December 9. Produced and hosted by Tony Award nominee, Spirit Award Winner, honored AIDS activist and D.I.V.A. Foundation Founder Sheryl Lee Ralph, the event will be most intimate gathering in the organization’s history – a cocktails, dinner and evening of song and entertainment in a unique club setting that will give all in attendance an up close experience with the performing artists.
“We are always trying to find creative ways to continue to raise HIV/AIDS awareness,” Ralph says. “Anytime you put on an event for over 25 years, there’s the danger of becoming old, too familiar and having the community take you for granted. So this year, we thought we would do something different and host it in a smaller venue that brings everyone closer together for maximum interaction and enjoyment.”
This year’s talent includes R&B greats Kenny Lattimore and Rahsaan Patterson, Original “Dreamgirl” Jennifer Holliday, Chicago soul singer (and “The Voice” Season 3 contestant)Terisa Griffin and “Black-ish” actress and singer Jenifer Lewis, who will also be signing copies of her new book “The Mother of Black Hollywood.” The evening will also feature Todrick Hall, multi-hyphenate and former “American Idol” contestant turned Broadway star (“Kinky Boots”), who is this year’s recipient of the The DIVA Foundation’s Vision Award.
“With his passionate artistic activism
, powerful songs and ability to connect with and promote a sense of better understanding with gay kids, straight kids, trans kids and so many others finding their way in the world, I believe Todrick will continue to have a great impact on our industry and the world,” says Ralph. “To use the vernacular term, he is truly WOKE!”
DIVAS Simply Singing! will also honor the drivers for Project Angel Food, who selflessly give their time to help feed and nourish the sick as they battle critical illness. For nearly 35 years, volunteers and staff cook and deliver nutritious meals, free of charge, to homes throughout Los Angeles County to alleviate hunger, prevent malnutrition and returns their clients to health. Some of the proceeds from this year’s event will go to support Project Angel Food.
Continuing to serve as a loving tribute for those infected and affected by HIV/AIDs, the goal of
DIVAS Simply Singing! is to raise a quarter of The D.I.V.A. Foundation’s operating budget to ensure that they can continue their efforts to erase stigma, raise awareness and promote HIV/AIDS prevention through arts and education. Over the years, DIVAS Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan, Teena Marie, Tremaine Hawkins, Karen Clark Sheard, Yolanda Adams, LaShun Pace, Dottie Peoples, Jennifer Hudson, and many more have raised their voices in song on the DIVAS stage.
An acronym for “Divinely Inspired Victoriously Aware,” The D.I.V.A. Foundation is a national not-for-profit 501c(3) charitable organization founded Ralph in 1990 as a memorial to the many friends she lost to HIV/AIDS as an original company member of “Dreamgirls” on Broadway.
The foundation stems from Sheryl’s deep concern for the lack of attention given to AIDS in the early years and its potential to become a health risk not only for men but women and children.
The D.I.V.A. Foundation uniquely uses the transformational power of the arts as a vehicle to raise funds, awareness, erase the stigma still connected to HIV/AIDS, mental wellness, and educate people about STDs including HIV, Hepatitis C, and other life threatening diseases. As their mission statement says, “We simply dare to care.”