When “Power” debuted on Starz in 2014, none of us could have imagined things would’ve ended the way they did. Ghost is dead, Tasha is in jail for his murder, and many of the other characters that we have grown to know and love are also deceased. And yet, showrunner Courtney Kemp Agboh has plenty more up her sleeve.
Her latest brainchild, “Power Book II: Ghost,” is slated to premiere September 6. And though diehard “Power” fans have already experienced a gamut of emotions over the last six years, from the looks of it, the emotional rollercoaster is far from over. Fans won’t be the only ones adjusting, however, the cast also had to become accustomed to the new normal.
“I started this journey with my big brother, Omari Hardwick, who played my husband, but we’re friends outside of the show. So it was different, of course, having Omari as ‘Ghost’ was a staple for Tasha,” Naturi Naughton told MadameNoire. “Even the drama, even when he was cheating and doing me dirty, it was still a huge part of what Tasha’s existence was all about.
“I miss him and his energy and I do miss that kind of connection between husband and wife. They were a strange husband and wife, but also he’s the father of my children on the show too. So, there’s definitely gonna be a loss and an absence there. And also La La, who played Kisha, who I killed. I killed her. It had to happen, though. She was about to run her mouth. But that is definitely an adjustment this year. Not having her around. She plays Tasha’s best friend but also having her friendship around. Then, there’s Tommy. I wouldn’t say he’s gone, I’ll just say wait, just say, wait for it.”
Speaking of drastic changes, Naughton’s real-life also looks very different than it did when she first signed on to star in the crime drama. After filming for season four wrapped, the New Jersey native welcomed her first daughter, Zuri, and ended the long-term relationship she shared with her daughter’s father.
“I became a mother while shooting season four of the show. I had a baby and then came back eight weeks after having a C-section. I was back on set for season five,” Naughton recalled. “So just imagine all the pressure of trying to lose the baby weight and I was breastfeeding during season five and I was just trying to not be engorged. I mean not to be too technical here but it’s a lot, as you know. Being a working mom is like, I think there should be an award for all working moms out there who continue to hold down the fort at home.”
“I’m not really working right now because my production has been shut down. So it’s actually been great to focus on just being her mommy these past few months because production shut down in March because of COVID,” the actress shared. “But honestly, this time has been amazing because I got her potty trained. I was able to do a Moana birthday party for her. She just turned three and I’m able to be here and be a part of it in a really focused way. Not saying I’m not here, but it’s definitely different when I have to be on set 12 hours out of the day, the nannies, trying to get Zuri to set or me trying to get home during my lunch break to see her before nap time. It is hard work and even doing these calls and press, it’s hard work I have to manage or make sure as a working mom that there’s a healthy balance because my toddler, my baby, needs me.”
Naturi’s journey over the last few years had its share of obstacles, but she’s a better woman, mother, and partner as a result.
“I also now have my own relationship. It’s so many different stages that I feel like I’ve been through in her three years. Now, I feel more confident as a mother. The first couple of years were like, ‘Oh my gosh, how am I gonna do all this and be Tasha and be mommy and now being a girlfriend? So it, it’s a lot but I definitely would say for me the biggest thing is making sure I schedule, prioritize, and ask for help when I need it,” Naughton said. “I think I can try to do it all but it is impossible to do it all and it’s okay for your child to see you working hard for their future and I think that’s the biggest thing. I do it all for her.”
As for her relationship with her ex, both parties are doing all that they can to sustain a positive, emotionally healthy co-parenting relationship that Zuri can be proud of. One of the ways that they protect Zuri from the trauma that is sometimes associated with divorced or separated parents is by participating in co-parent counseling.
“A lot of people may know now, I’ve done an Essence article about being a single mom and not being with her dad and just trying to co-parent and make sure that I maintain a healthy relationship in that way for her being a little Back girl. Ensuring that she still has a positive relationship with her father even though we’re not together,” said Naughton. “The reason why I think counseling even though you’re not a couple anymore, we call it co-parenting counseling, is important is because there are gonna be residual feelings and effects sometimes when the relationship doesn’t work out or you know it just doesn’t go well for the couple. However, there’s a child in the middle of that. So the counseling just helps to kind of set aside any of those emotions that come from the negative relationship feelings.”
In addition to providing parents with the tools to navigate emotionally complex situations, counseling also creates positive optics for the child.
“I think it’s important for the child to see you working together. The counselor assigns different activities that we have to do family and different things that we have to work on for the benefit of our child,” Naughton added. “So I think having counseling be at the center of the keeps a mediator who is able to keep things fair and also to keep things focused on the child and not you because if you make it about you, that’s not healthy for the child that, that’s why it’s helpful and important.”
‘Power Book II: Ghost” premieres on Starz Sunday, September 6.