After 4 seasons of POWER, I think that it is safe to say that families around the world are more than likely feeling like the long distance cousins of the St. Patrick family. Every fan of this show should be able to attest to feeling a bit powerless season after season. Being able to separate damn good acting and reality seems harder and harder to do after each intense episode. This show may be extremely relatable to some but for those that have no connection, it is simply a drama and action filled television series that is far from any episode of the Cosby’s!
Kontrol Magazine had the pleasure of catching up with one of POWERS very own cast mates, Michael Rainey Jr. who plays the character of Tariq St. Patrick.
Tariq is the teenage son of a professional drug dealer and family man, Ghost, who is played by Omari Hardwick. Tariq is portrayed as a privileged teen that attends an Ivy League school, lives in a penthouse and is completely unaware of his fathers “true” professional career.
POWER wasn’t Michael’s first rodeo in the acting world; he has been acting since he was a small child making appearances on Sesame Street, Commercials, and Music Videos.
In 2010, Michael broke his movie acting virginity in the movie, Un Altro Mondo where he played the lead role, Charlie. While in preparation for this movie, Michael had to live in Italy for one year, where he had to become fluent in the Italian language for his role.
Once back in America, Michael landed major roles in movies such as LUV, Barbershop 3, The Butler and Orange Is the New Black.
As every POWER fan arrived to season 4, we had no idea how tight we would be clinched to our seats. I don’t think that anyone had a clue that our “innocent”, Tariq, would be the child that every mother wanted to spank! His character made a 360-degree transition from lying to protect his father’s hidden profession to lying to protect himself. Tariq’s rebellious behavior introduced him to the world that no teenager should know about.
Eager to know, I asked Michael what his thought process was when he was introduced to the role that he would play in season 4.
When I first read the script to my character, I was like, WHAT THE HECK!
He explained that Courtney A. Kemp, the creator of the show, shared with him in season 3 that he would have a lot on his plate in season 4. With that heads up, he was ready and very surprised at how quickly things would escalade.
As intense as his role was for season 4, he said that he never does anything special to prepare for his roles. As long as he is given enough of the “basic” information about the background of his character then he doesn’t need much mental preparation.
The more natural the better it is for me
Having worked alongside big industry names such as Oprah, Ice Cube and now 50 Cent, I asked Michael to share with us the best business advice that he has received from 50 cent.
It’s crazy working with 50 because growing up my mom wouldn’t let me listen to his music but I always still listened. Working alongside him is a blessing and he gives me a lot of advice but the one thing that he has told me, that I always keep it in mind and consider for everything that I do is, ‘Don’t ever feel entitled because thats when you deprive yourself’.
We live in a world where social media is almost like turning on the news, but not only that, it is an outlet for any and everything, both good and bad. As a teenager and actor, I’m sure the pressure has to be a lot to handle at times.
Before I dove into my next question, I confirmed Michael’s age. With such excitement, he shared with me that he was 24 days away from his 17th birthday. He hopes to be able to have a big party where he can have a ton of performances.
Getting back to the fact that the world of social media has become so engrossed and passionate about the characters in our favorite television shows that they seem to have a hard time separating the person playing the role from who they are in “real life”. Michael explained that he doesn’t take the comments seriously and he knows that it is only because of the show that people have such a hard time separating themselves from the characters. He finds it quite amusing that people can spend so much time obsessing mere impersonations.
After we laughed about the memes that were created after Michaels T.V. twin sister Raina was killed, he mentioned that he went to an album release party shortly after that episode aired, and IG fans went as far as to ask, how he had the energy to go to a party when his sister had just passed and that he should be preparing for her funeral.
Don’t for a second think that Michael is always in actor mode. When he isn’t in the public eye or behind the camera, he is a normal teenager. I wasn’t surprised to learn that Michael’s favorite rapper is A$AP Rocky which explains his love for music. He shared that during his free time, he likes to make beats, draw, produce music and browse the Internet for new clothes to purchase. His taste in nice clothing helped me to understand why his favorite sneaker would be the Red Dons, a Kanye West X Louis Vuitton collaboration.
Diving more into understanding the personal side of Michael, he shared with me that his favorite places to travel are Jamaica, California, and Italy.
Being the busy teenager that he is, I asked Michael if he has the time to explore teenage love, he stated “Me? No, I don’t have time for a girlfriend. It’s too much for me right now, so I’m not stressing about it, taking my blessings as they come and going with the flow”.
Sometimes, it can takes years for a person to figure out their passion and what it is that truly sets their soul on fire. Luckily for Michael, he was able to tap into his craft at a very young and impressionable age. I asked Michael what advice he would give to someone his age who is interested in acting or pursuing something they love. He said, “I would tell them to stay focused, be humble and don’t live your life trying to make other people happy, do stuff for you”.
Power season 4 has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean life stops, at least not for Michael Rainey Jr. He is a 16 year old who is making major power moves. Last summer he wrapped up a Netflix Original series called, Amateur a basketball movie where he has a leading role. If you thought that Michaels role in Power and then filming Amateur, would make this teenage star want to take a break, relax with his feet up, kick it with his homeboys, think again! This past summer he finished up a movie titled 211 where he co-star’s alongside the great Nicholas Cage. This film’s expected release date is around March 2018.
Some may consider Michael pretty blessed to be apart of one of the most popular television shows out right now. However, if I could speak on his behalf, I would say that being apart of a major television cast is like being pushed up a grade in school, you get access to all of the major gems before others do, now that’s dope! Nonetheless, each role that he plays including power, is the next building block that he needs to get him to where he is supposed to go his career.
Photographer: Will Kennedy
Creative Director: Dane Young
Wardrobe Stylist: Sakeya Donaldson