How Courtney A. Kemp Created ‘Power’


The STARZ series Power  is an action-packed, character-driven hit. Creator Courtney A. Kemp describes how the show came to life. Don’t miss the season premiere this Sunday at 9pm on STARZ.

Ghost and Kanan—once friends, now embattled enemies—are entangled, fighting in the middle of a dilapidated building in New York City. Ghost manages to break away and picks up a piece of broken glass off the ground. He shanks Kanan in the side. As Kanan falls to the floor, Ghost sets the building on fire. Just before the episode ends, sprinklers go off, putting the flames out. We know this isn’t the last we’ll see of Kanan.

Season 3 of STARZ’s hit series Power picks up only a few days after the epic battle between Ghost (Omari Hardwick) and Kanan (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson). Ghost is on a new path, moving away from his life of crime, and he’s attempting to embark on a new journey with his mistress Angela Valdes (Lela Loren). But of course, it won’t be that easy. Especially since Tommy (Joseph Sikora), Ghost’s right-hand man, is no longer by his side.

“Part of the higher stakes is that Tommy and Ghost aren’t together,” Powercreator Courtney A. Kemp says of Season 3. “They’re each more vulnerable and more exposed without the other one. Great partnerships thrive because the people need each other. So because the two men aren’t together, it really does change the stakes, they really become much more vulnerable.”

Kemp created Power two years ago. “The impetus for ‘Power’ was me writing about my dad, who was an advertising executive and very interested in image,” Kemp says. “He thought that perception was reality and what people thought of you was what was real about you. He died in 2011, and I was really interested in writing about him.”

Executive Producers Mark Canton and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson were looking to develop a music-driven television show, and thought Kemp’s ideas would be a perfect fit. Thus, Power was born.

“I find the misogyny and sort of traditional male/female roles that come up when you look at these communities really interesting,” Kemp says of her research process when creating the show. “Some of that was new for me. It’s not surprising, but I learned to really respect how many people perceive that this way of life is the only way out of the ‘hood.”

The show has evolved dramatically over the last two seasons, as have the characters. “The relationships deepen,” Kemp says. “They continue to become more and more complicated. I think television is about the characters you want to see again, and so you want to invite these people into your home. And certainly seeing them get into bad situations and then watching them have to get themselves out, that’s always super satisfying.”

Kemp always makes it a point to make sure every character in a scene is relatable. “I don’t write scenes where one person is right and one person is wrong,” she explains. “It’s very much by design that everyone has a point of view that you as an audience member can understand.”

Many of the characters’ storylines in Season 3 will surprise viewers, particularly with Tommy and Holly. “Tommy goes through a huge transformation,” Kemp says. “He goes from being very dependent on Ghost, to really kind of coming into his own as a man.” His relationship with Holly also becomes a focal point of this season. “There are some elements of the Holly/Tommy love story that will be really surprising to people.” Furthermore, supporting characters, like Ghost’s son Tariq, will have more of a story arc this season.

But the thing that will shock viewers the most, according to Kemp, is “who we kill and how.” Season 3 is supposed to be the most violent season yet. “Super violent,” Kemp says. “But in a great way that everyone will enjoy, I promise!”

Watch the Season 3 trailer below:


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