Just in time for the final episodes of Power–set to air on January 6—Naturi Naughton and Larenz Tate talk about wrapping season 6 and upcoming projects.
The Knockturnal: How are you feeling about the final episodes of Power? How’s life been as the series is ending?
Naturi Naughton: “Life has been good, I’m blessed. I feel pretty good, my daughter is two and healthy. I’m a working mom which is challenging at times, but it’s so worth it…I’m really looking forward to these final five episodes of Power, but I’m also looking forward to my career continuing. With Power there will be spin-offs, but outside of that, there’s going to be so much to my career that I can’t wait to show. The comedic side to me, because the low-key, I’m kind of funny, they just don’t know yet. But people see Tasha and they see such a dramatic and strong [character] which I love, but I can’t wait to show a lighter, fun side, maybe in a romantic comedy or something.”
The Knockturnal: On upcoming projects…
Larenz Tate: “There’s a lot of great things. I produced content with my brothers, we have a production company called Saving Entertainment, things that we’re passionate about, telling our stories, from the black diaspora, people of color and all the things that we have going on. There’s so many stories that we need to tell. I always say we have a lot of catching up to do. It would be great to tell a variation of our stories. It’s really important because we have such a rich culture, rich history, rich journey that I feel like not enough of the things that needs to be seen are being represented, so that’s just one of the things that I’m really passionate about doing, working with creatives like Courtney Kemp on Power and incredible actors and actresses like Naturi, Omari, and LaLa, Joseph and Rotimi… this is like our thing. We’ve been so inundated with this over the last few years and whenever we can get the chance to do things that are important to us, in addition to [Power], it’s kind of nice and that’s what I’ve been doing with my brothers… We have an audio series that’s coming out in the first quarter of 2020, called Bronzeville. It’s about the black community in Chicago back in the 1920s and 1930s where black folks had self-sufficiency. We had our own money, we had our own banks, our own grocery stores, we had our own true neighborhoods and communities… so we created a TV show for it, but Hollywood wouldn’t embrace it right away so we went the audio route—17-18 million downloads in the last couple of years and we’re doing a season two that’s coming out very soon. So we’re excited about that and just working and doing what I love to do.”
Naturi Naughton: “My music is coming up next. I’m working on my album, so I’m super excited about that. And I can’t wait for the fans who have been following me since 3LW, who have been supporting me and waiting for music. This is the time for me to reintroduce that part of me, so I’ve been in the studio writing music and I cannot wait for people to hear it in 2020! So yeah, those are the things I’m looking forward to. I feel good, man, it’s not everyday that you get to be a working actress, a mother, a singer, an entertainer…I’m literally living my dream. And I don’t take that lightly.”
The Knockturnal: Is your daughter singing yet?
Naturi Naughton: “My daughter is doing everything. She is two going on 22! She is so smart. She loves my music, she can sing like “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” She’s reading books all the time, although she can’t really read, she knows. She’s just doing so well. It’s amazing to watch a young person grow. And I can’t believe I made this little human. So I kind of get emotional thinking about how she came out of me. And I was shooting while pregnant, too. I was in season 4 up into my fifth month of pregnancy. And that scene where Tariq shoots Ray Ray, Tasha runs to try to stop him and I was five months pregnant with the big puff jacket. You would never even know because I just played it off. But I ended up announcing my pregnancy and then I came back to shooting 8 weeks after having a baby in season 5!”
The Knockturnal: Who would you love to collaborate with in the future?
Naturi Naughton: “Jamie Foxx and I were talking because he’s a genius musically. I would love to work with him. I’m actually working with one of my very good friends, Eric Hudson who has produced “Flashing Lights” for Kanye, “Entourage” for Omarion… he’s a genius, so I’m working with him but other people I really want to work with also, I’m a huge fan of HER. Right now I would love to collaborate with HER. Hey HER, I would live to collaborate with you, HER, me, she. And I also have a song with Rotimi who plays Dre in the show. We grew up together. We’ve known each other for years from Jersey. I’m just keeping it open right now.”
Larenz Tate: “I’d love to direct at some point. After a while I’ll get behind the camera and start directing. No genre in particular. I love so many different kinds of things. At that time, whatever speaks to me and I feel like I can lend my best storytelling arm to, then that’s what I’ll do.”
The Knockturnal: If you were not in the show, what’s an element of Power that would draw you to the series?
Naturi Naughton: “I like the characters, and I honestly like the relationship between Tasha and Ghost, and Tommy, like the dynamic in the family is interesting because they’re a drug dealer family but they still love each other, they still argue, fight, ride for each other, protect each other. When one is going to jail, the other one is trying to bail him out. No matter how mad I am at you, you’re still my husband, you’re still my sister, you’re still my brother. So I love how the show shows how families stick together. We really are crazy, but don’t come for my family. Look at Tommy and Ghost. They’re supposed to be at each other’s neck but when somebody else comes for their neck, they band together, so I think I’m attracted to the relationships on the show and the sex scenes are kinda hot!”
Larenz Tate: “I wasn’t in the series in the beginning so I was a fan. I would say it’s a combination of things. I love the idea that this brother is living this duality, a dual life. In one sense, he has his foot heavily into this underworld, the street life, but also he has another foot into the business world. I’d say that’s the American Dream right there. He represents the American Dream. But there’s so many people that’s doing what he’s doing that don’t look like him and he’s getting away with it. But I love the fact that he had a family and family was important to him. And so it was great to be able to see [Ghost] in the streets doing his thing but his family was important and he always put his family first. No matter what people may think or may say, family with the St. Patrick’s has always been important no matter the ups and downs. So it was nice to be able to see that. And of course, I love the style, the way they look, the way they sound, the way they act, and I love the stories and the violence. That spoke to me too, but to me it was about a man truly walking the walk of an American hero in some capacity even though he was not the ideal. He’s prosecuted and convicted all the time because he’s a drug dealer, a killer. Do you know how much stuff is going on in everyday life, how many corporations built on what he was doing? [I also like the show because] it was different and Omari is one of my closest guys, that’s like my bro, so I was really excited to see him. He was the initial draw for me, just to see him lead the show and be a leading man because I’ve always seen him as a leading man. He’s such a strong personality, he’s such a strong, unique individual and it resonates through his work.”