02/04/2013 04:40 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

LisaRaye: On Increasing AIDS awareness


Photo by D'Andre Michael
Courtesy of Anderson Group PR

It seemed like just a short time ago that actress LisaRaye McCoy and I conversed about the success of Single Ladies, her focus on spirituality and her physical reinvention with her fitness challenge.

Since the late 1990's, LisaRaye's beautiful face and elegant presence have not only been a staple in the entertainment community - she has also served as a positive role model for women everywhere.

We've met LisaRaye the actress and we have been and are being re-introduced to the brand of LisaRaye. Just to drop a tiny hint; she has a number of things going on with a possible lifestyle brand. She's also starred in an upcoming new film which has seen her take on the role of producer, a role we might see more often - there are indeed a lot of exciting things going on in the world of LisaRaye.

Today, LisaRaye and I discuss her desire to increase our awareness around AIDS.

What have you been up to since we last talked?

I went on a spiritual retreat right after Thanksgiving for about five days. I rented this little cabin about two and a half hours outside of LA in the mountains, it was about 6,000 feet elevation. It was the last cabin at the top of the mountain. I was by myself; I didn't use my voice for about three or four days. I had no phone and no email. I listened to music, T.D. Jakes CDs, I read, I did my vision board, I watched movies and cooked. You know how you get when you're by yourself in a strange place and you're wondering if you're being watched - after I got outside of my own head, I had a really great time. It was a great place to get away, recharge and just think. We need to do that more often.

That sounds so nice; I know I'm seriously guilty of not getting away as often as I should. I really need to recharge. I think I might take your advice on that.

You should, Bryan. I'm telling you, you'll have a great time.

We know about LisaRaye the actress, but I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say that we're anxious to hear more about LisaRaye the activist.

Over the years, I've noticed a power in using my voice as a platform to get across the messages I want to share. I was thinking to myself 'How could I be of more help?' I really wanted to use my celebrity to aid in some type of charity of choice, something that is personal to me and something that I would have a passion for.

Tell us more about your AIDS awareness campaign, how did you become involved?

Well, AIDS affects everyone - not just the gay community, it affects everyone. At some point in our lives, we either have been or will be sexually active. Especially with how fast it's spreading, we need to become more educated on you "Wrapping it Up," protecting yourself, using a condom and having more self value. This is very personal to me because I have a daughter.

The self value piece is so rare these days that it could be another topic all on its own.

Right, and I'm not saying don't have sex before marriage - we already know the kids ain't listening to that, hell, we ain't even listening to it as adults. What I'm saying is just don't put yourself out there. What's that word the kids are using now? Don't be ratchet!

That's the word.

Nowadays, everyone is more concerned with "being a bad bitch." That used to be taboo, we couldn't even say that. Today, it's being thought of as cool to be ratchet and go home with that dude on the first night. As ladies, we should be concerned with whether we are going home with him every night. Are you that woman he wants to take home to mama? Eventually, you should want a real relationship.

The roles between men and women have reversed quite a bit these days, but that's another conversation.

I thought that we were working towards loving and being loved. We need to be rawer with respect to the stories that we are sharing, where ever we're sharing them. We need to say what happened that one time we went out on a limb, this is the possibility, this is what can happen - it's not that hard, all it takes is that one time and there's no going back. Just that one time is all it takes and you can contract AIDS. These stories need to be in everyone's face boldly, brutally and fearfully.

We're not fearful enough, and there is still too much stereotyping out there in the belief that AIDS and other STDs are limited to the homosexual community. I believe that the message and the awareness have dropped by the waist side because of other diseases out there.

We need to have more commercials that have the same level of impact that the commercials about smoking have. When we see that woman holding her throat and trying to speak, it is felt! Believe me, it is seriously felt! We need a commercial for AIDS awareness that instills that same level of fear.

LisaRaye's Breaking the Silence video is below. Continue to follow Breaking the Silence by visiting their website and showing your support.