Interview: Naturi Naughton Talks ‘Power,’ Influences and Stepping Outside Her Comfort Zone

Vixen

Naturi Naughton is no stranger to the entertainment business. Ever since stepping into the limelight as one-third of the popular girl group 3LW, Naturi has been making moves in music, television and film, including taking on the role of Lil Kim in Notorious. Fast forward to present day and she now has a lead role (alongside Omari Hardwick) in the Starz network series, Power.

VIBE Vixen caught up with Naturi to get her take on life, media and what we can look forward to this season in ‘Power’.

Vixen: You and Omari Hardwick (who plays the character of Ghost), are seen as a power couple in the show. Who are some real-life power couples you admire?
Naturi: I truly admire President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Also, Denzel and Pauletta Washington, Will & Jada Pinkett-Smith, Reggie Rock Bythewood & Gina Prince Bythewood, the late couple Ossie Davis & Ruby Dee. Last but not least, my parents: Ezra & Brenda Naughton, who’ve been married for 43 years! They have taught me what lasting love is all about.

You’re the leading lady on Power. How do you feel about black women taking on more leading and prominent roles in mainstream television?
I feel truly blessed to be one of the many Black women who are leading ladies on television. I think there is an influx of Black people on TV and Film in general and thankfully, more of our stories are being told. But I am specifically proud to see more Black women gracing the screen. It’s encouraging to see our complexities and depth through these characters as opposed to painting the stereotypical picture that we are all one dimensional or spoof-like. So I say, ‘It’s about time! Black women ROCK and regardless of if Hollywood continues to validate that or not, we will still be colorful, unique and beautifully complicated!’

As someone who’s had their hands in all areas of entertainment (music, film, and TV), what motivates you to try new avenues and step outside of your comfort zone?
I love to push myself! Stepping outside of my comfort zone is what will make me a better artist. I’m very fortunate to have had a successful career in the music business and now in TV and film, but nothing comes easy. I stay motivated by having family and friends who constantly encourage me and tell me “anything is possible”. So this is only the beginning! One day, I will write a script, direct my first film, release a solo album…it’s all scary but exciting territory to conquer!

What advice do you have for women who feel like they aren’t represented well in the media (either because of reality television or in music, etc.)?
My advice would be to live the example you’d like to see. You may not be on TV or in a music video, but you can represent a positive image through your daily life. Try not to be discouraged because even though you may not see it enough, there are a lot of powerful, inspiring women out there.

What kinds of things help you to reflect and recharge? Are you into yoga, hiking, taking social media breaks?
I hike quite a bit when I’m in L.A., so that helps me clear my head. But usually I recharge by going to church, having family dinners, girls night out, or just simply relaxing at home watching one of my favorite movies.(which is Love Jones! I also love to write poetry as a way to express my feelings.

What’s your favorite?
Song: “Home” from “The Wiz” by Stephanie Mills
Food: BBQ Chicken
Hobby: Writing
Book: “The Color of Water” by James McBride
Designer: Forever Unique

We know Power starts it’s second season in June! What are you looking forward to this year?
I can’t wait for Power to air this summer. The audience is going to flip out this season! This year you will get to see a little more of the gangsta side to my character Tasha, which is a lot of fun. I think the drama that goes down this season will keep everyone on the edge of their seats. So get ready!

Photo Credit: Ira Black