“Power” is a new series by Executive Producer Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and show creator Courtney Kemp Agboh premiering on Starz June 7. The show stars Omari Hardwick as James “Ghost” St. Patrick and co-stars Joseph Sikora as Tommy Egan. I had a chance to sit down with the two actors and Kemp, who spoke to me about the creation of the show, what it offers and 50 Cent’s involvement.
Here are the five most important things I learned about “Power” during the interview:
1. Kemp used her father as inspiration for the series.
Mariana Dussan (MD): Courtney, I read that you have a fascination with the illusion of control of life, where does it hail from?
Courtney Kemp Agboh (CKA): “Well I think that as humans we all have this Illusion that we are powerful, that we can control our lives and then something crazy happens,” she said. “Ghost’s life [for example], he’s opening up a night club, it’s the greatest night of his life and then boom, something horrible happens that takes him off track. [The fascination] probably came from … the real bottom line would probably be my father’s death in 2011. He died of a heart attack very suddenly and I didn’t see it coming, and it changed my life and so I began to become interested in the idea of sudden change and how powerless it makes us feel.”
2. Ghost is more than just a drug dealer.
(MD): Omari, there is a deeper story that just the stereotypical black drug dealer, how does Ghost manage to portray this aspect of the story?
Omari Hardwick (OH): First of all the writing, it’s not stereotypical or cliché. By no means do I think that it was ever written in this thought of “black drug dealer,” I think [Ghost] was just thought of someone who does some bad things … The writers did a great job of just making this guy a man, a father, a husband who is juggling a lot of lives, whose got a best friend that doesn’t necessarily look like him and considers his brother, so it’s just not stereotypical writing.
3. 50 Cent is involved in every aspect of the show.
(MD): What does 50 Cent add to the show?
(CKA): Well as a producer he’s been instrumental to the construction of the show, so much of Ghost’s life mirrors 50’s life in terms of where he’s from and starting out in the hustle. Also, at the very beginning he created 11 new tracks for me to listen to while I was writing and we had a collaboration going on back and forth … he has contributed and invested beyond my wildest dreams.
4. This show has an incredible amount of diversity.
(MD): This is by far one of the most diverse shows I’ve seen in along time, can you talk about that aspect?
Joseph Sikora (JS): It speaks to using New York as a character, New York is diverse and multicolored and that’s represented in the cast.
(CKA): There were shows that were set in NYC, when I was a young woman, where everyone was white and it made me really confused because that’s not what it looks like here. I love New York and I’m passionate about what New York really is, which is all types of different people crashing together and having to live in the same space and that’s what I wanted to put on screen.
5. Be prepared to hear some Spanish!
(MD): The Latino community is a huge part of NYC, how are they represented?
(JS): [Well by] how much Spanish is spoken on the show, I think, is very important and reflective of New York.
(CKA): I was really committed to the fact that a lot of times in [television] when you have Spanish-speaking people they are all the same and you will interchangeably cast Mexican actors and let them speak Mexican Spanish when they are supposed to be Puerto Rican. We didn’t do it that way, to the best of our ability, because it’s not perfect, we really tried and we hired dialect coaches to make Puerto Rican actors play Puerto Rican parts, speak Nuyorican and be from here. To have Dominican, Cuban, Mexican actors be from where they are from because that was my passion and Starz was totally behind me on that even though it’s detail work that people don’t usually do.