After not being able to host an in-person premiere event in 2020 for the debut of Power Book II: Ghost due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Starz rolled out the black carpet at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City for the premiere of Power Book III: Raising Kanan.
The second spinoff in the Power series. Raising Kanan castmembers: Patina Miller, MeKai Curtis, Omar Epps, London Brown, Malcolm Mays, Hailey Kilgore, Joey Bada$$, Lovie Simone, Quincy Brown, Toby Sandeman, and Shanley Caswell, were in attendance, as well as Executive Producers, Creators and Showrunners Sascha Penn, Courtney A. Kemp, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Mark Canton, Chris Salek, Bart Wenrich and Shana Stein.
While Power and Power Book II: Ghost take place in the twenty-tens decade, Raising Kanan is a prequel to the original series taking place in 1991, over two decades prior to the start of the events in Power. The theme of the premiere and subsequent after-party followed an early nineties theme where cast members and attendees donned fashion style reflective of the era from Kangol bucket hats and tracksuits, to doorknocker gold earrings. Attendees were also giving bucket hats as they entered the ballroom for the screening as well as see-through Starz branded fanny packs.
To kick things off Starz President and CEO, Jeffrey Hirsch, Kemp, Jackson, and Penn took to the stage to speak on the series growing from the original Power series to four subsequent spinoffs. Kemp thanked the cast and showed her appreciation. The Raising Kanan cast was joined by cast members from the original Power series: Michael Rainey Jr, Naturi Naughton, Shane Johnson, Lala Anthony, and Joseph Sikora (who will be next to star in his own Power spinoff Power Book IV: Force), as well as Power Book II: Ghost cast members: Woody McClain, Daniel Sunjata, Berto Colon, Gianni Paolo, Lovell Adams-Gray, Paige Hurd, Paton Ashbrook, LaToya Tonodeo, Daniel Bellomy, Alix Lapri, Melanie Liburd.
Shortly after the lights dimmed, and the premiere episode began to play as the sounds of the new theme song “Part of the Game” blasted from the screen. While the original Power and Power Book II: Ghost focus on the St. Parick and Tejada families, Raising Kanan explores the origin story of Jackson’s Kanan character who met his fatal end in the original series. In Raising Kanan, Kanan Stark is once again alive, but this time we see Kanan as a 15-year-old high schooler (played by Mekai Curtis) from Queens, who is fiercely protective of his mother Raquel (Patina Miller) who is a cocaine distributor trying to keep her son out of the dangerous business. We also are introduced to Kanan’s uncles and reintroduced to his cousin Jukebox who in the original Power was portrayed by Anika Noni Rose but in Raising Kanan younger actress Hailey Kilgore.
After the credits rolled it was showtime as the curtain went up and 50 Cent hit the stage to perform a number of his hits including “Big Rich Town”, “P.I.M.P.” and the newest Power Book III theme song “Part of the Game” in which he was joined onstage by NLE Choppa and Rileyy Lanez. When 50 Cent left the stage, DJ Mister Cee introduced a few guests to bring guests back to the early nineties era bringing EPMD and Kool G Rap to the stage, with Big Daddy Kane. However, the biggest surprise guest of the night was current rap sensation Da Baby who 50 Cent brought out onstage.
Once it was announced that the concert was over guest headed over to Gotham Hall for the nineties-themed after-party. Guests arrived to the hall as nineties-era cars were parked in front of the venue which cast members took photo opps posing inside the vintage automobiles. As guests stepped inside they were immersed in nineties decor with graffiti-laden walls and scenes from the Raising Kanan trailer playing along the walls. Guests were also treated to an array of entrees such as chicken and waffles. Notable guests included Roxanne Shanté, Lil Mama, Kid Capri, Hood Celebrityy, D-Nice, Lil Mo, Tiff McFierce, Ari Melber were some of the additional VIP’s who were spotted mingling with the cast at the afterparty.
Ultimately the after-party turned into a birthday party for 50 Cent who had a birthday on July 6th but was presented a cake at the after-party while attendees sang Happy birthday.
Power Book III: Raising Kanan premieres on Starz on Sunday, July 18th.