At his core, Omari Hardwick is a storyteller. While many folks met him in Ava DuVernay’s stellar 2011 film I Will Follow and then, of course, as the stoic drug kingpin Ghost in Starz’s Power, Hardwick’s journey in the entertainment industry spans nearly two decades. Throughout his career, his work has covered almost every genre across multiple mediums and platforms.
Presently, he’s busier than ever. Power returns for a fifth season on July 1; his indie film, A Boy. A Girl. A Dream, is making the rounds at film festivals across the nation; and he will be seen next in Boots Riley’s trippy and mesmerizing Sorry to Bother You. And yet, Hardwick’s hectic schedule is something that he’s wholeheartedly embraced. In fact, his success and love for visionary storytelling sparked his partnership with Gentleman Jack’s Real to Reel program.
In its second year, the program has given a platform to rising black filmmakers and provided them with an opportunity to share their stories and talent while receiving mentorship from Hardwick. In Harlem on a late spring evening after a full day of press for Power, Hardwick introduced four short films from New York City filmmakers of color. As the audience sat engrossed in the unique projects, Hardwick and I chatted about Real to Reel, his legacy, Power and how he hopes to influence artists coming after him.
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