Hit VH1 show ‘Single Ladies’ is back for a second outing of drama! That Grape Juice TV caught up with the show’s protagonist LisaRaye McCoy, who candidly dished on her character Keisha, Stacey Dash‘s controversial departure from the show, being typecast, and a whole lot more.
As ever, we ask the questions you really want answers to. And answer them LisaRaye did.
LisaRaye Shouts Out That Grape Juice
This past monday saw the premiere of Season 2 of VH1′s hit show Single Ladies. Tell us how does that feel to be back for another season?
LR: When you come back for a second season of what you did the first season, it lets you know you were well received and that people are looking forward to the show. They like what they saw last year so you got to bring them something more this year and up the ante. VH1, Queen Latifah, and Stacey Littlejohn are taking a chance on a second season. We got a new cast member, which is phenomenal, and we’re happy to be back. I’m working, I’m collecting a check, I’m making money, I’m blessed, and hey…I have no complaints. I could complain, but that makes no difference.
In “upping the ante”, as you said, what should we be expecting this season from Keisha and the gang? Guest stars?
LR: We have phenomenal guest stars rolled out. We have William Levy, we got T.I., Paula Patton, Eve is back, Chilli [of TLC] came back, Lil’ Romeo, and more. We really got some people in here.
So along those lines, what else should we expect different from the first season?
LR: Well, of course, we no longer have Stacey Dash with us. We have a new cast member, Denise Vasi, who is doing an awesome and incredible job. She’s a blue-eyed beauty like Stacey was and she brings something refreshing to the role. She’s a total different character. You can’t really replace what you already had, but she brings a freshness to it and a different demographic because she comes from ‘All My Children’ soap opera. Keisha is the same sassy, opinionated woman, but she’s a bit more vocal this season. She’s finding out who she is and also starting a career. Not just making/having poker money, but also looking to find more of herself. It’s very hard to root for someone when that someone is just perfect. You have to give her weaknesses. So, I think a lot more women are going to be able to identify with not only Keisha, but all the women. This, because they are coming from a totally different perspective and its refreshing to have that because there is nothing on T.V. like this now. This is the modern day ‘Sex and the City’. It’s sexy, it’s fresh, it’s current, it’s hot.
Absolutely. And as you mentioned Stacey [Dash], do you think fans have had (or will have) a hard time adjusting to her absence?
LR: Well, of course. Stacey Dash comes with her own fanbase and she’s no longer there. So obviously, they may not watch it. I don’t think that’s none of the producer’s concern. I think that our concern for the castmates and producers is to bring in a great second season which we’ve done. I’ve been quoted to say “one monkey doesn’t stop to show”. I mean, even for myself. If things change, you just move on with what you have to do. We respect Stacey’s decision and have done just that.
Definitely. So, tell us…How much of the real LisaRaye is in Keisha?
LR: Well, Keisha is a written character. So, I have nothing to do with the verbiage in which I learn as an artist. So, I do bring a bit of “LisaRaye” to the character? I bring a little bit of Lisa Raye to every character that I breathe life into. The decision-making as to what Keisha says? That’s not Lisa Raye. I can be a little bit of each woman. I have a skill…and the skill is that I am an actress. So, if I’m that much more believable that they feel Keisha is Lisa Raye, then I’m doing a great job.
Along those same lines, given the success of your first major film ‘Player’s Club’, do you think people have had a hard time seeing you outside of that role [of Diamond]?
LR: Well, I think that that was over 10 years ago. I think I’ll forever be Diamond, and that’s ok for me. That’s my beginning and I’m not ashamed of that. But, when people ask me if there’ll ever be a “Player’s Club 2″, it’s like…not with me in it. If you watched the movie, you’d know I graduated. I think when you mature, you no longer want to do the same things you did 10 years or even 5 years ago. I’m trying to elevate and learn more about who I am so I can know where I’m going. So, that’s the journey that I’m on.
Well with that being your beginning, since then, what’s been your most challenging role?
LR: I work the way that I want to work. So, could I do more work? Yeah, I probably could. But, I don’t like to work. I like to do quality work when I do it, I come into it. I don’t want to work all the time. I do that by choice. So, a lot of people ask me ‘what’s my ultimate role’, but I don’t think I’ve had it. I’ve done a prison movie and I enjoyed doing that because it was “raw”, no make-up, no maintenance on trying to look good. So when you shed all of that, you get to play the full character. I tend to play all of these characters that are sexy or fashion forward, but when you come and do something raw it has a different appeal. I like to go toward action or romantic comedy.
Speaking a bit more broadly, the past few years have really seen an increased number of female African American characters – be it through reality or scripted – represented on TV. What do you think is causing that shift?
LR: I see that some African American actors prefer TV now because there are not a lot of movie roles for us. But, I’m not a true fan of the reality shows that depict black women the way that they have. My reality show is not that kind of show. So, I can’t put them in the same category as ["Single Ladies"]. That’s just them turning the TV on and being themselves. And, what ever you are showing you are proud of, is what you show our kids – that’s them. I’m not a fan of them. I don’t like when people put ['Single Ladies'] in the same category as that. I have two – a reality show and series. I do both.
Ok, so then what are some of your guilty pleasures? What do you watch on TV?
LR: I don’t really have a lot of time to watch TV. I am a fan of ‘Revenge’, ‘True Blood’, and I love Kerry Washington in ‘Scandal’. And, I really love that new show…umm…what’s it called? Oh yeah, ‘Single Ladies’ (laughs).
We’ve read that your daughter is a fan of the show? how do you feel about her following in mommy’s footsteps?
LR: I would prefer for her to finish school and what ever she wants to do from there, I will support her. But first, I want her to get a diploma behind her name. This is not an easy business and this is a business that will build you up to tear you down. You have to be strong. It’s nothing that I want her to get into. But if she pursues it, then she has someone who has paved the way for her. I know a little bit about the business so I can help her and help guide her through my experience. But, thankfully, she’s doing something different.
Thanks so much for that. So Lisa Raye, we want to know…are you a single lady playing a single lady? Or does Lisa Raye have a special someone in her life?
LR: You know what, from my experiences, I’ve learned to keep my personal life out of everything. From such a public divorce [from Premier of Turks and i Michael Misick], I didn’t do it right that time. So, not that I’m trying to be secretive or anything, but I think when that time comes it won’t be something I’m ashamed of. When you guys find out, it will be something I’m proud of.
Wrapping up here, advice for real SINGLE LADIES watching the show?
LR: I think we have a wonderful show that touches on how women are trying to find their significant other and how it is to date in this generation. It’s teaching the men what we’re looking for so they know how to step up to the plate.
Interview by: Quinno R. Taylor
Single Ladies airs every Monday on VH1 at 9.00pm.