April 2003
A "Raye" of Light : An Interview with Actress LisaRaye

A "Raye" of Light: An Interview with Actress LisaRaye

Blackfilm.com sat down to speak with the beautiful, LisaRaye while in Los Angeles on the “Never Blend in Tour” promotions for Hennessey. She told us about the 20-city tour and the current path she is treading for her career. To find out where her next stop will be, visit www.neverblendin.com.

AH: You are doing a 20-city tour. Tell us of one moment that stands out in your mind so far?

LR: I will never forget St. Louis! I went to one of their local liquor stores. It was a small little area and there were tables in the back. Everyone was coming in and out. I saw this guy posted to my left for the entire time that I was there. When it was time for them to walk me out to the car, I walked by the guy and he grabbed me. He held me tight and laid a wet, yucky kiss on my cheek and said “Girl, come here – I love you!” I could not do anything but say, “thank you.” I got in the car and screamed, “That should have never happened!” But it was great fun. All of the kids were outside, hanging from the light poles and stop signs. The neighborhood really came out and showed mad love. I was just so surprised; and I was in the hood. I never would have had the opportunity to go there if it was not for Hennessey. I appreciate this whole thing. I realize that these fans never get an opportunity to see anybody that they’ve seen on film or in print. They never thought in a million years that they would actually see and get to meet me.

AH: With your emphasis on being a mother, do you feel a sort of responsibility of being the hostess for an alcoholic beverage?

LR: It was a business decision. I would never front. Everything is business along with the power of relationships. I knew if I was able to come aboard the business side of Hennessey that would elevate me. It would help me to be able to be out there with my fans, promoting, representing Hennessey, but also give me the chance to grow and have someone grow with me. I am not speaking to the people telling them to just go out and drink. I am targeting the mature mind and adults. If you are going to drink, make sure that choice be Hennessey.

AH: How do you like being the Hostess/Spokes model for Hennessey?

LR: I see this being a long-term relationship. This is our first year doing The Never Blend in campaign and I think it’s awesome. I have shown them that besides seeing who the hosting model is, they are coming out to see LisaRaye. That’s name recognition. So if Hennessey is saying to me, I want to grow with you and your career. I don’t want to stand still. I want to go up. Anyway to elevate me, let’s do the damn thing.

AH: Can you talk about the independent film you starred in, Civil Brand?

LR: We had a lot of problems with the film. I shared a lot of my emotions. I honestly think I went too deep on that film. It was my first drama piece, my first reality piece, and I felt that I had something to prove coming from “Players’ Club” and “The Wood.” I am the woman that started the riots against the male prison guards that were raping and molesting the women in jail. You do your time but no one really says anything about what you go through when you go to jail. Although my character brings you into the jail and I had to form a sister unity inside, for me, business is big business. So I was being educated all the while, because I did not realize that at first. It leads me to ask whether or not we are really rehabilitating people in prison with our tax dollars. So it was bigger than just doing a character for me. My character was a mother of a daughter. That hit close to home for me because I am the single mother of a thirteen-year old girl. It was deep for me. Now I know where to cut it. Mos Def, Lark Voorhees, my sister The Brat, Monica Calhoun, MC Lyte, and a host of people that made the film spectacular.

AH: What advice would you give to young women who want to follow in your footsteps?

LR: It’s not easy! So often we forget about the other words, “show business.” We know the show aspect, but the business side of that requires that you be educated. You have to know how to read, annunciate, hold, smart, and stay focused. It cost money to get a stylist, and a make-up artist – all of that for fifteen seconds of fame. I want to let them know that it’s not easy. I cry sometimes and it’s all right. You have to stay focused. I am just glad to be here, working, able to wake up and live.