Michael Rainey Jr. scores plenty of fans on Power Book II: Ghost.

Power fans have grown up loving and hating the character Tariq St. Patrick on the popular Starz series, Power Book II: Ghost. Make no mistake: actor Michael Rainey Jr. has no problem separating his character from his real-life persona.

The actor, who first came to public attention at age nine in the 2010 Italian film Un Altro Mundo, has since joined all-star casts in Luv, The Butler, Barbershop 3 and Orange Is The New Black, among an eclectic array of projects.

Now, the avid video gamer and author who is working on his memoir, has become a role model for new generations of fans who are impressed with his finesse, stylish wardrobe, and street smarts.

In an interview with Cynthia Horner, he lets down his guard and allows us to step into Rainey’s world.

You are so fantastic on Power Book II: Ghost. Fans enjoy your performances and can’t wait to see you back on the screen. What’s it like to be in your shoes?

Michael Rainey Jr: It’s a lot of work, but it’s amazing.

I always wanted to be the main character in a TV show. When 50 Cent (the series’ co-star, co-creator, and co-executive producer) first told me that I would have the leading role, I really didn’t believe him because I thought he was joking.

Well, it’s not a joke anymore; you have had two successful seasons, and TV audiences are clamoring for more. It’s incredible how you stepped out of your TV dad Ghost’s shadow and have become your own man.

Michael Rainey Jr: Yes. Tariq’s not the same young kid. He’s not making decisions from just being mad at his parents. Now he’s making those decisions for the people around him, you know, for his little sister and his mom. He has had to make the right decisions, not just for himself but also for the people around him.

Tariq (Michael Rainey Jr.) and Lauren (Paige Hurd)

You have had some exciting scenes with the characters who have played your three love interests. Many college students date and have relationships with various females, and Tariq is no exception. That must be fun!

Michael Rainey Jr: It is. Tariq wants to find that girl that he can trust. He can’t really open up to anyone because, you know, all the stuff that he’s keeping inside is confidential.

People get very caught up in your character through social media, and I know that sometimes it’s been very uncomfortable. How do you deal with it?

Michael Rainey Jr: I’ve gotten death threats in the past; it was crazy. People were taking things too seriously. But I appreciate the fact that people watch the series and pay attention to the character.

Your cast has incredible wardrobe changes. Would you like to give a shout-out to the costume designer?

Michael Rainey Jr: Yes, Frank Fleming keeps us in clothing that I always want to keep at the end of the season!

— Photography Courtesy of Starz

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