50 Cent on 'Power' finale, sequels and how Ghost's fate reflects reality: 'I've been shot'
Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson became famous as a rapper, but he spends a substantial amount of time overseeing a burgeoning TV empire as a producer and actor.
In the next few days, Jackson will say goodbye to Starz's most-watched series, "Power" (Sunday, 8 EST/PST), and hello to ABC's "For Life" (Tuesday, 10 EST/PST), a new drama about an inmate turned lawyer who represents other inmates while trying to reverse his own wrongful conviction.
"Power" ends its six-season run by revealing the killer of James "Ghost" St. Patrick (Omari Hardwick), the nightclub entrepreneur and political hopeful who lived a parallel life as a drug kingpin. The final five episodes have featured the perspectives of potential Ghost assassins.
Jackson, 44, who received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last month, spoke to USA TODAY about the popularity and meaning of "Power," a planned spinoff starring Mary J. Blige and his newest project.
Producer's thoughts:50 Cent on why 'Power' hasn't won more awards: 'I'd like to say it's racial'
Question: How did you come up with the "Who Shot Ghost?" concept for the final season?
Curtis Jackson: That's was (creator Courtney Kemp's) genius. We've seen it before in "Who Shot J.R.?" (on "Dallas"), but it didn't apply to the urban community. It's different, because even just looking at the newspaper, you (are) subjected to how often that kind of stuff happens. I've been shot. It happens a lot in inner cities. So when you're using that title, it feels like you're talking about someone in the neighborhood.
Q: What is the message of "Power"?
Jackson: Each of the characters in this.series is going after their own personal power. Or what they feel is connected to it: the financial freedom, or just positioning themselves in a way where they're doing what they want, when they want, how they want. That’s a universal language.
Q: Will future "Power"spinoffs, including "Power Book II: Ghost" (due later this year) follow characters who survive Sunday's finale?
Jackson: You will see those characters. I won't necessarily say how you’ll see them. You may not see them in 'Power Book II.' You may see them in a separate show. … When "Power Book II" comes, it's 48 hours (after the "Power" finale). You'd still be dealing with the emotional feeling from the loss that the characters went through here. You lose some characters but it's the opportunity to introduce new characters (played by) Mary J. Blige, Method Man and other really good actors.
Q: Did you plan for "For Life" to start two days after "Power" ends?
Jackson: Isn't that amazing? I'd like to take credit for that. but ABC is a big machine. The timing couldn't be better. ... "For Life" couldn't be more socially relevant, considering it's about prison reform. ... It has elements of three different genres. If you like procedurals, it has those tones, but not every episode is a different case. It's got family drama, because he’s trying to get home to his family, and also the danger of the prison drama.
Q: You started a feud with "Empire" when you accused Fox's show of copying the "Power" marketing campaign in 2015. Do you have any second thoughts about your recent Instagram posts to Taraji P. Henson – "I’m sorry no one is watching your show anymore"?
Jackson: You know what? I'm a fan of Taraji. I'm going to work with her. She'll be on something that we're working on together.
Q: What can you say about other spinoffs, including "Power Book III: Raising Kanan," a planned prequel that looks at the earlier years of your character, Kanan?
Jackson: I can't disclose (much). Just timing. I got a whole lesson in before I did this interview. They uploaded me a whole bunch of stuff that I can’t say. … I created new music specifically for "Power Book III". I've been producing and writing stuff for it because it's hard to find things that feel authentic to that time period. You've got to make this stuff feel like it was produced in the '90s. I'll go get Teddy Riley and producers from that time period to help me produce things. You know what I'm saying?