The 2021 ESSENCE Festival of Culture’s Entertainment All Access Experience featured a virtual discussion with the cast of Power Book III: Raising Kanan. Moderated by ESSENCE Senior Entertainment Editor Brande Victorian, the panel unpacked the backstory behind 50 Cent’s character Kanan, as well as his family dynamic and the experiences that shaped him into the man he would ultimately become.
The Power prequel is set in Jamaica, Queens, NY, during the years following the city’s crack epidemic. Starring Mekai Curtis as a teenaged Kanan, the popular STARZ series’ third installment also showcases a stellar cast. Patina Miller, London Brown, Malcolm Mays, and Hailey Kilgore all bring a special blend of creative skillset to their respective roles. Although branded as a crime drama, Power Book III focuses more on the family structure and how similar we all are regardless of social class.
The struggle between Kanan and his mother, Raquel, drives the show’s plot. Born into a life of crime, Raquel’s (Patina Miller) aim is to keep her child away from the drug business. During the discussion, the cast members spoke about how they went about approaching their specific roles. Malcolm Mays and Hailey Kilgore (who appears as ‘Jukebox’) stated that they used the similarities between themselves and the characters in order to strengthen their portrayals. Drawing from personal experiences makes the representation authentic – thus being more believable to the viewing public.
The highly anticipated Power Book III: Raising Kanan debuts July 18 on the STARZ network. Check out the full discussion with the cast in the video above.