50 Cent defends white actor's use of the N-word on 'Power'
The primetime crime drama Power returns for season 2, Saturday June 6, on Starz.
The series, co-created by Courtney Kemp Agboh, and executive produced by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, stars Omari Hardwick as James “Ghost” St. Patrick, a night-club owner who leads a double life as a drug kingpin, alongside Naturi Naughton, who plays his wife.
Joseph Sikora appears in Power as Ghost’s extremely loyal partner-in-crime, Tommy Egan. Egan grew up alongside Ghost in the rough streets of New York.
In an interview with theGrio, Sikora opened up about some of the advice 50 Cent gave him on bringing authenticity to his character.
“I think the best thing was taking us to the neighborhood. I think that street credibility is palpable in the characterization of Tommy because it rings true,” Sikora said. “I think that you need to have some of that experience… at least see those sights and meet those people.”
“You [say] things that you wouldn’t say, or he wouldn’t be comfortable saying things that I’m asking him to say until he sees the temperament of the people,” 50 Cent added. “Because over there, probably the most time they called you Ni**a.”
“Yo that’s my Ni**a Tommy,” the rapper gave as an example. “They’re not using it as a racial term, They’re saying that’s my guy.”
When asked if it’s okay for anyone of any race to use the N-word, 50 Cent says it comes down to what neighborhood you are from.
“When you live there. When you there, they ain’t gonna see a difference in you or anyone else… it’s just you’re not the police.”
Hardwick also weighed in on the use of the N-word on the series.
“It shouldn’t be a debate about whether or not Joe should be allowed to use it. If Tommy grew up in that world, and that was normal and everyday practice for him.. for Tommy to say that, if it authenticates what we grew up in as characters, I don’t think it should be a debate. It’s just truth.”
Earlier this year, Empire star Terrence Howard made waves after saying he wanted the culturally taboo word introduced into upcoming scripts.
“I’m mad that we don’t say n—- in the show,” Howard said in an interview Entertainment Weekly. “Why is TV showing something different from the reality of the world? Why is there a thing called censorship that stop people from hearing everyday talk? We use n—-every day. It’s become part of a conversation — why aren’t we using it in the show?”
But not everyone agreed with Howard — specifically, Lee Daniels and co-star Taraji P. Henson, who plays Cookie Lyon.
When TMZ asked whether she believed Empire actors should be using the word, she said, “Naw, you might piss people off.”
David Rambo, one of the show’s writers, told TMZ that as a white man, he didn’t feel he could make the call on whether to use the word. Context is everything, he said.
“It’s a powerful word,” Rambo told TMZ. “It’s such a huge issue. It came up a lot in our writers room.”
Tune in for the series premiere of Power season 2 Saturday June 6, at 9/8C on Starz.