Don’t just sit there!
Sheryl Lee Ralph poses in the press room with the award for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series for "Abbott Elementary" at the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards on Sept 12 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.AP

SHERYL Lee Ralph's inspirational speech upon winning the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series has reignited a fire in many. At almost 66 years of age Sheryl Lee stood symbolic and iconic on stage, embodying the message that faith without works is dead and oh, has the talented Jamaican worked!

She started her mesmerising speech by belting out Dianne Reeves' Endangered Species ballad:

I am an endangered species

But I sing no victim's song

I am a woman I am an artist

And I know where my voice belongs.

The watershed moment forces women looking on to reflect on what we are believing; to take a step back and think about the choices we are making and if they are coming from a place of hope and belief or from fear and compliance. Don't just go with the flow. Don't only merely attend to the multiplicity of demands that a kind woman like you faces every day. Live higher. Want the abundance God has for you. Believe God. Believe that His plan is to prosper and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future.

Have you had a glimpse of that hope and future? If not, get it! Sometimes that glimpse will come through the passions and dreams in your heart that won’t subside, through prayer and reflection, or through the guidance and mentorship of others. Hold on to the hope and future God has for you, and believe.

But don’t just sit there in belief. Take action towards what you are believing! Have a strong desire to start a business? Write a business plan. Connect with people who have done it before. Get advice. Save or borrow the money. Have a strong desire to become an author? Start writing. Share your work with others. Edit and prune and tell the stories bubbling inside. Have a strong desire to change your profession? Count the costs and make a plan. Don’t just sit there. Sometimes the path to your destination isn’t well lit and perfectly laid out. Sometimes we only get enough light to take the next step. Take the step. Believe.

And perhaps there is some connection between believing and belonging. Perhaps it is when we act on our belief and build that dream, that company, that restaurant, that career, that book, that family — or a whatever — that we feel most like ourselves, like we belong. Perhaps it is in believing and building that we become our truest selves and effectively take up the space we were designed to occupy.

I agree with Sheryl Lee that, “What is fi yuh can’t be un fi yuh” but we can’t just sit there in “fi yuh” land believing. We must act on it! Let’s write the lyric to our own song: “I am a woman, I am a chef; I am a woman, I am an actress; I am a woman, I am a doctor; I am a woman, I am prime minister.” Let’s commit to acting on that belief and knowing where we belong.

Passionate about faith and women’s empowerment, Shelly-Ann Mair-Harris has served on the boards of women’s rights organisations and is the author of several publications including God’s Woman and The Goodies on Her Tray. A woman of faith for several years, Shelly-Ann is also an award-winning playwright and poet as well as a trained and experienced media, marketing, change management and strategic communications professional.


Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at


  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Which long-term investment option is more attractive to you at the moment?