Sheryl Lee Ralph Produces Doc On Black Women Living With HIV

Sheryl Lee Ralph’s new documentary ‘Unexpected’ shines a light on HIV, a disease that has disproportionately affected Black women in the South.

Hulu has released a new documentary produced by Sheryl Lee Ralph in recognition of World AIDS Day.

Unexpected, which premiered on Dec. 1, shines a light on Black women living with HIV in the South. Hulu shared that the documentary tells the story of activists Masonia Traylor and Ciarra “Ci Ci” Covin and their journey to create an underground network to support women in the rural South who have been diagnosed with HIV. The streaming service describes the documentary as “a story of hope, perseverance, and the power of a shared connection.” The film highlights the virus that has attacked the immune systems of several women all over the country and explores why Black women are “disproportionately affected by the disease.”

According to a trailer posted on June 17 to the documentary’s official Instagram page, the film, which screened at the 2023 Essence Film Festival on June 30, is produced by Ralph and The Well Project. “Systemic racism is the root of why Black women are 14 times more likely to acquire HIV compared to white women,” the trailer revealed.

“This short film is very important to me, especially with the work I do with @thedivafoundation,” the “Abbott Elementary” actress said in a June 28 post ahead of the screening. Ralph launched the nonprofit organization, The DIVA Foundation, to raise awareness and mobilize resources to prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS. The national organization is a pledge to the many friends Ralph has lost to AIDS.

Variety reported that Ralph’s film won an Award of Excellence at The Accolade Global Film Competition and The IMPACT Docs Awards. The film was also a Silver Winner at the Telly Awards. Unexpected has also screened at the SCAD Savannah Film Festival, DC Black Film Festival, Black Women Film Network, Detroit Black Film Festival, The Women’s Film Festival, and Cleveland Film Festival.

The Oscar-qualifying film Unexpected, directed by Zeberiah Newman, is now available to stream on Hulu.

RELATED CONTENT: Sheryl Lee Ralph Rebrands The DIVA Foundation

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