The 50 Cent Cinematic Universe has me in a chokehold

OPINION: Just like my granny had her ‘stories’ she regularly watched, I am all in on the ‘Power’ franchise, ‘BMF,’ and anything else 50 Cent puts his hands on. 

Starz FYC Day - Power
(L-R) 50 Cent, Lela Loren and Omari Hardwick attend the Starz FYC Day at The Atrium at Westfield Century City on June 02, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/Getty Images)

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

Before I get started, let me acknowledge that “Power” was created by Courtney A. Kemp in collaboration with Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. 50 serves as executive producer on the original show as well as all of the spinoffs. “BMF” was created by Randy Huggins. 50 serves as an executive producer on that series as well, and in the case of both “Power” and “BMF,” 50 is the “big name” behind it all, and that is why I refer to it as the “50 Cent Cinematic Universe.” I understand who actually created the material, but I think we understand 50’s influence on all of them. 

Now that we have gotten all of that out of the way, let’s get into what we really came here to talk about today. Warning: this will contain spoilers for some series details.

I was admittedly late to the party for the original “Power” series; I didn’t start watching it until it was already in its third season, but I binged it and caught up with the third season in real-time, and I didn’t miss an episode after that. 

Omari Hardwick is as easy on the eyes as you can get, and he brought a sexy thug vibe to the show’s main protagonist, James “Ghost” St. Patrick. 

Ghost’s story was an intriguing one. How does one go from dealing drugs in the streets to running legitimate businesses through which you launder the massive amounts of money you are bringing in from your drug empire — all while being a husband to your equally hot but always unsatisfied wife Tasha (Naturi Naughton), parenting three children including your obstinate teenage son Tariq (Michael Rainey Jr.), remaining loyal to the homeboy you grew up with, Tommy (Joseph Sikora), and rekindling a romance with your high school sweetheart, Angela (Lela Loren), who also happens to be a federal attorney who prosecutes drug dealers?

That’s already high drama, but then add into the mix your other homeboy from around the way, Kanan (50 Cent), who gets released from prison and restarts his life as a street thug like it’s 1992. You think he’s your friend, but you also know you can’t trust him because he is grimy and unstable. 

“Power” had more twists and turns than a rollercoaster, and I was here for all of them. 

“Dynasty” could never! “Knot’s Landing” wishes! “Falcon Crest” and “Dallas” only dreamed of this. 

When the original series ended in 2020, we knew we were going to get some sequels. 

“Power Book II: Ghost” continues Tariq’s story immediately after the events of the original series. The series also stars Method Man as Davis MacLean, an attorney who knows where all Tariq’s bodies are buried and helps to keep him out of trouble; Mary J. Blige as Monet Tejada, the matriarch of a drug organization that includes her children Cane (Woody McClain), Dru (Lovell Adams-Gray), and Diana (LaToya Tonodeo). 

“Power Book II: Ghost” (Credit: Starz)

I have shared my thoughts on “Ghost” before. This show is so good. It is currently nearing the end of the third season, and according to Deadline, the fourth season is already in production with Michael Ealy joining the class, so I’m looking forward to the lightskin terror he is going to bring to the show. 

“Ghost” is soapy in the best ways. It’s overly dramatic and at times entirely unbelievable, but it is entertaining, and that’s what counts. 

We all thought Tariq was the worst person ever on the original “Power,” but I have admittedly grown a soft spot for him through this series; he is my favorite character, and I’m rooting for him to win. 

“Power Book III: Raising Kanan” gives us the origin story of 50 Cent’s character Kanan, who was a complete menace in the original series. 

Power Book III: Raising Kanan Season Two Tastemaker Event
(L-R) Krystal Joy Brown, Shanley Caswell, Joey Bada$$, Patina Miller, Omar Epps, MeKai Curtis, Antonio Ortiz, Chyna Layne, Paulina Singer and Sascha Penn attend the “Power Book III: Raising Kanan” Season Two Tastemaker event at Bowery Hotel Terrace on August 08, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Sean Zanni/Getty Images for STARZ)

If “Raising Kanan” accomplishes anything, it makes teenage Kanan (Mekai Curtis) something of a sympathetic character. You can see how the things that happened to him in his youth, especially when it comes to dealing with his mother Raq (Patina Miller). The main men in his life, his uncles Lou (Malcolm Mays) and Marvin (London Brown) are drug dealers and major players in Raq’s drug empire, and they are his main influences. Then he gets the added rub of finding out his real father is a cop (Omar Epps). Life is hard for young Kanan Stark. 

That said, I’m not sure how all of that leads to him being the homicidal maniac he is in the original series, but I’m sure we’ll find out. The show has already completed two seasons, and a third should be released this summer. 

“Power Book IV: Force” is the story of what happens to Tommy Egan (Joseph Sikora) immediately after the events of the original series. 

Tommy finds himself in Chicago, immediately runs up against some of the city’s criminal element, and after getting in on some action, he decides to make Chicago his new home, diving into the drug game with a new crew. 

I wasn’t initially sure that the character of Tommy could carry a show on his own, but the storyline is good and the new characters we meet keep it interesting. Tommy even finds out he actually has a real Black brother, and even though that storyline is ridiculous, it somehow works for this series. I like it. 

As if he had not already cornered the market in drug-dealer television shows on the Starz network, 50 Cent then went on and gave us “BMF,” which gives us a somewhat fictionalized account of what really happened with Demetrius “Big Meech” Flenory and his brother Terry Flenory and the drug empire they built beginning in their hometown of Detroit when they were just teenagers. 

Demetrius “Lil Meech” Flenory plays his real-life father Big Meech, and Da’Vinchi plays Terry. The series also features Russell Hornsby as their father Charles; Michole Briana White as their mother Lucille; Snoop Dogg as the pastor of the church (lol and he’s hilarious); Steve Harris as the Detroit police detective hellbent on knocking them; and La La Anthony and rapper Kash Doll in supporting roles. 

Before every episode, there is a disclaimer on screen that says the series is “loosely based on the truth,” and that while some of the people and stories may be works of complete fiction, “a lot of this shit might have actually happened.”

If you are familiar with the real story of BMF, you will understand why that disclaimer is necessary. 

Whether the stories we see in the series are true or not, they are what we look forward to on a weekly basis when the series is airing. And even though we know what eventually happened to the real Meech and Terry, we still want them to win in this series. 

It’s that good. 

Listen. Yes, these shows may glamorize and glorify the life of a drug dealer. Yes, they may be utterly ridiculous and require frequent suspension of belief. Yes, they may sometimes have plot holes. 

We don’t care. 

Like our grannies and mamas and aunties before us, we need our own stories to watch. 

“General Hospital” ain’t doing it for me no more, but the 50 Cent Cinematic Universe is. 

Monique Judge is a storyteller, content creator and writer living in Los Angeles. She is a word nerd who is a fan of the Oxford comma, spends way too much time on Twitter, and has more graphic t-shirts than you. Follow her on Twitter @thejournalista or check her out at

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