Troy native to star in ‘Love Thy Neighbor’

Published 11:00 pm Monday, May 27, 2013

Troy native Patrice Lovely stars as Hattie Mae in Tyler Perry’s newest comedy series, “Love Thy Neighbor,” which premieres at 8 p.m. Wednesday on OWN.

Lovely is no stranger to the stage. She is accomplished in almost every facet of the entertainment industry. She has starred in several stage productions including “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” and “Stranger in My House” and has had a successful career as a recording artist with two gospel albums to her credit.

However, Lovely’s dream was to have her own comedy show and Perry made her dream a reality.

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She has appeared in several Tyler Perry productions, including “I Don’t Want to Do Wrong,” “The Have and the Have Nots” and “Madea Gets a Job” and several Perry produced DVDs.

“Love Thy Neighbor” is written and produced by Perry but Lovely said Perry allowed her to “be me.”

“He gave me the freedom to play Hattie Mae in a way that she would be me,” Lovely said.

For the past three years, Lovely has dedicated her talents to making young people smile as the hilarious, original and exceptional character, “Mabelle,” which is the only character of its kind to hit the stage. And, there’s a bit of Mabelle in Hattie Mae.

“Hattie Mae is a very interesting and funny character. She helps people learn life-long lessons and sometimes she forces the lessons down their throats,” Lovely said, laughing. “One way or the other they learn the lessons. It’s an awesome and hilarious show with Tyler Perry kind of people.”

The taping of Hattie Mae began in January and Lovely said she was more than busy with 23 shows to be taped.

“We’ve got some really great shows and I’m excited about Wednesday night and can hardly wait,” she said. “It will be great to have my family and my hometown supporting me.”

Lovely was born in Jackson, Mississippi but calls Troy home.

Her mother, Martha McInnis, pastor of Greater Miracle Temple and Worship Center, a brother and other family members are Troy residents.

“I went through junior high school in Troy and would have been in the Class of 1985 except I left Troy at the age of 16 to pursue my dream of being in show business,” Lovely said. “I moved to Tallahassee and joined the Unity Band.”

As a part of the creative team with the UniverSoul Circus, Lovely made history as the first African American female ringmaster in the world.

After, seemingly going around the world to find her niche, Lovely found her place.

“I love to sing but I didn’t know that I could act,” she said. “I’ve loved being on stage and I love television. I’m living my dream.”

But Lovely keeps her life in perspective.

“I believe in keeping God first in everything,” she said. “The Bible says that we should first seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all good things will be added to you. I try to live by that.”