For Power viewers, there are many thorns in their side. Whether it be Tariq’s wayward behavior, Tasha’s relationship with Terry Silver or Dre orchestrating Julio’s murder, there are a number of examples that get under the skin of the show’s loyal fan base.
No thorn, however, is as sharp or causes a greater divide on social media than Ghost’s affair with AUSA (Assistant United States Attorney) Angela Valdez. Played by Omari Hardwick and Lela Loren, for the past four seasons, viewers have either rooted for the couple to receive their happily-ever-after or prayed to whichever God they pray to for the characters to meet their demise. Ghost’s lies, manipulation and double life matched with Angela’s ability to frolic in the gray area just outside of the law makes them the couple you love to hate.
Midway through Season Four, it was Angela who came forward and helped Ghost get released from prison after discovering evidence that the one crime he got busted for was actually one he didn’t commit. Continuing within that vein of altruism, Angela provided Tasha with an exact lead to Tariq’s whereabouts when he went missing. The decision, while done out of concern, has now made her an accessory to a crime.
Ahead of the show’s Season Five premiere, VIBE sat with Hardwick and Loren inside New York’s Langham Hotel to discuss the complexities behind Angela, and whether or not her character will merit any clearance from detractors.
My first question is for you Mr. Hardwick. Do you think Ghost can ever fully leave the game?
Omari Hardwick: I think it can look away if that makes sense. It can look a particular way enough to make him believe, ‘See, I left the game.’ While people around like Tommy being his truth serum would go, ‘That’s not really leaving the game.’ But to answer your question, probably not. I don’t think we have a show [if he left] and that’s just from a business standpoint, right? I do believe that he can get to a place where he is appeased enough, where he can be like ‘Okay, this is a departure and a space enough and I can act like in a delusional way that I’ve left the game.’ But it would be more of a delusional thing.
Lela Loren: I don’t think he can because Courtney [A. Kemp] created his character psychologically. What his character wants; status and money and all of those things and so.
Is Ghost a Capricorn?
Hardwick: People on the Internet, they go there. I don’t think he’s a Capricorn. I know exactly who he is and I am raised by who he is, and that’s a Virgo. He’s a Virgo to me. The vanity, the narcissism, the process is cool for Omari. Omari is an artsy-fartsy guy. Ghost is not processed. He’s Lela’s point. He’s conclusion. He wants definitive.
Loren: He wants to hold onto the status and the money–
Hardwick: Without the process.
Loren: He can’t leave the drug game. If he wanted to go live in a little two-bedroom track house then he could leave the drug game. But he doesn’t. He wants the status and the recognition and he’s trying to do that parallel transition. Sort of like, he wants to make the smooth transition and whenever you–
Transition to anything it’s never smooth.
Loren: You have to let go of stuff. You have to let go of the luxuries and that’s why I don’t think he’ll ever leave it.
At the end of Season Three, Angela arrested Ghost, and if Black Twitter didn’t hate you before, they hated you then. Midway through Season Four, it was Angela’s character who came forward to testify Ghost did not kill Greg Knox. Do you think your character merited a bit of redemption via social media? Do you think Angela has earned a bit of…
Yes, but she’s still Angela.
Loren: The interesting thing is she’s still Angela, but what always fascinates me is outside of the United States, she’s not seen as a villain, which is really hilarious.
Really? Tell me.
Loren: If you go to the UK or Ireland or Italy she’s just a girl in love.
I never saw her as a villain, but I didn’t see her as completely white hat either.
Hardwick: That’s a great point and Lela will admit that point by saying ‘I’m playing a character that has a lot of ambition, in a bad ill way, that Ghost has.
Loren: All the characters on the show are shady. The only good one was Donshea [Hopkins, who played Raina] and she’s dead.
Loren: What I find fascinating are the characters you’ll give a pass to and characters that you won’t. The way that I look at Angela is actually a litmus test for women in our culture. Women are allowed to exist in this very narrow lane, but as soon as you step out of that lane people want to stone you.
Loren: Angela kicks up a lot of wounds that aren’t necessarily in the narrative.
I’m glad you said that. How did you stretch Angela this season? You guys are five seasons in and you just said she kicks up a lot of wounds, how do you make sure that she kicks them harder?
Loren: I don’t think I ever sit there and think to kick a wound harder. This season finds herself on the shadow side. She’s crossed a line legally that she can’t come back from and the irony it was done in a moment of humanity and not in selfishness ambition. She did it to help Tasha, not realizing it was going to land her here.
That’s the wonderful irony of Power. Here’s this woman who’s always going for the win, who’s always skirting the law to get what she wants, and in this moment of generosity, this is what happens to her. Now she’s having to grapple with this new identity because she’s now a criminal.
My retort to what you’re saying is karma never forgets an address. Angela’s character did what she did out of love and out of humanity.
Hardwick: That’s true. That’s very true.
Loren: But in the world of Power, no good deed goes unpunished. I don’t really look at it as Karma in the world of Power. Whenever any character thinks they’re on safe ground they get the world pulled up from under them.
Hardwick: Which is weird that Raina got the rug pulled from under her and didn’t care about safe ground or not.
Loren: She was innocent. What I sort of find interesting is to look at why is Angela so divisive compared to the other characters.