‘Power’: Here’s Why Michael Jai White Turned Down the Role of Ghost

Power debuted in 2014. The New York set series followed James “Ghost” St. Patrick (Omari Hardwick), a drug kingpin looking to leave his life of crime behind to become a legitimate businessman. Before Hardwick was cast in the role, another actor, Michael Jai White, was set to portray Ghost.

Here’s the reason White turned down the role.

Omari Hardwick as James "Ghost" St. Patrick wearing a suit in 'Power
Omari Hardwick as James “Ghost” St. Patrick in ‘Power’ | Starz

Networks initially turned down ‘Power’

Courtney Kemp began writing Power to honor her late father. She eventually teamed up with her executive producer Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson to get a better understanding of the drug game and to flesh out the world around James “Ghost” St. Patrick. However, despite a solid script, no networks were initially interested when she began shopping the series.

“When we pitched Power around town, a lot of places said no because a show with Black leads at that time was very much not what people wanted to buy,” Kemp told The Hollywood Reporter. “Now people have had the opportunity to see that they can make good money on those shows. I’ve said it before, but the color that matters in Hollywood is green. And I think people look to me to provide a certain demographic of viewer. I’m very committed to, BIPOC, LGBTQIA and women.”

Here’s why Michael Jai White turned down the role of Ghost

Initially, Why Did I Get Married? actor Michael Jai White was cast in the role of Ghost, the drug dealer who was desperate to walk away from the game for a more legit life. “That’s something that I’ve heard from producers… Yeah, I’ve heard this. I don’t know how much truth there is to it,” he said in an interview with VladTV about persistent rumors. “There had been an offer — some things get offered to you, but you have to be available to do it.”

At the time Power, Season 1 began filming, White was tied to a Tyler Perry television show, and his schedule did not enable him to do both. Still, he’s thrilled with the way Power turned out. “Omari’s a friend,” he said. “Yeah, he was outstanding in that series.”

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‘Power’: 50 Cent Hated Omari Hardwick’s Idea for Ghost’s Death

Courtney Kemp wanted ‘Power’ to end after Season 6

Power was immensely popular, and fans were stunned when Starz announced it would end after six seasons. The series was so highly rated on cable that it trailed only after Game of Thrones. However, Kemp decided that it was time for the show to end and that there was no way Ghost could survive amid all of the horrible things he’d done.

“I had run out of story,” Kemp told Ad Week. “I didn’t want to continue to make a bad show. “I got inspired by the Marvel Universe. As someone who watched the X-Men cartoon as a kid, I just love the idea of creating the universe and how they did it, which was—and obviously, I copied this—taking specific characters and looking at them in new ways.”

However, Kemp didn’t close the door on Power completely; the series spawned several spinoffs, including Power Book II: Ghost, Power Book III: Raising Kanan, and Power Book IV: Force.