If you don’t already know the name Hailey Kilgore, you’re going to be more than familiar by the end of the summer. The 22-year-old is already a Tony Award-nominated actress for her performance as Ti Moune in the Broadway revival of Once on This Island in 2018. Now she’s moving from the stage to Starz and the silver screen with roles in the new crime drama Power Book III: Raising Kanan and the Aretha Franklin biopic Respect.
“I’m so excited for people to meet Jukebox and grow with her,” Kilgore says of her character in the second Power sequel. “I’m just excited for young women to see that you can work hard and it’s okay to maybe not have things completely figured out in the moment. You gotta learn and you gotta grow.”
Kilgore’s character Jukebox is typically the lone girl among her cousin Kanan and his group of friends. Focused more on music than getting into trouble, she’s also going through a process of self-discovery as it pertains to her sexuality. Anika Noni Rose portrayed the adult version of Jukebox seen in the original Power series and Executive Producer Courtney Kemp had no doubts about Kilgore’s ability to meet audience’s expectations for the younger iteration of the character.
“Hailey is beautiful, brilliant, incredibly talented, and just, in this part, the only word I can think of is spellbinding to watch because I just lose myself in her performance,” Kemp says.
The feeling is mutual among Kilgore’s castmates, specifically Malcolm Mays who plays Lou-Lou in Raising Kanan, and called Kilgore a “star” when we chatted with the cast during ESSENCE Festival.
Check out our full interview with Kilgore, Mays, and London Brown, who plays Marvin Thomas in the series, in the video above.