Sheryl Lee Ralph Spills the Secrets of Having a Long and Successful Career
Black Enterprise Magazine January-March 2019 Issue

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(Image: File)

Do you think there are success secrets that people rarely talk about?

Yes. Rarely do people talk about what it takes to be comfortable with yourself, and really know yourself.  People become successful in so many different ways. Some people have worked with people who have been unkind to them and being in those difficult situations has helped them grow. Some people have been in situations where people have been very kind to them, and that’s what helps them grow.  Nobody is the same. Everybody is different. Situations are different.  But for me, knowing myself has been the greatest asset in my career.

I’m not driven by money. I like it. I appreciate it, but I’m never driven by it. I’ve had several moments in my life when I said to myself, ‘I need to pay this bill. Can I just get any job?’ But I quickly realized I couldn’t do that. All money is not good money–I can’t pay my bills with money that comes from bad circumstances. Lastly, knowing how to be compassionate, and at least think about how other people feel, is also key to success.

Which role do you think was your most influential, specifically within the African American community?

There are three roles that people always remember. No matter where I go, no matter what I do, somebody always remembers Dream Girls. I’m always Moesha’s Momma–not mother, but ‘Momma,’ and for the new generation of young people that are on you tube, they are finding my role as Barbara Hanley [in] A Piece of the Action–Attention Span. Although this film was produced in 1978, the monologue remains very relevant today.

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