‘Power Book III: Raising Kanan’: Hailey Kilgore Is Proud of How She Portrays Jukebox’s Sexuality

Power Book III: Raising Kanan is set in the early ’90s in Queens, New York. The series chronicles the teen years of Kanan Stark (Mekai Curtis) and his cousin, Jukebox (Hailey Kilgrove).

Kanan’s mother Raquel “Raq” Thomas (Patina Miller), is the matriarch of the family. She runs her drug business with her brothers Lou Lou (Malcolm Mays) and Marvin (London Brown). However, while Kanan has mostly led an innocent life, Jukebox has already experienced a lot. Kilgore says she’s most proud of how she’s represented the character’s sexuality.

Hailey Kilgore as Jukebox wearing headphones and a puffy coat in 'Power Book III: Raising Kanan'
Hailey Kilgore as Jukebox in ‘Power Book III: Raising Kanan’ | Starz

Hailey Kilgore portrays Jukebox in ‘Power Book III: Raising Kanan’

Fans were first introduced to the adult Jukebox (Anika Noni Rose) in Power. She was a sinister cop who didn’t hesitate to steal or kill on a whim. She was also the only person that Kanan (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson) was afraid of. As a teen, Jukebox is much different.

However, we can see how certain events formed her into the woman she would become. “Now people can better appreciate why Jukebox became so tough as an adult because of the things she had to deal with growing up,” London Brown, who portrays Jukebox’s father Marvin, told TVLine. “Her girlfriend died, and she had a strained relationship with her father. All of these layers help us understand why these characters turned out the way they did.”

RELATED: ‘Power Book III: Raising Kanan’: Why Is Jukebox and Marvin’s Relationship so Broken?

Hailey Kilgore is proud of how she portrays Jukebox’s sexuality

We’ve always known that Jukebox was a complex character, even when we met the adult version of the character in Power. However, watching her as a teen is an entirely different level of complexity. While Kanan has been mostly shielded from the hardships of life until now, Jukebox has always dealt with turmoil.

Her mother, Kenya (LeToya Luckett), abandoned her as a baby, and she always had a tense relationship with her father, Marvin. Moreover, her first love, Nicole, was killed in season 1 after overdosing on some crack that Kanan cooked up incorrectly. Moreover, when Marvin found out about Juke’s sexuality, he physically attacked her and berated her.

We know that all of these events will shape who Jukebox will become. However, Kilgore says she’s proud of how she’s been able to portray the character.

“Sascha [Penn, creator of Raising Kanan] and I had a lot of conversations about how to portray Jukebox’s sexuality,” Kilgore told Essence. “I think that we are so fortunate to live in a time when people can be so loud and proud and live their truth. We have to remember that in ’91, you didn’t let anybody know – not your parents, not your friends, nobody.”

She added, “It’s been really moving to hear from a lot of people that were teenagers during that time and had trouble coming out to their families, or did and got kicked out. I hope somebody was able to connect with [Jukebox’s story].”

Jukebox could know some unsettling family secrets on ‘Power Book III: Raising Kanan’

Since Jukebox has had to grow up so fast, there is a possibility that she knows some family secrets that her aunt, father, and Uncle Lou Lou may not want to bubble up to the surface. We wonder if she’s known that Def Con is not Kanan’s father all along. Moreover, she also might know that Raq had her father set up and sent to prison so that she could take over the family drug organization.

Only time will tell what truly happened to Jukebox.

RELATED: ‘Power Book III: Raising Kanan’: Will the Show Crossover With ‘Power Book II: Ghost’?