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The third Power series, Power Book III: Raising Kanan, tells the origin story of Kanan Stark, the character Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson played in the present day. In the ‘90s, young Kanan (Mekai Curtis) is living in Queens with his mother, Raquel Thompson (Patina Miller), a relationship Curtis says is vital to who Kanan turns out to be. 

'Power Book III: Raising Kanan': Mekai Curtis walks down a hall
Mekai Curtis | Starz

Curtis was on a Television Critics Association panel on Aug. 11. He discussed how Kanan’s relationship with his mother informs his portrayal. Raising Kanan airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on Starz. 

Mekai Curtis: ‘Power Book III: Raising Kanan’ is ‘a family story’

When Curtis got the role, he met with Jackson and creator Sascha Penn to discuss his portrayal of Kanan. They all agreed Kanan’s mother, Raquel, was central.

“We kind of talked through just the overall idea of who Kanan is,” Curtis said. “The idea of what we were trying to do with Raising Kanan, and the overall objectives we were trying to reach with this which is telling a family story, telling a story of this young man trying to figure out who he is in life and how he loves his mother, and how his mother loves him.”

50 Cent approved the mother/son story 

Curtis also remembers when Jackson signed off on him. Jackson didn’t just want Curtis to do an impression of him.


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“Very early on, I was able to connect with his love and adoration for his family,” Curtis said. “And through expressing that and through many conversations with Sascha and 50, we early on understood that was the goal. That was the overall mindset of Kanan.  So, I think 50, at that point, had kind of given me the green light. He understood the overall direction we were going. He had already trusted my talent as a performer. So, now, at that point, it was just, you know, understanding the work he had done.”

‘Power Book III: Raising Kanan’ shows a more innocent Kanan

In the ‘90s, Kanan hadn’t experienced all the turmoil that he had when we met him in Power. Raquel still tries to shelter him, but she can’t save him from everything..

“Going back to that innocence that he’s always carrying, you see that in his relationship with his mother.  So, that was the overall process in building this character and always [in] conversation with Sascha and with even Patina and just the overall mind space of this mother and son relationship and how that constant back and forth with this young man trying to come into himself while his mother’s also doing the maternal thing and wanting to protect him in all ways possible, and that constant back and forth. Those are the conversations that happened and what went into building the character to where he is now.”