Michael Rainey Jr. Talks About Tariq's Journey and Previews Power Book II: Ghost

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Power never ends. 

After the winter finale of the hit series, Power, we were promised more chapters of the acclaimed series, and the first one has arrived.

Michael Rainey Jr. reprises his role as Tariq St. Patrick and heads a star-studded cast, who continue to tell the stories from the original and start some new ones as well. 

Tariq Questioned - Power Season 6 Episode 14

We got a chance to talk to the seasoned star, who was kind enough to give us a little preview into this new world. 

TVF: Okay. So we at TV Fanatic we're super excited for more Power. I think you know better than anyone just how popular the original series was and how connected the fans felt. So first off, did you really feel that connection that the fans had to your character, in particular, Tariq?

Oh, yeah, for sure. It was insane. From season three, the difference from the fans' reactions was insane, from season three to season four or five and six, it was crazy. Everywhere I went, people was like, "Yo, why did you let your sister die, yo?" It's just like, everywhere I go, people, they giving me stuff about Tariq.

So, it's like, I definitely feel the connection for sure. It's dope. It's dope. I mean, some of it could be too much, because some people just be walling out, but honestly, I just look at it all, like, all right, they look at the show day, they pay attention to the show, they pay attention to my character.

Talking It Out - Power Season 6 Episode 13

So I can't really be mad at that. I do it for them to watch. So it's cool.

TVF: Yeah, I actually just started doing a rewatch, and upon second viewing, I started to see Tariq, in particular, with fresh eyes and not so much in the moment when I originally watched. So do you feel like Tariq was misunderstood in a lot of ways in the original series?

Yeah, he was definitely misunderstood, but I feel like a lot of the reasons to why he did certain things was kind of obvious as well, like dad leaving the family, Raina dying, and that obviously affected him. So it was just like a lot of things affected him, and I feel like a lot of people didn't really notice it.

So this, it gives them a chance to see the reason of why Tariq acted how he acted and why he is such a crazy little kid.

Tariq Looks On - Power Season 6 Episode 9

But I feel like now though, it gives Tariq a chance to also redeem himself as well, because now he has decisions to make, he has responsibilities as a young man. He's forced to really be a grown man. He has to go to school, get good grades, and he has to be in the streets trying to make money from mom's lawyer.

And then he has to take care of his grandmother and his little sister, Yasmine as well.

So, he has a whole lot of decisions to make. And once you make a good decision and you make the right decision, it's going to be hard for people to not respect that. They can't really hate you for making the right decision. So I feel like he has some chances to redeem himself, and that's what I'm mostly excited for people to see.

Well, not mostly excited, but I'm definitely excited for people to see those moments.

Father & Son - Power Season 6 Episode 1

TVF: Which that kind of leads into my next question, which was how excited were you when you found out that you're going to be getting the spinoff and you get to continue to tell Tariq's story?

Well, when I first was told I was getting a spinoff, I thought it was a joke. 50 told me. He came to set, out of nowhere, he just came to the set, and he was like, "Yo, you know, you're about to be the leader of your own show soon." He took me to the side. He was like, "Yo, you're about to be the leader of your own show soon," like, "Get ready."

I'm like, "Whatever, bro," like, "What are you talking about?" Like, "We're not even done filming season six," like, "What are you talking about?" So I was like, "Get out of here." And then, two weeks after that, Courtney Kemp had told me, so once she told me that's when it hit me. I was like, "All right. It's real then."

But I was definitely excited. I was a little nervous, had a little pressure on me, but the first week of filming, honestly, everything was gone, like all pressure and nervousness, it was all gone because I seen some of the old faces from the original show.

A Meeting With Tariq - Power Season 6 Episode 14

And then even the new faces, they just made it easy for me to get used to having a new position in the show, having a higher position in the show. So they definitely made it a lot easier for me to get used to being the new quarterback, you know?

TVF: Yeah, and speaking of the cast, there's some really heavyweight people around you. So what was it like working with Mary J. Blige, Method Man?

I mean, working with them is dope. It's amazing because they're legends. You just walk into the room, you just automatically just feel that star power. They just speak, and it's just like, "Whoa." It's just like it hits your chest. You know? It's amazing, especially working with Method Man because we're from the same island.

We're from Staten Island in New York. And we're slept on. Staten Island, we don't get the respect we need, so me and him working together, it's like we're representing for Staten Island, you know? I feel like putting it on for Staten Island.

So it's dope working with him. And also with Mary too. She's amazing because when I first met her, she was super excited to see me, and I was not expecting that at all.

I'm like, "Who am I? Why are you so happy to see me?" You know? It was crazy. So meeting her, it was dope, especially now working with her. She's dope. She's amazing. She always makes me feel good about my craft.

She's always motivating me, just like Method Man. They both are just, they're super supportive to the younger new people around them. So I appreciate them all for that.

TVF: So how would you describe Power Book Two goes to the fans? Like if you just had to explain what it's about, what would you say?

Father and Son Beef - Power Season 5 Episode 9

Well, it's about Tariq basically turning into a new man. He's kind of turning into Ghost 2.0 in a way. I mean, it's a new world. It's the same type of grittiness from Power, the same realness, same New York feel to it, but now it's like a more youthful feel to it.

It's a different energy. I'm in school now, so I'm around kids my age, and they get to see Tariq be a kid.

It's not just Tariq being that Tariq from Power. Now it's a new Tariq. It's the actual child, the youth in him is coming out now.

TVF: Yeah, and that was another question I had, which was, I think people forget that Tariq's a teenager. So we don't really get to see that side. So will we get to see you kind of just navigating being a college student on top of everything else you've got going on?

Tariq on Campus - Power Season 5 Episode 6

Yes. That's the thing that I'm most excited about, just people being able to see Tariq be a kid, like now he has to do work, he has to wake up early, he has to go to class and stuff like that, and he's getting used to it. So it's just like they get to see the progress of him changing now.

TVF: That's great. And I just had one final question, honestly. Just how do you feel about the entire journey of Tariq through the series and up to where he is now? What would you say about that, just in terms of what his journey's been like?

Man, Tariq has been through a whole lot, a whole lot. I didn't even mention this in the previous interviews is, one of his closest friends, Sean, he died. I forgot about that. His sister dying, dad leaving the family for Angela. So I feel like Tariq, he felt very alone. He felt very alone during his progress in the show.

As he was getting older, he was kind of getting used to being alone and really just, "You know what? I'm going to just do this for myself." And that's the type of mindset he had. So growing, it wasn't really easy for Tariq. It's not easy at all.

Looking At Ghost - Power Season 6 Episode 11

It's kind of harder for him now, but now he has the time to really settle down for himself and really think what he wants to do as far as his legacy goes, you know?

TVF: Yeah. Yeah, well, we're really excited to see it. And thank you for talking with me today. Enjoy the rest of your day.

You, as well. Thank you.

TVF: Thank you.

Power Book II: Ghost premieres on Starz September 6th, 2020. And we'll be covering the series for you here at TV Fanatic!

Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Power Book II: Ghost Quotes

Carrie: You just got here. Why are you in such a hurry to leave?
Tariq: I have to help my grandmother with my baby sister. I have to help my family.

Simon: Why, Tariq, I had almost given up hope. Is your watch stopped?
Ida: Young African-Americans have a responsibility to be prompt, young man. We must subvert expectations whenever possible.
Tariq: Yes, ma'am. I apologize. I had a family emergency.
Simon: Yeah, well I guess you have thee family emergency these days, don't you? He really is remarkably resilient, wouldn't you say, Ida?