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November 28, 2014

Response to Ferguson: Systemic Problems Require Systemic Solutions

Ferguson ASSOCIATED PRESS

Decades of segregation and inequality in Ferguson, as well as most American metropolitan areas, have fostered a racial inequality exacerbated by the criminalization of not just poverty, but the criminalization of black and brown bodies. Too many whites are too willing to believe that a black body poses a threat.

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LisaRaye McCoy Returns to the Top of Television as a 'Single Lady'

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If you haven't heard by now, the debut of VH1's newest hour-long scripted series, 'Single Ladies' has already made history following its May 30 premiere. With the help of the season three premiere of 'Basketball Wives,' the romantic comedy series landed the network its highest rated night since October 2009. Drawing in over 2.8 million total viewers.

Executive produced by Queen Latifah's Flavor Unit Entertainment, the comedic drama follows three best friends (played by Charity Shea, Stacey Dash and LisaRaye McCoy) with three different relationship philosophies living in Atlanta.

For LisaRaye, who recently wrapped up the second season of her TV One Reality show 'LisaRaye: The Real McCoy,' being a single lady is nothing new. The 44-year-old actress has been hard at work resurrecting her career following her divorce from the former premier of Turks & Caicos, Michael Misick, in addition to raising her 21-year-old daughter, Kai.

We talked to LisaRaye prior to the show's premiere on preparing for her latest role, the possibility of shooting a third season of her top-rated TV One reality series, and the launch of her forthcoming line of women's jeans, among other things.

Brennan Williams:
For people who are not familiar with the show, can you tell us about your character Keisha Greene?
LR: I love my character. She's a little bit like me, but each and every character is. Keisha Greene used to be a video vixen, she's a poker player now. And she's looking for a wealthy man to take care of her. She wants 100% but doesn't want to give 100%, so she builds this wall up.

BW: Did you offer any suggestions to the writer, Stacy A. Littlejohn, based on your past experiences in relationships?
LR: Fortunately, the writer and I are best friends and so a lot of things that have happened in the script, have happened to us. But to be honest, she has it all there in the writing, really - in the details of the description of how she wants this played, what's the general thought behind it, what's the inner monologue. It's really through your life experiences, but the way LisaRaye would play pain would be different from the way Keisha plays pain, but pain is pain. And we've all had it.

BW: What are your thoughts on some critics stating that the show is portraying brothers in a negative light?
LR: Oh my goodness. I don't know why they thought that, because this project is really positive, there's no male bashing in it at all. Every man has a voice in this. We really want to let you guys know what we're looking for and what we're saying. We know that men and women have a different makeup. That you guys say things and we hear it differently. And we all say things and you hear it differently. So you understand that, and you watch keeping an open mind. We have some great characters and co-stars in there who have really been handling their business and really putting it down.

BW: What advice would you give to your daughter, Kai, on being a single lady?
LR: What's wonderful about her now is that she's modeling. She's Apple Bottoms first plus size model. She's embraced her own curves, her own thickness. And I think that's encouraging for her generation. I've always wanted her to be just healthy, and she is that. And whatever she wants to do, all I can do is support that. I'm her 'Momanager,' that's what I call it now, mom and manager. Because she knows that I'm her best attorney, I'm her best friend, I'm her mother and I'm going to protect her. I want her to know what her self value is. I want her to be able to bring something to the table.

BW: How did you manage your schedule between shooting 'The Real McCoy,' 'Single Ladies,' and being a mother?
LR: Very poorly [laughs]. We've been filming guerilla style and I've been burning the candle light on each end of the stick. I was still doing the reality show for the first month then I was flying back to L.A. doing the promotional stuff. I had to do interviews, then our marketing for VH1 started. Needless to say, I'm very tired. I started a venture with P.Z.I. Jeans for the LisaRaye Collection, it comes out this summer. And that, thank goodness, is based in Atlanta. So I've been able to put on my designer hat and design 19 pairs of jeans to go with my collection, which is the classic collection. So I have gotten very little sleep. I don't really know how I've been doing it. But yet, there is the motivation to prove that I am back. And that I am back to doing what I want to do. I feel good, I feel empowered, I feel strong. And I feel moved, because I got a strong hustle and it makes me proud of myself."

BW:
Do you have a price set for the jeans?
LR: Yes, it's about $89. Right now they're online at PZIJeans.com, but I now have to put together the boutiques in which we're going to be in, and the stores. That gives me a couple more months to play with.

BW: Can fans expect a third season of 'The Real McCoy'?
LR: I probably won't know about 'The Real McCoy' until maybe another couple of months from now. The second season was back by popular demand. And that made me feel good, but then it was, 'do I really want to do it?' So I'm not really sure about that. I'm concentrating now on the my jean line - I want to put a lot of booties in those jeans. I'm an investor. I like to have my money work for me. I want to do what I feel like I couldn't do before. I'm also proving a lot to myself. I've been working on my spiritual relationship and my hustle. And I'm doing it.

VH1's 'Single Ladies' airs on Mondays at 9:00 pm EST.

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