By Cherri Gregg

By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — ‘Divas Simply Singing’ is a benefit designed to raise awareness about HIV.

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A Philadelphia based Broadway actress is the diva behind it all.

“I saw people that I was singing and dancing with one night– take ill, get sick and die,” says Sheryl Lee Ralph, actress and activist. Ralph says she was performing on Broadway when she was inspired to start Divas Simply Singing. It was 25 years ago and the height of the HIV and AIDS epidemic. She says people were afraid.

“It was an ugly, ugly time,” she says, “it was as though humanity was showing its greatest inhumanity to others — and something in me said this is wrong — this cannot happen — we have got to do better.”

So she called in some divas and asked them to raise their voice and awareness. That’s when Divas Simply Singing was born.

“It worked — people started paying attention,” says Ralph.

Divas like Aretha Franklin, Angie Stone, Kelly Price, Nancy Wilson and many more have taken the stage. Ralph says everyone who takes the stage in the show — can sing.

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“It’s about the light, the mic and the diva really singing,” says Ralph.

She says she started the show on a shoestring budget, few wanted to donate to HIV and AIDS. Fast forward 25 years and they’re tackling a new problem — apathy.

“Because we don’t want to talk about it, it’s growing,” she says, noting Divas is more relevant than ever.

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During the concert, attendees can find out about HIV testing, where to get help, hear testimonies and more. So on Saturday, the public can go to the Dell and see a wonderful line up of divas that includes Kelly Price, Faith Evans, Carol Riddick, break out star Candace Benson and more.

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For tickets, go to Use the code word DIVA for a buy one, get one discount ticket.