Jamaica recently gave these two its highest honors.
Jamaica natives Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price and Sheryl Lee Ralph have had an amazing 2022, all while showcasing Black excellence and sprinkling lots of Black girl magic along the way. Between breaking records and winning awards, these women deserve all the attention they’re getting.
Recently, both women were in attendance at the Kings House in Kingston for the annual National Honours and Awards Ceremony. There the two women and 143 others were presented with the Order of Jamaica, the fourth-ranked honor in the order of precedence. It is awarded to “any Jamaican citizen of outstanding distinction or upon any distinguished citizen of a country other than Jamaica (honorary member). Members of the Order are styled “Honourable” and are entitled to place the letters “OJ” after their name. The motto of the Order is “For a covenant of the People.”
Sheryl Lee Ralph had us in tears back in July when she found out she was nominated for her first Emmy, which she then went on to win last month, making her the second Black woman to win Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. The tears continued as she gave her acceptance speech, delivering an emotional speech and a beautifully sung verse from Dianne Reeves’ “Endangered Species.” Jamaica recognized her “sterling contribution as an actress, cultural ambassador of Jamaica and contribution to the international film industry.” She shared a stunning photo on Instagram captioned, “Well, it is now official! I am The Honourable Sheryl Lee Ralph OJ (Order of Jamaica) Warrior Woman! #ThisisWhatBelievingLooksLike”.
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Ralph told The Gleaner, “I thought it was a feeling of elation when I won the Emmy, but to be conferred with the Order of Jamaica, my mother having been conferred Order of Distinction. Ivy Ralph OD…we say, Original Diva. I feel so proud. Pictures have been posted already, and the way people are responding throughout Jamaica, across the Caribbean, has been phenomenal.”
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price also known as the “Pocket Rocket,” or “Mommy Rocket” since the birth of her son, is a true track star. The Olympic sprinter has been deemed the world’s fastest women’s 100m, most recently setting a new personal best and winning her fifth 100m world title at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon and becoming the first track athlete to do so. In 2008, she was conferred with the Order of Distinction following her top-tier performance at the Beijing Olympic Games. This season, she ran 10.7 seconds or faster and was well on her way to earning the Diamond League top prize. She was conferred with the Order of Jamaica, Commander Class for Outstanding Performance in the field of athletics at the international level.
The athlete spoke on the honor saying, “I’m feeling excited and honored to have gotten the Order of Jamaica. I think for many young girls, in my community especially, I’m excited for this moment for them because I’m giving them the hope to dream and to realize that they, too, can accomplish great things. Being able to be in my hometown, of course being in Jamaica and being celebrated is always an honor and I look forward to continuing to just do my very best to continue to put Jamaica at the forefront.”
Photo: CNW/Sheryl Lee Ralph Instagram