by Jamie Foster Brown
(Excerpted from the April/May issue of Sister 2 Sister magazine)
LisaRaye has gone through so many changes in the last five years of her life. After she landed a plum role on “All of Us,” which was a Will-and- Jada-produced TV series, she then “landed” the premier of Turks and Caicos, Michael Misick. The actress married him and became the first lady of those islands.
It was a fairytale, whirlwind courtship and marriage.
LisaRaye and I have been close throughout the years, and we are both from Chicago, so if you see us together and there’s some good music playing, it’s more than likely you’ll see us stepping with one another because we’ve always been carefree and silly like that.
But things went sour between LisaRaye and me at her wedding. I wrote extensively about that in the June 2006 issue of Sister 2 Sister. She had said explicitly that she wanted me to cover her wedding but when I got to Turks and Caicos and headed to the ceremony, I was embarrassed by security. (You’ll find out more as you read this interview.)
Then last August, LisaRaye and her hubby Michael were in all the papers and on the Internet with a terrible story about cheating and a fight that ended with both of them having to go to the hospital to be treated for human bites. It turned that ugly.
Not long after that, Hurricane Ike passed through and devastated the islands, and Michael reached out to his estranged wife, LisaRaye, asking her to help them. Then in February, Michael, who has been accused of corruption and rape, announced his resignation which went into effect March 31. He said it was due to lack of support for his administration.
I try not to hold grudges. I love my people too much. No, I love all people too much. It’s obvious, for legal reasons, that LisaRaye can’t say too much about the divorce she’s going through, but there’s still stuff to be told right here in the pages of Sister 2 Sister. Watch part of LisaRaye’s interview below or at s2smagazine.com/videos.
Jamie: You look happy.
LisaRaye: I am so happy. I’m happy from the inside; spiritually I’m happy because I feel a load has been lifted off me. I now know what my position is. I kept feeling like why did I come to Turks and Caicos? What am I supposed to do? What is the purpose? But now I know without me, the story would not have been an international story. I would not have been able to shed light on what is going on over there. So they need me. So now, I have so many people reaching out to me from domestic violence over there to the women’s shelter, to AIDS, to everybody. It’s like, for me, I feel more embraced now than I did when I was there in the beginning.
Jamie: When you said what is going on over there, you’re talking about the domestic violence and the abuse and all of that?
LisaRaye: I’m talking about the favoritism. I’m talking about the dishonesty, the corruption, the embezzlement—everything that the government is going through, including my still estranged husband, Premiere of Turks and Caicos Islands Michael Misick. And it’s still ongoing, the investigation that’s going on now.
Jamie: Are you and Michael still friends now? Are you all talking?
LisaRaye: In the beginning I was, but when so much came out during his hearing, I was really just honestly sitting there with a pad and a pen with a shocked look on my face with my mouth open like I cannot believe all this. I did not come from the States to go there to get in any type of trouble. My life here was great! So now, I sort of have to unveil myself, and through the testimony I gave, through the investigation of the commission of inquiry, I was able to do so.
Jamie:So you’re not charged with anything?
Jamie: What are some of the things you found out through the testimony?
LisaRaye: I found out he was putting money through my account and using my account; I did not know that at all. I had signed a document that was giving us a $6 million dollar loan for a house that we were building in LA, but we stopped building the house, so I thought that he would’ve perhaps gave that money back. I didn’t even know he had asked for a loan. When I was at the hearing I heard this, and I was thinking, I signed what paper to do what? And when you have a husband that is your in-house lawyer, you have to have a foundation of trust, so I would’ve signed something without scrutinizing him. For me, it’s been eye-opening, but I do not feel bad, not at all, because I know my worth. I know what I’ve done for that country. I would do it again. I’ve had a fabulous time, and that’s my home.
Jamie: Give me some of the dos and don’ts of a first lady.
LisaRaye: It’s so much harder than just being the United States of America first lady. Michelle Obama, I believe, is going to have that down pat. But for me, being an American, going over to a country I knew nothing about the laws and the rules, it was very difficult for me. I did not have a protocol person, if you will. I had no one tell me step by step this is what you should and should not do. So as LisaRaye—as the actress, as the sex symbol—I was comfortable in my skin. So going over there was kind of like you need to put on a little more and cover up a bit more. I understood my position and that’s why I did not do Smooth and King magazine. I did entertainment, and that’s what I knew to do until someone would maybe say this is what we want you to do. Did I turn down some things? Absolutely. Because I knew my strength; I know what I do, and I know what I don’t do. I don’t do hospitals. I don’t do that. So, I don’t care what you say. You can have me do something else with the kids, but that’s what I do. That’s my strength. So, I know me. Politically, over there, it is just daylight and dark over there. Like the Democrats and the Republicans, we mingle together over in the United States. PDM and PMP [the country’s two main political parties] do not mingle at all. I’m like, my position is, can we all get along? That’s not necessarily their position over there. So I had to learn very quickly who I can trust, who I couldn’t trust, and it’s very hard to trust anyone when you are a first lady.
Jamie:How do you feel about yourself and what you’ve gone through? And now you’re helping, and you also have to help yourself now too, right?
LisaRaye: I’ve always helped myself. I am, again, doing absolutely the same thing that I was doing before. Nothing has changed.
Pick up the April/May issue of Sister 2 Sister magazine to see what LisaRaye said about how women in the Turks and Caicos responded to her.