One wouldn’t necessarily expect a highly-touted high school athlete to aspire to become a poet; and one likely wouldn’t expect an established poet to pursue a career in acting; but Omari Hardwick has spent the majority of his life defying expectations. The Atlanta-born actor heads an acclaimed cast of talented actors on “Power,” the new crime drama series from Starz. He’s appeared in films such as Spike Lee’s Miracle at St. Anna and on series such as “Being Mary Jane,” but playing the conflicted James “Ghost” St. Patrick presented an interesting opportunity for Hardwick.
“This man has an organization that he created a very long time ago that centers on drug distribution around the greater parts of New York City — [he’s a] ‘pharmaceutical sales reps of illegal narcotics,’ ” Hardwick explains with a grin. “He distributes to the highest clientele in New York City, but he started out with the humble beginnings of Southside Jamaica, Queens.”
Ghost’s struggle to rise above the trappings of organized crime serves as the crux of the character’s moral conflict; and Hardwick was convinced to take the role after a lengthy conversation with the show’s creator, Courtney Kemp Agboh.
“I didn’t necessarily need work — in terms of a ‘desperate’ actor needing work,” he says. “I wanted it to be work that made sense to me and my career. But Courtney Kemp Agboh said her mantra was ‘OK, God.’ And she said she lived by this mantra for years that aided her in accepting what her call was. She would say ‘OK, God.’ ”