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Behind every success of nightclub owner and New York druglord James St Patrick (Omari Hardwick) aka Ghost is his mentor and frenemy Kanan, played by rapper Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson on crime drama Power (2014-current – stream Seasons 1-4 here on Showmax).
What James overlooked when he secretly sent Kanan to prison a decade earlier is that the mentor always writes the rulebook. And upon Kanan’s release, he patiently studies James’s every move, waiting for the right time to strike.
“You didn’t tell anyone that I was getting out tonight, right?” says Kanan looking straight into his son Shaun’s (Sinqua Walls) eyes after walking out of prison in the Season 1 finale. “Good. Because I want it to be a surprise. Your loyalty is to me first now,” adds Kanan as he puts his designer glasses on.
Kanan, much like 50 Cent’s lyrics, demands respect. Neither man is the type to be messed with, and having grown up in a crime-infested neighbourhood and selling drugs in his early teens, 50 Cent understands the essence of his brutal character.
“I am fully involved in the show. I met with co-producer Courtney Kemp Agboh and started developing concepts and ideas and, let me just add, it came all the way together,” laughs Curtis.
This wasn’t 50 Cent’s first stint at acting either. He’s been in a number of crime thrillers over the years including as Lamar in Fire With Fire (2012) and Black in Vengeance (2014), as well as playing a version of himself as Marcus in Get Rich Or Die Trying (2005).
Above and beyond
50 Cent’s fingerprints are all over the show. From the opening theme song that is performed and written by him, to the storylines, he leaves his mark – even on the other characters.
“James’s story is familiar to me and I wanted to do justice telling it. He is a man who wants to leave the crime life to venture out into lucrative business and run his club clean,” says the rapper.
But James’s wife Tasha (Naturi Naughton) and best friend Tommy (Joseph Sikora) talk him out of it at every chance. “The majority of the people that I grew up around that were in the crime life were doing it to earn enough to not have to work for someone else. They wanted enough money to invest in clean businesses. This is Ghost’s conflict. Everyone around him wants him to stay while he wants to leave,” adds Curtis, who handpicked Omari for the protagonist role.
“Omari came to mind early. He has something about him that screams out ‘leading man’,” explains 50. “Every time that I would see him on TV [Omari played Andre on drama Being Mary Jane, 2013-2017; Seasons 1-4 are on Showmax], I’d think, ‘He’s next.’ I always had a feeling that he’d take off and Power would be the show that catapults him to the next level.”
Spoiler alert: Getting the cut
Don’t think that 50 wanted to steal the show. He was happy with a taste, with his character being killed off in Season 5. He manipulates and turns James’s son Tariq (Michael Rainey Jr) against James. He even convinces Tommy to kill James, until Tariq takes a gun and just shoots Kanan.
“You may see flashbacks of him [Kanan],” says Curtis. “It messes with his head when you do that [kill someone], it doesn’t just go away. That’s a traumatic experience for the young man and it might play over and over,” teases the rapper.
Leaving the show as a regular cast member gives Curtis the opportunity to focus on other projects and his new crime drama The Oath (2018-current, find Season 1 on Showmax here), which explores gang culture and what it takes to survive in the dangerous lifestyles.
“From the onset I was like, ‘This is it.’ I anticipated that the shows that I work on being a big hit and that’s exactly what they are.”
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