Single Ladies Star LisaRaye McCoy On Breathing Life Into Keisha, And Overcoming That Rumored Drama On The Set

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LisaRaye McCoy is returning for a second season on Single Ladies, and like her character, Keisha Greene, she is a force to be reckoned with. From the way that she carries herself to the way she speaks, she comes off a little bit imposing (like a gal could take lessons on how to be a real woman from her), which is why it was kind of sweet the way our interview started. We were on the set of Keisha’s bedroom and LisaRaye pulled up a patch of bed and sort of patted at the seat next to her and told me it was time for “girl talk” to make me feel at home. Our first topic was the B2B Mixdown which she’s hosting in St. Thomas this weekend, but soon enough, we got to the juicy stuff. Last season, it was rumored that LisaRaye clashed with then-costar Stacey Dash, and when I bring up the fact that the vibe on the set seems different this season, she started to answer that question saying “I’m trying to be politically correct, but also very in-your-face like LisaRaye is,” before getting into why she needs to maintain that balance. But beyond that balance between politically correct and in-your-face, she was just honest, funny, and down to business. Like the real woman she is.

Let’s talk about LisaRaye the business woman. I know that you have several business ventures at the moment. You’ve got jeans, you have your networking platform, Back 2 Business which is huge, especially on Facebook and Twitter.

My B2B came up through my partners Tom and Trev. We were thinking, what is the essence of LisaRaye coming back? And it was just that; back to what, back to business, back to me, back to doing what I do. So it’s B2B: Back to Business. I thought, how do I incorporate a social network platform with networking personally with each other that’s not just on Twitter or Facebook. I thought about a weekend somewhere. How about we explore traveling together? Because when you party together, it sets the tone for a good time. Sinbad used to take people to Aruba, Jamaica. Diddy started it when he took people to Cancun. And a woman has never done it and before. And I said, “Let me see how many people I could get to go to Puerto Rico.” So, I did the last two years in Puerto Rico for Memorial Day weekend. And this year is in St. Thomas. St. Thomas is prettier, prettier beaches, water. You know being the former first lady of Turks and Caicos Islands, I know my water. So, I wanted to go somewhere that was really pretty and you still don’t need a passport to go to.

We have a weekend full of fun. Like, party with a purpose, concerts, we have an all white party, of course. We have fun each other so when you do that, that’s networking within itself. You’re at the bar together. You’re at the pool together. You’re at the fashion show together. I like that kind of thing. Last year we sold out three hotels and this year it’s going to be even bigger and better. So I encourage everyone to go to the website at www.b2bmixdown.com.

So on the show — it’s exciting being on this set! I’m feeling a really positive vibe around here, everyone seems excited to be working on season two. What do you think makes this set so fun to be around?

Hmm. Well you know, when you change up the line up and the cast members, then there’s different energy that the people who have been changed come with. So, I’m trying to be politically correct, but also very in-your-face like LisaRaye is. I’m not going to hide the fact that when Stacey [Dash] was here, we didn’t feel that she really wanted to be here. So when you’re going through personal things in your life, it bleeds into your professional life and your business. Unfortunately, that’s what happened and so we felt that energy. When you feel that energy, you just want to reach out and help someone, but sometimes you can’t. It’s up to them. So it just made it a little bit more…standoffish. When you’re together so many hours of the day, you shouldn’t have to work under those pretenses.

How has Denise [Vasi]‘s presence changed things up?

Now, what Denise brings to the table is she’s new. When you’re new, you’re kind of watching with an open eye and an open mind and you’re the new person so you’re coming in trying to figure out “How do I fit in?” And she came right in with such a delightful personality and automatically it was like a truce to make this the best run that we can. And if we have any disagreements, like Stacey and I did have last year, we had a disagreement, but so what you know? We’re a bunch of women on the set sixteen hours a day, every day. We’ll have that. But, you’ve got leave that there and move forward. So we vowed to be able to do that: don’t be our worst enemies and stay out of our own way. You know what I mean? Ultimately, we’re making a good show. We all believe this show. I’m happy and ecstatic about the story lines, because the story lines are just — we don’t get a chance to know what they are until we get the script and read them for the table reads. But, I trust [writer] Stacy Littlejohn because she’s been writing this brilliantly from day one. So I’m just excited to know what all she had left in her head to even write for us, you know? She’s been excellent at that. We don’t have a lot of time to find a history of a relationship there, but we find chemistry because we’re professional. You know what I’m saying? We work so long, there’s not time for a personal relationship. So we’re on the set, and when we’re on the set in between takes, we’re acting silly or laugh or find something that will make us relax from the day to day grind of breathing life into somebody else’s words all the time. You’ve got to have some kind of sidebar and get into your own head. That’s what they hire us for, to breathe life into this character. So you got to trust us and we’ve got to trust the process and what we do. And it’s been great.

Do you ever look at another character and say “I wish that that story line was mine?”

Oh yeah! April [played by Charity Shea] just had a scene where she goes to the gynecologist and, I don’t want to give anything away, but it was hilarious. The comedy that she played on that was just so brilliant. It was just so funny. I was like, “I coulda did that!” There were even things done last season when I was like, “I want to ride the mechanical bull!” like Stacey Dash’s character did that last year. But I don’t get jealous about it because I really like my character too.

You get some good scenes. You always get the juicy stuff.

Mmm hmm. I have some good scenes. I come from comedy. I come from doing a sitcom, All of Us. So I know how to play comedy when it’s needed. So even when it’s really not there, my facial expressions are really great. I have a lot of facial expressions in my face, you know.

When I write recaps of the show, I always worry that people are going to be upset that I grab screen shots of them when your face is just so, making the most awkward or funny expression.

I’m really good at that. Coming back for the second season, you’re more at ease because we’ve walked around this set. We know our living room by now. We know our character’s voice by now. So you try to find the fun in it while we’re rehearsing one or two times, but then keep it moving. So I like the fact that each character’s different because I want to be able to hook the audience anyway we can.

Single Ladies’ second season premieres Monday, May 28 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

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