A little over a week following the crazy series finale, we’ve still got Power on our minds—and all of the spinoffs that will follow. In what was arguably one of the biggest shows in television history, Omari Hardwick came into our homes week after week, as the infamous drug dealer turned night club owner Ghost on the hit television series. So we can collectively agree that we’re all sad to see him go.
But as an actor who’s starred in movies and TV shows, including For Colored Girls, Sparkle and Being Mary Jane, it couldn’t have been easy to portray a character that’s become a defining role.
“The thing that made it difficult to play it [Ghost]—was not being seen, which was weird for me,” Hardwick told ESSENCE last week in Chicago while serving up delicious cocktails at the fourth and final leg of the BACARDÍ Rum Room series. “Because I had always been seen in life. But now I’m excited people are finally seeing the guy behind the guy.”
Hardwick added that Ghost or James St. Patrick, created by Courtney Kemp “was so big—but I knew Omari was bigger. “
“The hardest part is, now, with this generation, perception is reality. And perception being reality is not necessarily coming from the character behind the character, until you get to know the character behind the character,” he added, explaining that he didn’t want fans to confuse him with his gun-totting character.
Those only familiar with Hardwick’s role in Power, which came to an end earlier this month, may not know that poetry was his first love. Inside the BACARDÍ Rum Room, held in honor of NBA All-Star weekend, Hardwick closed the night out with an emotional spoken word performance of a poem he wrote to commemorate the late NBA legend, Kobe Bryant. Additionally, the immersive rum experience paid homage to the former NBA All-Star by allowing guests to harness their inner poet and share what moves them through a #PoemforMamba installation.
Still, is this a sign Hardwick will be returning to the mic from now on?
“I never really left it,” Hardwick said. “A writer never stops writing.” In fact, in order to connect with some of his iconic characters, the actor said he often use the art of poetry to delve deeper than what’s written in the script.
“I’ve never played a character on a project that didn’t start out with me writing about the character in a poetic way,” he explained of his process. “There was never a moment where that first call of ‘action’ from my character on set was without me prior—weeks before or months before—really getting deep into the character by writing a poem. ”
Once the spoken word performance concluded, Chicago natives Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa, made surprise appearances, with Chance even grabbing the mic to show respect to his dear friend, Hardwick.
With the evening full of reverence for a basketball player gone too soon, Hardwick reflected on his own legacy. “I knew really early that I had a particular call in my life. I knew I was gifted. I definitely could tell I was uniquely gifted,” he began. “I think when I’m gone I would love for people to say he just connected all of us—that he tried his hardest to make the world as small as possible on the time that he was on this Earth.”