The Fairfield County (CT) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated and its philanthropic arm, The Greater Fairfield County Foundation, Inc., are excited to announce the 2018 honorees of The Links Crystal Ball. This year we celebrate Advocacy and Artistry personified by three amazing individuals: actress and activist Sheryl Lee Ralph, advocate and politician Vincent Hughes, and acclaimed gospel artist BeBe Winans. We hope that you will join us as we celebrate them at our biennial fundraising ball, on November 10, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich in Old Greenwich, Connecticut.
Tickets are now available.
About the 2018 Honorees
Sheryl Lee Ralph
With continued success on stage, screen, television and music along with her philanthropic endeavors, Sheryl Lee Ralph has never been one to rest on her laurels. A triple threat original Dreamgirl, Ralph is an acclaimed veteran of film, television and the Broadway stage. Her award-winning work includes creating the role of Deena Jones in the legendary Broadway musical, “Dreamgirls” and earning Best Actress nods for Tony and Drama Desk Awards. She returned to Broadway in another Tony-award winning musical, “Thoroughly Modern Millie”, portraying the sassy chanteuse Muzzy Van Hossmere. Sheryl Lee recently made history as the first African American to play Madame Morrible on Broadway in Wicked to rave remarks.
No stranger to television, Sheryl Lee Ralph’s TV credits include “It’s a Living,” “Moesha” and the hit Nickelodeon series “Instant Mom” opposite Tia Mowry. Sheryl recurred as Claudette, for 2 seasons, opposite Jon Voight in Showtime’s “Ray Donovan”. In between shows, she snuck in episodes of “Two Broke Girls”, “Smash”,“Criminal Minds” and “McGyver” for CBS and the Amazon series “One Mississippi” with Tig Nataro. Once again, she received rave comments for her subtle and multilayered portray of Felicia. On the big screen, Sheryl has worked with some of Hollywood’s leading and awardwinning men with film credits that include “The Mighty Quinn” with Denzel Washington; “Mistress” with Robert de Niro; “To Sleep with Anger” with Danny Glover and “The Distinguished Gentlemen” with Eddie Murphy. Ralph picked up a win for Best Supporting Actress at the Independent Spirit Awards for her performance in Charles Burnett’s “To Sleep with Anger”. “Just Getting Started” is due out this November in time for Christmas with Morgan Freeman and Tommy Lee Jones.
Finding success in writing and directing, Sheryl’s award-winning short film, “Secrets,” costarring award-winning actress Alfre Woodard and Robin Givens was a finalist in the HBO Film Short Competition, Showtime’s Filmmaker Award Series, and the BET Filmmaker Award Competition. The film was also selected as the audience favorite at the Outfest Film Festival. “Secrets” was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, as well as the Hollywood Film Festival, the Acapulco Film Festival and the Urban World Film Festival. Sheryl Lee Ralph is also the creator of the Jamerican Film and Music Festival. Sheryl penned her first book “Redefining DIVA” to great reviews and was an Amazon Best seller. Sheryl resides in Los Angeles and Philadelphia with her husband, Senator Vincent Hughes.
The Honorable Vincent Hughes
Senator Vincent J. Hughes is a Pennsylvania State Representative for the 7th District. He is a leading progressive voice on local, state, and national issues. He was elected by his colleagues in 2010 to be the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He has been a member of the Pennsylvania Senate for over 20 years, first elected to represent the 7th Senatorial District in 1994. Senator Hughes served as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1987 to 1994. During that time, he was the chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus from 1991 to 1994.
As a key member of the Democratic leadership team in the Senate, Senator Hughes has been a champion on major policy issues such as expanding healthcare for low-income workers, raising the minimum wage, defending the right to vote, fighting for increased funding for public education, and rebuilding PA’s distressed communities. As Democratic Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Hughes also plays a major role in developing Pennsylvania’s annual budget of over $30 billion and guiding the state’s spending priorities.
Senator Hughes has also been recognized both locally and nationally for his work on HIV/AIDS, and the challenges of mental/behavioral health in the African-American community. His commitment to creating access to college is demonstrated through his service on the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency and the Cheyney University Council of Trustees. Senator Hughes and his family have also established the James Hughes Memorial Scholarship Fund in honor of his late father. The fund has given out more than $1 million in scholarships to over 400 students.
Senator Vincent Hughes is a member of the Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, and is supported by his loving wife, actress, entertainer and activist Sheryl Lee Ralph, and their blended family of four children.
Benjamin “BeBe” Winans, the six-time Grammy Award winner, is the seventh child and youngest male of the Detroit based first family of gospel music. BeBe is best known as an inspirational R&B and popular vocalist and songwriter who, along with his musical partner and sister CeCe Winans, are the first true Christian crossover artists to hit the mainstream. After 10 years working behind the scenes on projects such as serving as a former Executive Music Producer for the OWN Network’s latest scripted series, “Greenleaf” and host of his own radio show on the Heart & Soul Channel (68) on Sirius/XM Radio Networks on Sunday Mornings (9am ET/7am PT), he moves back into the forefront with plans to release a new album. The critically acclaimed production of his buzzed about play “Born For This” played in Boston during the summer of 2018 with plans to come to Broadway in spring of 2019.
In April of 2018, his current song, “He Promised Me” featuring Tobbi & Tommi and introducing Kiandra, reached #1 on the Billboard Gospel airplay charts making it his first solo #1 in his career.
BeBe Winans has won six Grammy Awards, ten Dove Awards, six Stellar Awards, four NAACP Awards (three with sister CeCe and one with 3WB with brothers Marvin and Carvin) and three Soul Train Music Awards (two of them with sister CeCe). Winans is an author who wrote the book “The Whitney I Knew” about his relationship with his dear friend Whitney Houston. He is also an actor and has been featured in projects such as Denzel Washington’s “The Manchurian Candidate” and Broadway’s “The Color Purple” opposite Chaka Khan.
As a solo artist, BeBe has released seven albums with guest appearances from friends as diverse as Eric Clapton, Stevie Wonder, David Foster and Anita Baker and is known for his jaw dropping performances on some of the most important and star-studded musical specials of the past decades.
BeBe & CeCe Winans have taken their message and presented it in a way that has touched and inspired a wide variety of audiences. BeBe & CeCe have nine successful gold and platinum recordings and in 1995 they began to explore their solo endeavors. BeBe, with his sisters, brothers, parents and on his own, has achieved an iconic status with the audiences he has moved and encouraged through the Winans’ brand of popular inspirational song.