On Sunday, September 15, Gentleman Jack and Omari Hardwick hosted a Power watch party at Hudson Terrace in NYC.
The night was orchestrated by the Gentleman Jack Real to Reel program, celebrating new African American voices in film.
Omari Hardwick, writer, producer, and star of the hit show, Power, shared his passion for telling stories and connecting with creatives in the industry. He shared the stage with a special surprise guest, Naturi Naughton who plays opposite Omari on Power.
We tuned into the panel discussion following a screening of the latest Power episode, and here’s what Naturi Naughton and Omari Hardwick had to say.
On the Trey Songz remix to the Power theme song, “Big Rich Town”…
Omari Hardwick: “The shit was dope, but in an iconic show, you can’t bring in a song in the sixth season. But guess what, Naturi and I were not about to call [50 Cent] and say, yo, my man… And people kept coming on our Instagram, our individual Instagram and saying, ‘yo, O, bring back the shit,’ and I’m like, that is not my decision. [Laughter] But it worked out and shout out to the southern boy who is specifically from Georgia, Joe [Basks], who doesn’t get enough credit.”
On the anticipation before the Power audition…
Omari Hardwick: “I just felt like [Naturi] was the person for the job. It was four weeks before the audition and I said, just relax. And obviously she’s your Tasha.”
Naturi Naughton: “And yea, thank God. Sometimes all the artists, creators, and people who are trying to pursue this, it does take one person believing in you. And remember, as peers in the business, a lot of people pin each other against each other as women, particularly black women. Let’s stop doing that. Let’s support each other, let’s make sure that we encourage each other to go get that role, go get that job. We don’t have to fight each other. Lift each other up.”
On the influence of social media…
Omari Hardwick: “Naturi and I didn’t come up [at the moment] of social media. Period. So you guys have to distance yourself from social media because it is a major fabricator and liar. So when we were pursuing where we now are, social media wasn’t a construct or a handicap for us. So ya’ll have to be very careful, even late at night when your boo is not next to you or whatnot, or even if you’re breaking up with that situation, you have to be very careful when you hear the inner voice say, don’t even check it. Because there’s so much over talking. [You could say] social media talks too much. We are not great at supporting people getting all the way around third base to home base. So the biggest thing is that social media then adds a whole other thing to that. Don’t gravitate towards the bull shit. Because it’s so hard to get a 9-5 these days let alone to pursue an actual dream. Naturi and I are 1.8 percent of working actors in the industry. 1.8 percent of people in the Screen Actors Guild actually make a paycheck doing this. So you gotta be very careful doing this. Writers, producers, directors, people that want to hold a camera, lighters, gaffers, sound people, make up artists, groomers, you gotta be so careful, man, because you want to covet it. And social media tells everybody to say everything. Don’t say everything, everybody. Stay very quiet. Leave that shit for the moment where God has you having your red carpet of tour de force so the world can see you. I mean it. It’s too much of a falsity and the devil is definitely recruiting right now.”
Naturi Naughton: “The one thing I would say… I lived in Los Angeles before I booked Power. I wasn’t working for maybe like two years, and I had just come off of the movie called Notorious, playing Lil Kim, doing Fame, and a lot of people were like, you should be the hot it girl, but there will be times when you won’t be the most sought after actor or actress, writer, producer, etc. But one thing I learned and I started to do, is stop looking for other people to validate you. Create your own shit. Like, we are smart, we are capable, we are resourceful. Amen. And when you step out on faith… that’s something that I think I started to embrace. I’m working on music, writing my own songs, working with this man in the studio. And he’s [Omari] encouraging me. We were shooting [season] six and would run into the studio after a fourteen-hour day. But you gotta step out on faith and you have to do the work, people. Nobody’s going to give you anything. So one thing I think is important to remember is: create your own shit, step out on faith, and do the work.”
Omari Hardwick: “Don’t be afraid to be embarrassed. Everybody is too cool for school. Don’t be afraid to be embarrassed.”
Naturi Naughton: “There’s going to be moments where [you’ll say] that kind of sucked, and that’s ok. That’s part of the process [and] the journey. This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. The marathon continues, so do the work.”
For more information on the Gentleman Jack Real to Reel program, click here.