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

|

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.

  1. Amanda says:

    I can’t believe vh1 got rid of Stacey Dash! My friends and I believe it was a huge mistake for the show. She was the whole reason we loved the show. She brought the sophistication, sass, sexiness and tons of fashion that the show needed and still does. On top of that, she is the only one out of the three main characters that delivered good, believable acting! I don’t believe for one moment that it was just that the show wanted to add a new character or go another direction because if that was the case why would they cast a female that looks exactly like Stacey Dash. She looks so much like her that on the commercials for the upcoming season my friends and I all thought it was Stacey Dash and it wasn’t until today on Wendy Williams that we realized it wasn’t her and she wasn’t on the show. But we don’t want a cheap, boot-leg version of Stacey Dash… We want the real thing.

  2. SIMONE says:

    LisaRaye’s head is looking bigger and bigger with every pound she loses. lol just saying… THAT’S A NOGGIN. ha!

  3. Jelly says:

    No one is going to watch that awful show without Stacey Dash. She was the only actress that could actually act and look good effortlessly. Lisa Ray is the worst actress on the show and seems like a really self-centered day time hooker.

  4. Christol says:

    How about breathing life into an acting class. How is it that people who know how to act don’t get offered roles. Those who suck at acting are all over the place. Lisa Raye and her cast suck . They all need acting lessons. I WILL NOT BE DUPED INTO WATCHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Mickey says:

    This show is awful! I’m not sure who was worse, Stacy Dash or LisaRaye! I don’t get it! bring back Girlfriends!

  6. CAM says:

    This show is awesome! I love Lisa Raye and I loved it with Stacy Dash. But obviously she was acting a fool and had to go!!!! No one said the change was because they sought newness— It has been consistently stated that there was unresolved conflict on the set! ALL of them could benefit from improved acting. But it hasn’t stopped J.Lo, so let the sisters make their money. I will be glued every week. Possess yall season and be good stewards! Favor aint fair!!!!

  7. raven3658 says:

    Love this show. Nothing more attractive that successful, confident, Intelligent people who are not throwing bottles, jumping on tables and fighting like hood rats. This is a show that a lot of women can relate to…love it.

  8. Ms. D. says:

    I wish single ladies the best this season. I really enjoyed the 1st season. I thought Stacy Dash and Lisa Raye were great together. As well as the other cast members. I agree that Lisa nor Stacy donot have the “chops” of say for example Nicole Ari Parker but there were good story lines – and I think they did them well. I will not continue to watch this season because I simply cannot understand how management can change a major cast when you are only entering your 2nd season – no reason given. It will not be the show I look forward to seeing the 2nd season. I am not a soaps fan so I cannot speak positively or negatively about this new cast member who is replacing Stacy Dash. I wish her the best.

  9. Marie says:

    It’s not the same without Stacey Dash! Bring Stacey back! If the first episode is any indication of what’s to come… I probably won’t be watching much. Stacey’s fashion style and onscreen persona made the show!

  10. Keisha says:

    LisaRaye I admire you and your style. I was very excited to find out that Single Ladies was coming back. Keisha is a strong women that knows what she wants. She is and always been my favorite character. Keep up the good work.

  11. Keisha says:

    I have read some of these tweets and I just had to laugh. Everyone has to adapt to changes if you do not like the show or you are unhappy with the changes then don’t watch it. Stop hating on the next person. These ladies are not fighting or being ghetto. This is entertainment. It was obvious changes had to be made. I liked Stacy Dash also in Season 1 but if isn’t wasn’t working it wasn’t working. I will continue to support the show. I did watch tonight.

  12. adrianne says:

    Single Ladies 2, YAWN! What happened to the writing? I couldn’t get through the whole episode. I like the new character. However, I miss Stacey Dash & her character. The most disturbing thing was the plot was terrible. Have the writers changed?

  13. robin trammell says:

    Lisa raye we as ladies appreciate your show. We like the way you all show fashion and the different ways women deal with male issues. I used to love sex and the city now I have single ladies. Ladies keep up the good work. Hoping your show last tor a long time.

  14. Eva says:

    I love LisaRaye, and I love the show! I loved last years season as well! Wishing Stacey stayed but honestly it’s her loss…This gives Single Life an exciting view. More exciting than mine, that’s for sure! Single Ladies is the reason why I LOVE Mondays now. Best of luck! -Biggest fan =)

  15. Lewis Kincade says:

    Lisa Raye, I am sure there was tension last year, and life is sooo much easier without drama. I’ve been on sets, it’s not worth it.
    But after watching the first three shows this season number 2…better to have some problems on set. Stacey worked on camera. Sorry she was unhappy off of it, but the show worked. You’ll be happy with Ms Vasi, and the show will crater in ratings.
    In sports, teammates don’t get along, but they do what is best for the team. Too bad Stacey couldn’t take one for the team. I hope she didn’t think she was too “big” for the role.