We’ve had our eye on Lisa Raye’s many talents since Players Club, so we jumped at the chance to talk to the beautiful actress and former First Lady of Turks & Caicos about the new season of TV One’s The Real McCoy, working on the Queen Latifah-produced film and original series Single Ladies and her new role managing her daughter Kai’s modeling career. The Chicago stunner also spilled a few things about sister Da Brat’s recent release from prison, how Lil’ Kim and Tupac figured in her evolution as a hip-hop sex symbol and whether or not she’d let a rapper romance her. Is she still using what she has to get what she wants? Blessed with a body like that, we wouldn’t blame her if she is.—Janeé Bolden
XXLMag.com: In trailer for your new season we saw you talk about meeting TD Jakes and trying to live a more spiritual life – not drink or have sex and you were struggling with that. How is that going?
Lisa Raye: Yep. I’m still struggling with it. I’ve definitely worked on my relationship with God and TD Jakes definitely sat me down and said to me, ‘Let me have a conversation with you young lady, because you have no right to think of yourself in unhappy terms. Get out of your own way. Shake it up and shake it off.’ Sometimes you need somebody to put their foot down and that’s what he did for me. I said let me get out of my own way. Let me give it to God and see what he can do with it. That’s what I’ve been doing ever since… and I’ve struggled with it. But I want to live right, I want know what my purpose is, I want to know what my passion is, I want to know the things I’ve done wrong so I can do it right. If we have that opportunity, and we do everyday, to change it, why in the heck wouldn’t we? That’s a whole different story that I have to add to the story on top of the story that I’m telling about women coming together and moving through no matter what the hell you go through.
XXL: On the first season of The Real McCoy everyone was able to see how close you are with your daughter, there was even some controversy about you kissing up on her…
Lisa Raye: That hasn’t changed. I’m still kissing on her and I will forever kiss on her because if you don’t show kids love, they don’t know how to receive love. That’s the love of my life along with my mom and my puppy Diamond, so that right there will never change. Actually I’ve found new ways to get kisses from her, which is in second season as well. I think every parent who has a relationship with their child understood that. For every person that didn’t understand, there was double that did.
XXL: Were you able to visit Da Brat while she was behind bars? Do you still have a close relationship?
Lisa Raye: I took the cameras up to visit my sister during the first season [of The Real McCoy.] They wouldn’t allow me to bring the cameras inside, but yes I had to come visit her because when you’re locked up you have to be in touch with the outside world. That’s my sister and there is love there and I had to lay eyes on her and let her know that I was supportive and that we make mistakes but I couldn’t wait for her to come out and I’d be here with open arms, which is exactly what I was. It’s just a blessing that I’m filming here in Atlanta so when she got out, I’m here. She’s on house arrest and I see her and we talk and we Twitter and we love. I’m just glad that she just has a different perspective on life as well. She’ll be back out here brand new and I can’t wait until she comes out with some new stuff so I can support that as well.
XXL: You’re in Atlanta filming Single Ladies. That starts as a movie right, then continues a TV show?
Lisa Raye: The writer for the project is Stacy A. Littlejohn and she was a writer on my sitcom All of Us. She wrote the script for a movie Single Ladies and sold it to Queen Latifah and they took it over to VH1. She had me in mind for this character named Keisha. She’s a video vixen and she is opinionated, she’s sassy, she is the devil’s advocate to the series. She’s funny, but she’s a mirror image of the powerful man that’s out there that’s looking for a mate. She doesn’t play any games, she has money. We’re dealing with issues that we as women deal with every day, but each character deals with it in a different way so you’ll have a girlfriend that will be able to identify with each character. That’s what’s so fun about it, it’s like a modern urban Sex And The City. There is nothing on TV like this. So I am very excited about it. It’s shot in Atlanta. It’s rich, it’s positive it’s hot. It’s sexy. I have Stacey Dash as a co-star on there as well, Charity Shea is on there and Lauren London. It turns into a series after the movie airs May 30th.