*Look out for the September 40th Anniversary issue of ESSENCE on newsstands. This issue will feature some of the most influential women in the nation, including DreamGirls actress and HIV/AIDS activist, Sheryl Lee Ralph. Honored as a passionate AIDS activist, Ms. Ralph is the founding director of the DIVA (Divinely Inspired Victoriously Anointed) Foundation 501(C)3 which she created in memory of the many friends she had lost to HIV/AIDS.

Celebrating twenty years of solid entertainment, Miss Ralph has produced the critically acclaimed DIVAS Simply Singing! Boasting such talents as Patti LaBelle, Stacey “Fergie” Ferguson, Miss Nancy Wilson, Melissa Manchester, Natalie Cole and Chaka Khan to name a few, DIVAS is the longest consecutive running musical AIDS benefit in the US.

Honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, she holds the distinction of being the first and youngest female graduate of Rutgers College (RU) at the age of 19. She has received two Doctorates in Humane Letters from Tougaloo College and Huston-Tillotson University for her AIDS activism. Mother of two with a blended family of four, Sheryl Lee loves every moment of motherhood.

Lee is also a motivational speaker who has appeared on several television shows including Entertainment Tonight, CNBC Africa, Hollywood Squares, and several others.

Also to appear on the cover is Iman for her successful Iman Cosmetic and Global Chic enterprises.