M.I.L.F.’s: Mothers I’d Like to Film. (4 of 9)

M.I.L.F.’s: Mothers I’d Like to Film” is a seasonal segment in honor of the upcoming Mother’s Day holiday. It is a series of desireable actresses who are known for playing mothers on television or in film.

Sheryl Lee Ralph

The accomplished Sheryl Lee Ralph. Some older readers better know Ralph for her role as Deena Jones in Dreamgirls (A role in which she was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical) and later as Etienne Toussaint-Bouvier on Designing Women. Younger readers would know her better as Dee Mitchell, stepmother to Brandy on Moesha.

Born in Waterbury, Connecticut, Ralph was raised between Mandeville, Jamaica, and Long Island, New York. Which explains the charming Jamaican accent that she evokes every now and again.

“In 1973, she was crowned Miss Black Teen-age New York. At 19, Ralph was the youngest female to ever graduate from Rutgers University. Also that year she was named as one of the top 10 college women in America by Glamour magazine.”

Much like Phylicia Rashād, who happened to be her understudy in Dreamgirls, Ralph helped set a trend of elegance African American women in sitcoms. A gifted songstress, she even released an album in 1984 titled In the Evening. “Ralph was also recently featured with son Etienne on MTV’s My Super Sweet 16 and BET’s Baldwin Hills (TV series).”

Being of west indian descent and darker skin myself, I’ve always rooted for Ralph. She was a mahogany sister with a vibrant smile and a sensual but dignified style.

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