‘Power Book II: Ghost’: Mary J. Blige Wasn’t Always Secure With Her Acting Abilities

Power Book II: Ghost opens directly after the events of Power. Though the narrative centers Tariq St. Patrick (Michael Rainey Jr.), the son of late drug kingpin James “Ghost” St. Patrick (Omari Hardwick), the series also introduces a brand new cast of characters. One of those characters is Monet Tejada. Portrayed by legendary singer, Mary J. Blige, Monet is a force to be reckoned with.

A drug queenpin who runs her family’s organization now that her husband Lorenzo (Beto Colon) is in prison, Monet reluctantly invites Tariq into her inner circle while keeping a close watch on her three children, Cane (Woody McClain), Diana (LaToya Tonodeo), and Drew (Lovell Adams-Gray).

Though Blige has effortlessly stepped into the blackhearted queenpin’s high-heeled boots she wasn’t all that confident with her acting at first.

Mary J. Blige as Monet Tejada smirking wearing big gold hoop earrings in 'Power Book II: Ghost'
Mary J. Blige as Monet Tejada in ‘Power Book II: Ghost’ | Starz

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Mary J. Blige says Monet Tejada in ‘Power Book II: Ghost” is based on her mother

While Blige is known for her soulful singing and her work in films like Mudbound and on shows like The Umbrella Academy, understanding Monet wasn’t as challenging for her as one might expect. In fact, she was inspired by her upbringing in a Yonkers housing project and by her mother when it came to embodying Monet.

“Everyone woman I know is a Monet, a hustler, my mum’s a hustler, a single-parent mum raising all of her children by herself in a hood, male-dominated,” she told Deadline via Express. “You know she made sure her kids had and she had so these women I know right now, they’re in my life right now, they’re my friends today. So I was completely inspired by everything I grew up around and it was easy to find that real character, to make this character come to life.”

Still, though Blige understood the role she was terrified to act in Power Book II: Ghost.

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Mary J. Blige was terrified to act in ‘Power Book II: Ghost’

Blige had appeared in 2009’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself and she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award in Mudbound. However, when the role of Monet came around in Power Book II: Ghost, she was not so confident in her abilities to step into the role.

“I was not always super secure with my acting ability,” she told InStyle. Blige added that no being in front of a live audience was quite the adjustment. “There’s nobody clapping, nobody screaming, just a cold camera,” she says. “So I had to keep pushing, pushing, pushing.” She smiles. “But by the time I got to the end of Season 1, I was like, ‘Monet — boom.’ 

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Mary J. Blige revealed why Monet Tejada never has blonde hair in ‘Power Book II: Ghost’

In addition to the inspiration that Blige got for Monet from her mother and her childhood surroundings, she also had a lot of input on Monet’s look and appearance. Choosing red hair for her character was a vital choice for Blige. “Instead of giving her a bang and covering her face, I want people to see her expressions — like, ‘I’m not hiding, don’t fuck … excuse me, don’t play with me,’” she told InStyle. “And the red is a sign of fire.” She tucks a honey-colored strand behind her ear. “I didn’t want blond hair, because that’s my s—.”