Part 2- After the Show: Catching Up with “Power” Creator Courtney Kemp Agboh

*SPOILER ALERT*  *SPOILER ALERT*  *SPOILER ALERT*  *SPOILER ALERT* For Part 1 of the interview with Courtney Kemp Agboh, click HERE 

Part 2 is below.


DLD: My next question is weird: who is James St. Patrick? And I ask that because I’ve watched 2 seasons of this show, each episode 3-4x and all I’m absolutely sure of is he loves his kids and he wants to go legit. I can’t trust what he says or what he does.

Agboh: LOL!


DLD: You’re laughing, but as a viewer I’m like, “What is this man thinking?!” Who is he at the core, other than a man chasing the American Dream?

Agboh: He’s the black man in America! He is trying to make a way out of no way. and every time he tries to make a way out of no way, he has to shift his hustle a little bit because people are coming at him in a different way.

The truth is that he is a little bit of a fiction, a little bit of a figment of Ghost’s imagination. James ST. Patrick is who young Jamie wanted to be when he grew up so he’s performing an identity. Ghost is always performing. He wants to be “Breaking Good”. I really set out to write that.


DLD: In the penultimate episode of this season, Ghost has this primal scream when he sends Shawn on his way. I saw the memes about he scream, there was so much discussion about that scream. What was that exactly? It’s a sound, but it says so much.

Agboh: That’s a great question for Omari. It just erupted naturally from Omari in scene. There was so much rage and so much frustration from Ghost with Shawn, like don’t be THIS. I invested in you and I don’t want you to be this. Ghost feels like he failed in that moment.


DLD: Was there in-fighting in the writer’s room about Shawn being killed? I think when a series regular goes, it’s a hard decision. It was the natural conclusion for his story arc but still.. ugh! Was there a fight for him to stay?

Agboh: That character actually dies in the original outline for the pilot. No one in the writer’s room thought he would go that long. Sinqua Walls, the actor that plays Shawn, is so interesting that we decided to keep writing for the character. But in the writer’s room, there was no fight because it wasn’t a new decision.

In the original script for the pilot, Shawn was Ghost’s illegitimate son from a relationship prior to Tasha , but Tasha did not know that, so when she masturbates in front of Shawn we the audience would have found out later that she had no idea that Shawn was actually her stepson. We didn’t end up telling that story. But he always died. We said to Sinqa, you earned your way to 17 episodes. 



DLD: Dre is an equally confusing character as Ghost. I hate to make other TV show comparisons, but I see him as the “Marlo” to “Avon” and “Stringer”. He’s the next generation, a colder, harder, worse version of the one that came before him. I can’t read him. He says one thing and does another. What is he up to? He wants to be Ghost? 

Agboh: Here’s the arc. Dre wants to serve Kanan because Kanan saved his life in jail. And then over time working for Kanan, he realizes this MF is f---ed up. Ok. When Kanan kills Shawn, that’s Dre’s last moment. Dre was fighting for supremacy over Shawn throughout the season, then he sees that you get that number one spot, and what do you get? Dead. He understands what Kanan has been saying: Ghost stabbed me in the back; Ghost put me in jail, all of which is true. But Dre has perspective at the end of the season, like, I know why that n---a did that… because you’re crazy. You’re a bad dad, and a bad boss. I’m outta here. 



DLD: Do you have a favorite scene from the show?

Agboh: Episode 107, Ghost kills Rolla. It’s the whole show in one scene. Ghost is thinking, I want to be good, I’d like to be good. I love this kid, I don’t want to do it. What he is saying is making sense. My frontal lobe is clicking with what he’s saying, but I can’t trust it. I have to be bad.


DLD: Do you have a favorite character? Based on what you said earlier, I’m guessing it’s Tasha?

Agboh: I do. But I can’t tell you who it is.


DLD: A mystery!

Agboh:I try not to have favorites, but there is a character that expresses more of my inner monologue than any other character. That’s what I’ll say. There’s one character that’s more like me.

Power 2014

DLD: Was it intentional to have viewers lose love for Angie? I know in the beginning I was rooting for her. As an engaged— at that time— woman, I was like yeah, I know he’s married, but I was rooting for him to be with his mistress. My circle is professional women, and I think some people feel there’s a disconnect in how Angie can be so smart at work, and so stupid about love. I get why Ghost sticks by her, but not always why she sticks by him. 

Agboh: In episode 102, Paz says to Angela, “you think about love like you’re a little girl, it’s not rainbows and butterflies”.. She’s standing in the dining room at her apartment and she smooths her sister’s hair and she talks to her about how Greg is a good guy. And Angela is “yeah, but…” because she wants this fairytale. If you go back and watch that scene, I think it will explain everything.

There’s definitely a polarizing effect that character has and people either love her or hate her. I feel so strongly that her behavior is real. We’ve all been with that man. He’s terrible. He sucks. You should walk away. Why aren’t you walking away?! You can’t.

Sometimes the actors will ask me, well, do I have to do this sex scene and I’m like, “yes!” Part of what keeps you hooked is the stuff that is released in your body when you have really great sex with someone. It’s a drug that you get hooked on. We joke around about getting hooked on that dick but that’s actually a really thing!


DLD: Dickmatized is real! 

Agboh: Pussy-whupped is real! People don’t think that it actually happens.


DLD: I think the visceral reaction some women have toward Angie is they want her to make the decision that they couldn’t make when they were in that situation, they continuing to engage with him. You kind of want this character that you were to make the decision that you could not or would not when you were dating the guy that you should have walked out on early on, but didn’t. 

Agboh: I say for those people: wait for season 3. At some point, he is going to do something that she can not forgive.


DLD: Can you give us hints as to what’s coming in season 3? 

That’s a pretty big hint. She cannot forgive him. He doesn’t do it ‘til the end of the season.



After the Show: Catching Up with "Power" Creator Courtney Kemp Agboh

  "Power" creator Courtney Kemp Agboh

You know how much I love "Power"! So you can only imagine how happy I was when the show's creator, head writer, and show runner, Courtney Kemp Agboh, agreed to an interview for ABIB.  I liked her before our chat (in the same way that I like David Simon from The Wire)  because she's created a show that I obsess over. But post-interview? I'm officially in love! In addition to being all things awesome, Agboh is a former magazine girl (just like me) turned Hollywood powerhouse (um, not me... yet).

I caught up with Agboh via phone as she was sitting in the dark in her LA office, finalizing a script for a Season 3 episode of "Power". (Hint: two characters pull guns on each other... again.) For 45 minutes we talked all things "Power", from Black women harping on Tasha's complexion, to Omari free-styling Jamie's primal scream, to Shawn's 17 extra lives— and much more.

Check out Part 1 of my interview with Agboh below!

ABIB: Where did the idea of “Power” come from? I read it was two shows kind of rolled into one?

Agboh: Mark Caton and 50 Cent had an idea for a fast paced music series. I was putting together a show about my dad. He died in 2011 and I was trying to work my way through that loss. My dad was not a drug dealer, but he was a self-made man, who was very invested in looks, and in perception being reality. Many of the building blocks for creating Ghost are based on those traits. Also, my favorite book, or one of them, is The Great Gatsby, so that figures into the show as well.


ABIB:  I can totally see that. The “fake it til you make it” idea?

Agboh: That and the woman who got away that he couldn’t have, and when she comes back, only showing her the one side of him. All those things


Agboh with "Power" Executive Producer Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson

ABIB:  How much input does Fiddy have on the show?

Agboh: Lots! We talk about everything. We have long phone conversations. He reads everything, but he doesn’t write, per se. But he is a writer. All rappers are poets. A lot of times we’ll be on the phone and I will literally write down exactly what he says and put it in the show.


ABIB:  I know that you write most of the show, in addition to being the head writer and the creator and the show runner, but some of the reads on the show…. in the finale Tommy says to Ghost, “No matter how much your suits cost or how many clubs you ever own, you just a ghetto ass corner boy from around the way with a drunk for a daddy and no mama. You ain’t changed at all.” I’m like, Oh God. Pause the show. Is that all you or is that the collection of writers? 

Agboh: I’m a very angry person. Just because I didn’t grow up with guns, doesn’t mean I don’t secretly go off in my head occasionally. As a writer, you get to have characters express things that you wouldn’t say out loud, you know? I’m wearing a pencil skirt and a little cardigan while we’re talking, but I just wrote a scene where one character pulls a gun on another. It’s part of the imagination, and that’s how I talk in my head.


ABIB:  I love it! I wonder what you thought about the show’s comparisons to Empire? Fiddy was very vocal about it. Are you flattered to be compared to the other show or is it unfair because they’re comparing two shows just because they’re Black and they’re really not very much alike?

Agboh: It’s tiresome and bordering on racist. Nobody compares “Breaking Bad” and “Nashville”. No one says Dynasty was the same as Hill St. Blues. Those shows are so different. So many people approach me and ask me, ‘what do you think about Empire?’ I told 50 a while ago: "show runners do not make diss records. We don’t beef publicly. It doesn’t work that way." It’s just a show and we’re another show. I have much respect for Ilene Chaiken who is the showrunner over there. No one ever talks about her. I have respect for the actors. I think it’s an obnoxious comparison. I guess people have to make it and have to cover it but our show premiered a season prior [to Empire], so it’s at little like, “huh?”


ABIB:  We hear a lot of talk about he disadvantages of being a Black woman in Hollywood, what are the advantages? 

Agboh: The advantage is that people still think I’m a unicorn. So sometimes I get to have these experiences that other people don’t get to have. I get to mentor young Black women. I get to chose who I hire behind the camera. I get to say unpopular stuff out loud and have a platform. I get to say my truth.




ABIB:  I know you’re very active on Twitter, but I’m not sure how closely you follow the TV recaps and blogs about the show. Has there been anything that audience latches on to and you’re just like “really, people?” 

Agboh: My number one bugaboo is Black women that say Ghost is somehow dissing Black women by being with Angela. I’ve never told anyone else this, I’ll give you an exclusive. We were doing testing for the show, and when you do tests, you also do quadrants of people. There were a number of people who wrote when they first saw the pilot and said Ghost wouldn’t have been with a woman as dark as Tasha.


ABIB:  Wow. 

Agboh: And do you know who those people were?


ABIB:  Black women. 

Agboh: Black women! Why the hell do we hate ourselves so much that we would think that? Its’ so amazing what we do to each other, that we’ve internalized that much hate, and carry it around in ourselves. Ghost isn’t trading up with Angela. That’s his first love. That’s the one thing that I’m like, “Ugghhh! you’re missing something!”

The other thing is when people say Tasha is “ride or die”. If you go back to the first season, Ghost says to Tasha, “I want to be more” and she says, “What more?! We have everything!” He literally says, “Can you get on board? I want to go legit” and she says, “I don’t want to do that. I want you to be what I want you to be.”


ABIB:  Sometimes I feel very sorry for Tasha. She has a man who wants more and she can’t see it. She is very limited in the way she thinks.

Agboh: Tasha is complicated. She once had ambitions of her own. She wanted to be a singer. She has half an accounting degree. But she decided to supplicate her desires and get on board with this man and she made a bad bargain with Ghost.

Tasha is one of my heroes on the show. Tasha is growing. What we see in the first episode, in the pilot, Tasha has the first line of the series. There’s a reason we start with Tasha. She says to Ghost, “Tell me I’m beautiful.” She doesn’t own her own beauty. She needs Ghost to tell her about it.

Over the course of the series what you’ll see is that she begins to figure out for herself her own worth and that her worth is beyond the outside package. At one point we talked about getting rid of the nails and the weave, then Shonda did that sh-- on HTGAWM and we were like nah, we’ll go another way. But we are going to explore the idea of who is Tasha under all that. She’s trying to navigate a situation with not a full set of maturity. One of the things that’s there if you look, those twins are 10 years old in the show; she just turned 30. So how old was she when she had them? She didn’t have a lot of childhood or post adolescence. She kind of hustled into this. We’ll see her grow.


Part 2 of my interview with Courtney Kemp Agboh will post tomorrow. :-)

Power Recap: It Was All Good Just A Week Ago


Tommy is being processed and a guard observes, "you are one ugly piece of sh--." Really? Tommy kinda does it for me, in a weird way. I think he's one of those guys whose personality makes them cuter. As he's stripping, I wonder how I have never noticed his physique before. Tommy With A Job aka White Boy Tommy is a low key hottie.

At Tommy's bail hearing the following day, I realize "Turtle" aka Mr. Proctor, the lawyer Ghost hired for Tommy, looks great in a suit. Why do all these men suddenly look so good? I've been out of town for five days. I think I miss my husband. Anyway, no bail for Tommy. Oh, and I hate Angie.

Tasha is making out with her delusional boy toy when she gets a call from Tommy saying he's in jail. As expected, she freaks out. Shawn, because he's like 5, doesn't know what to do because, again: 5.

At the office, Angela's getting kudos from the boss, who wants to talk about her bright future. Hater Greg comes over to piss on her parade. He wants James to testify about Tommy. Not never ever will this happen.

Angela swings by Jamie's hotel. She's still mad Jamie changed his cell. He explains his number occasionally gets in the wrong hands. He wants Angie to help Tommy. She wants Tommy to testify. Again, no.

Kanan and Dre are pep talking Shawn into how to kill Ghost. This all feels very Michael Corleone, but the difference is "Mikey" was actually an untapped G who just needed a push in the right direction. Shawn is no Michael Corleone. However, he is eager to please his father and is willing to give it the good try. Um. Shawn is going to end up dead.

Back at the hotel, Tasha is charging down the hallway, pissed. "I guess that d--k ain't what it used to be," she yells at Ghost. She mad about Tommy being arrested. Ghost insists it's all part of his master plan. Tasha is unconvinced. "You're playing with fire, Ghost," she says. "You just better make sure we don't all get burned."

Tommy meets with Turtle in jail. Tommy is pissed that Ghost isn't in jail and is back to believing Ghost set him up. "He just happens to be running late the same day and his girlfriend magically knows the location of our meeting with Lobos?" Tommy asks. Um... good point. Turtle is a hottie in this suit. I still can't take him seriously as a lawyer. But after some convincing Tommy does.

Turtle calls Ghost after meeting Tommy to fill him in. "You're f--king the prosecutor?" Turtle asks. Ghost insists there's "a benefit" to it. I still don't know if he actually likes Angie or not.

Ghost is facing a massive amount of bullish-- at his real job, but somehow he makes time to pitch Cantos new business, an event on Saturday. I'm impressed. The club would have been the last thing on my mind that day and that weekend. Perhaps this is why he's so successful as a MF coke boy. I'm not built for that. Cantos agrees to the party as Ghost has everything in place. As Ghost is leaving, Cantos reaches for a box of records that he plans to send to Stern at the end of the week.

At the office, Angie and team are are sorting through boxes (nice visual transition there), preparing their discovery case against "Eagan." Greg pushes up on Angie about talking to Jamie. She says it hasn't happened. Big Boss shows up to say that Tommy is "small fish"; they just want Lobos. They'll be lenient with Tommy if he gives them Lobos. (By lenient, they mean 15 years).

Lala aka Kisha is by the St. Patrick's dropping off all the bank statements that Tasha has been sending to her house. "What are you going to do with 200k?," Lala asks Tasha. "That's like your shoe budget for a week." Tasha seems deeply worried about the amount. LOL. Tasha tells Kisha that Ghost is in too deep with Angie, and she has to protect herself and the kids. She's planning to leave and go somewhere with the kids that even Kisha won't know about. "You're hiding money from Ghost and now you wanna hide his kids too?!" Kisha asks. She uses the proper level of hysteria for the situation. Kisha thinks going off and starting another life alone is nuts. "Can't you find another way?" she asks. Tasha's wheels are turning.

The Serb shows up for a meeting at a back room hole in the wall with the other distributors. The initial plan to meet Lobos didn't work and he doesn't want to waste his time by engaging further. Oh, and the supply is low. Kanan cautions the other distributors to be easy. "Ghost will be dead by tomorrow", he says. I don't know why he just won't do the job. I know and he should know that his son is "the Namond" from The Wire. Your dad being a gangster does not make you one. It's not like your blood type that is just passed down on your dad's side. Gangsters are not born, they are made. Anyway, Fiddy says not to worry about the supply. Lobos has been arrested before and has measures in place to make sure operations continue to run smoothly.

Shawn shows up at the St. Patricks the morning he is supposed to kill Ghost. Tasha has a proposition for him: run away with me. Of course, he says, "yes." This is "all he ever wanted." Ok. So Shawn will live.

Tommy is being interrogated by the Feds with his lawyer present. He pretends he has no idea what they're talking about. He's not trying to be funny, but this is hilarious.

Shawn is waiting for Ghost to get in the car, and checking the stashed gun to make sure it's there. Oh boy. He calls Dad and Dre who are setting up at the warehouse Sean is supposed to bring Ghost's body to, to dispose of it. Kanan tells him not to think of Ghost as his Uncle at anymore. "He's just another n---- standing in front of the life you want," Kanan says.

This plot just doesn't make sense to me. Because I compare everything to The Wire, I am reminded of when Michael was being trained to do his first hit, and Chris insisted it not be someone he knew because it was too personal and may freak him out. That logic is sound. I just don't get whey Kanan would put Shawn up to this when he could do it better. Even if Shawn was a baby G, which he so, so is not, this would still be a bad idea be cause of the close relationship he once had with Ghost, a surrogate father.

Ghost gets in the car and Shawn is replaying the directions from his father for killing Ghost. Shawn is reaching for the gun when a cop knocks on the window. The road is closed. The cop gives him directions to an alternate route. Womp. Oh, and Ghost (kinda) offers Shawn a promotion.

At prison, the Feds show up with Tommy's mother, who Tommy financially supports. And who is a coke head. "With a mother like that, he never even had a chance," Angie observes. The Feds illegally listen in to her hysteria to see if they're making headway with Tommy. Nope. "I ain't never going to be a snitch," Tommy says. "Not for you, not for nobody." The Feds realize he's not going to flip. "Too bad Tommy Egan," Angie's boss says. "You're going to be in prison the rest of your life."

Random. These shots of New York are beautiful. My city is so pretty.

Angie shows up at Jamie's apartment to tell him he was right about Tommy. "He won't break," Angie says. But she's not down to protect him as he's a major drug dealer. Somehow they end up having sex. After, Angie wonders, "we're running out of time, aren't we?" Jamie tells her that is on her. *insert dramatic music* He calls Proctor as soon as Angie is about the door. He, as usual, is up to something.

Tommy's staring at the ceiling in his cell when a guard comes to get him. The guard takes him to a private meet Angie, who wants to "help him" by getting him to flip on Lobos. She offers witness protection and relocating his mother. She can get his sentence down to 15 years. Tommy: "your p---y must be made out of poison. It's like the acid ate his brain." Aha-ahaha-ahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Angie reassures Tommy that she and Ghost are not conspiring against him because Ghost wouldn't do that. He asks her if he she knows Ghost as well as she thinks.

Their meeting is cut short when Tommy's lawyer arrives. Tommy heads to court to discover that Turtle has a new plan, he's asking for the compliant against Tommy to be dismissed. Short version: the Feds didn't include the complete sketch that ID'd Tommy in their materials, just the partial which would not have been enough to ID him. They based their investigation against Tommy on a full sketch that was provided under duress by a 14 year old. Because their investigation is based on an illegal sketch, everything that resulted from that sketch is inadmissible via "fruit of the poisoned tree." This is brilliant. For years, I'd considered law school, took tons of pre-law classes, even took the LSAT. I'm general, I don't regret not pursuing it (things turned out okay for me), but in this moment, I REALLY wish I was a lawyer. The case is dismissed "with prejudice." Turtle is a damn good lawyer. I'm sold.

Angie is pissed. She bursts into Ghost's office a lot Truth, screaming that she could lose her job. He pretty much confesses to screwing up her case. "You'll do anything, won't you? Say anything to get what you want," Angela accuses. Well, she is right. Jamie points out that she will too because she cloned his phone and followed him to the hotel. "We both been playing dirty," Ghost says. "You're just mad you lost."

Ghost starts rambling about jam in Vermont. Sorry, wrong show. He's talking about getting his club back and then "everything we wanted since high school is there for us to take" because Angie wanted a life with him. Um, he doesn't get it. Angie wanted the upstanding do-right citizen, not a drug dealer. "Are you Ghost?" Angie demands.

"If I were Ghost, would I answer that question?" Jamie retorts, more or less confirming her suspicion.

Angela attempts to leave but Ghost grabs her back. "There's nothing stopping us" he says. I'm so confused. Does he really want to be with her or not? Arrgh. Like he's saying it, but I don't know whether to believe it. Angie tells him he's all "smoke and mirrors". She adds that all he is, is a fantasy before dropping: "fuck you, Ghost!" Oh, she real mad. And Greg's creeper self is sitting across the street taking pictures of her exit.

Jamie's having a bad night, and it gets worse when Shawn pulls a gun on him in the liquor closet at the club. Aww, hell. Ghost talks his way out of it by admitting he set up Kanan and talking about how much he once loved him. Shawn admits he has a thing for Tasha and that she deserves him, not Ghost. Oh, pour outta a little liquor. Shawn is about to die.

"You ain't built for this," Ghost tells Shawn. "What Kanan's asking you to do, no real father should ever ask of their son." Welp.

This is too much talking. Shawn is not about this life. Ghost effortlessly takes Shawn's gun and points it at Shawn's eye. The cackle I let out when Ghost called him a "fuck n---a" was epic. I had to rewind three times.

Ghost isn't going to kill Shawn  even though he deserves it for trying to kill him and whatever's up with Tasha. Ghost tells him instead to leave New York. "Go be a better man than Kanan, not the man he's trying to turn you into,"Ghost says. He even gives Shawn the gun back.

Jesus. Ghost actually loves this kid. Maybe this his way of making things right with himself for what happened with Rolla. Sometimes Jamie gets on my damn nerves, but this moment right here? It's why I watch a show where I root for the drug dealer to win.

Shawn tries to plead, protest? I don't know. The primal "gooooo!" that Jamie lets out like some sort of wounded animal? Ugh. That hurt. And it was creepy as f---. I rewound that a couple times too.

Angie's at work sulking when Greg walks in. He's been thinking. He's deduced that James is Ghost and Angie conspired with him (and Proctor) to protect Tommy. He admits he's been following Angie and will report all of her alleged activity to the higher ups. Angie tells Greg that he's wrong and James played her. "I'm an idiot," she says. They decide to stay up all night building a case against Jamie and they will take it to the higher ups in the morning. "We're going to take him down," Angie says.

Tommy's released from prison. James is waiting for him at the exit. All is right in their world... as far as they know.

At the office Cantos discovers his office is a wreck. Someone broke in and stole his files. Jamie? At home, Tasha is packing her Louis V luggage to run off with Shawn, who says he'll pick her up in a hour. She seems happy about this.

Somewhere in Queens, Fiddy is working on Operation Kill Ghost Plan B, which is spraying up the let out of the club like it's the 90s. He been inside too long. Shawn pops up as Fiddy is playing chess alone. He didn't kill Ghost as we know, and Fiddy knows because Shawn's suit is clean.

Shawn confronts his father about using him to get revenge on Ghost. Fiddy says whatever Ghost said is the truth. Shawn calls him a piece is shit who belongs in jail. "You're not my father," he accuses. "You never have been." Shawn goes to leave, but Fiddy stops him... by shooting him in the stomach. He tells him, "you don't deserve to be my son" before shooting him in the head.

Bruh! I did NOT see this coming. I thought Shawn might actually live after Ghost, who had every reason to kill him, let him go. Now his own Daddy is pulling a Marvin Gaye, Sr.?!

On April 1 1984,  Marvin Sr. shot his son, Marvin Gaye,  three times in the chest.  It was the eve of Marvin's forty fifth birthday.

Wowie wow wow wow.

For a moment, Fiddy actually looks like he regrets it. Then he calls Dre to say there's been a change of plans.

Um, ya think?

 What did you think of the latest episode of Power?