‘Power Book III: Raising Kanan’: Patina Miller Explained Why Raq Is More Than Just a ‘Single Mom’

Power Book III: Raising Kanan is the coming-of-age story of Kanan Stark, the villainous drug dealer portrayed by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson in the original Power. In Raising Kanan, 15-year-old Kanan (Mekai Curtis), stands in the spotlight. We watch as he navigates his teen years in the ’90s in Queens while trying to convince his drug queenpin mother, Raquel “Raq” Thomas (Patina Miller), to teach him about the drug game.

While this is a coming-of-age story, it’s also a mother/son drama. However, it was important to Miller that Raq was more than just a single mom.

Patina Miller as Raq Thomas, London Brown as Marvin and Malcolm Mays and Lou Lou sitting in a diner booth in 'Power Book III: Raising Kanan'
Patina Miller as Raq Thomas, London Brown as Marvin and Malcolm Mays and Lou Lou in ‘Power Book IIII: Raising Kanan’ | Starz

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Patina Miller’s character Raq in ‘Power Book III: Raising Kanan’ is based on 50 Cent’s mother

Raising Kanan is loosely based on 50 Cent’s real-life and as a result, Miller’s character Raq is based on the rapper’s late mother, Sabrina who died in a fire when he was just eight. Like Raq, the Queen-born rapper’s mother was a single mom who sold drugs to make a living.

Miller said she also pulled inspiration from her own mother. “You know, what I love about this character is that she’s a bit of my mom,” Miller told the New York Daily News of her mother, who was a single teen mom in the South. “She’s a bit of a lot of people’s moms… It’s a story about a single Black female making the s–t work. And she just happens to be in the crime business. It’s a mother-son tale. It’s about that unbreakable bond that love between these two people. And I think that’s the story that we’re telling. Yes, it’s a crime drama, but it is a family drama as well.”

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Raq is more than just a single mom on ‘Power Book III: Raising Kanan’

When it came to Raq, Power creator Courtney Kemp wanted to share an authentic story about a single mother. “Even though Kanan is the titular character, the phrase ‘Raising Kanan’ is about someone rearing him and that’s this person,” the Power universe co-creator told TV Line. “There’s really something great there. I’m a single mom and I’m always trying to write and talk about that. What is it like to be a Black single mom? What does that mean?”

For Miller, it meant that Raq got to be more than just a mother. She’s also a CEO, a sister, and a lover. “Raq is so three-dimensional. She is a hard woman, but she’s also loving and vulnerable,” she explained. “She’s a business woman who goes nonstop like a boss. She also goes out on dates, because she is a woman who wants to flirt too and she’s a mom. All of those things jumped off the page and made me excited. I am incredibly humbled and so blessed that I got the opportunity to flex all of these muscles and put all of the life drama I could into Raq.”

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‘Power Book III: Raising Kanan’ star Patina Miller reveals why Raq isn’t afraid of anyone

We know that Raq has been around the drug business since she was a teen and she dated that man Kanan knew as his father, Def Con. However, she became a queenpin in her own right around 1985 when she was dating a dealer named, High Post. After High Post’s death, she and her brothers took over his empire, much to rival dealer Unique’s (Joey Bada$$) disgust.

It’s clear, however, that Raq has never been afraid of anything, which is why she thrives in the volatile male-dominated industry.

“You really get to see what power means to Raquel… She’s thinking about her legacy, she’s thinking about how to finesse all the men, and she’s not afraid of anyone,” Miller told Digital Spy. “I think there is nothing that this woman [Raq] has not seen. They live in Southside, Jamaica, Queens, you know what I mean? There is nothing that she hasn’t seen before. She ran with a really crazy crew and so she’s seen a lot of things and she knows how to assert herself, but she tries to withhold the violence of it all, because she’s a thinker.”