“Power Book III: Raising Kanan” premiered this summer and every week it’s given its viewers something new to talk about. The show is a prequel to the series “Power” and centers around the life of a 15-year-old high schooler named Kanan Stark and his relationship with his family and friends. Kanan makes a choice to join his mother and two uncles in the drug trade. In the original “Power” series, Kanan is played by 50 Cent and is introduced as the rival to the protagonist of the show named Ghost, who is also a drug dealer. In the prequel, each of the family members has their own individual stories, which are slowly unraveling throughout the series.
One character whose story viewers haven’t had the full opportunity of getting to know yet is Marvin’s. “Ballers” star and comedian London Brown plays Marvin, the eldest sibling who struggles to make the right decisions for the family business, thus making Raq the head of the triad. With three episodes left, and a recent announcement of new actors joining the cast, it’s no telling where the season is headed next.
While viewers await to learn more about Marvin, Brown, a Los Angeles native, sat down with Atlanta Black Star to discuss why he hasn’t watched any parts of the franchise series, which of his cast members acts like their characters and more.
At what point would you say that being an entertainer was something that you knew you wanted to do?
Thanks for having me. I appreciate it. I think that I’ve always felt like I wanted to do something in the arts. I just started early on. I think the first thing I remember wanting to do was be like an artist as far as in the animation. And then, you know, I grew up in church and different things like that. You end up playing instruments, because that’s what young Black boys do in church. And then I get into plays and kind of started into the acting thing. So the arts has always been there. That’s the main thing I’ve always been comfortable with or I felt very excited about was the arts.
You play a father to Jukebox and it seems to be an overall theme that Marvin has connection issues. He has trouble connecting with his siblings, Raq and Lou Lou, and his daughter. What advice would you give your character to be a better father?
I would encourage Marvin to sit down and really talk to his daughter and figure out what’s going on because sometimes people don’t want to have those kinds of conversations because it’s difficult to have. And I think that somewhere throughout the show, they’ll reveal why it’s so difficult for Marvin, what’s causing a strain for Marvin to have with his daughter. Because whatever it is like I said, it’s not just with his daughter, it’s his relationship with everybody. They all a little stressed. It really starts first with Marvin taking care of the issues that he has. So then from there, he can really repair the relationships that are outside of himself.
So I saw in a previous interview, you said you hadn’t seen the original “Power” series before joining the cast. Have you seen it yet?
No, I haven’t watched it. I still need to watch this show. I still haven’t watched “Raising Kanan” because what happens is I didn’t watch “Power” because at the time I was still in “Ballers.” So I wanted to be a part of “Power,” so I didn’t want to watch it because I wanted to do it and I couldn’t do it. I was grateful for what I had, but I was looking at “Power.” So I didn’t even tap into it. And now, the same thing happened with “Ballers,” which was the shows coming on Sundays. I’m preparing for work Sunday nights. So even as a cast, we really haven’t had any time to really bask in this season because we’re working on season two. So I be in work mode. And then I know I got access to it. I get around to it when I can get to it. I catch what I catch from the trailers or from what people tell me, because, you know, the fans know no more about it than I do. I don’t really know.
I’m like, you know, I don’t know about what’s going on. I kind of remember a little bit from what we shot, but I really only kind of know at least some of my storyline because we shoot out of order, out of sequence so it’s new to me. Or it will be new to me like, it’s new to people watching it. I don’t even know the answers. People are way better at connecting the dots than I have because they’ve been watching the story. They know about where Jukebox ends up in the first “Power,” and they’ve been keeping up with it. I don’t even watch TV like that.
So, you don’t know what happens in Jukebox in the original series?
No, I don’t want to know. I don’t know. But I know that first of all I didn’t even know Jukebox was a part of the first series. I thought she was the original character. And somebody told me. And then when I saw the photos of the first Jukebox, I was like they did a pretty good job with the casting because they got her with the cornrows. So that kind of thing is solid. I like that kind of stuff.
Another thing I noticed throughout the series is that they make it a point to let a lot of the Black men in the series show emotion. Do you think it’s purposeful that they are allowing Black men to show emotion?
The core of the show isn’t about drugs. It’s about family, family loyalty and that sort of thing. And because the storyline is driven to something more grounded and why they have allowed these characters to show another side is because people have to remember at some point everybody has a breakdown or something. Just because grown men don’t cry as adults we have to look at the undergird of why that is. What’s the core of that. Then you go back and find out what the childhood was like and say ‘Oh, he don’t cry as an adult to cover the pain that he’s really dealing with that started when he was eight.’ You start peeling back the layers and you get to a very vulnerable person at the core.
With Marvin, what people will get around to as the episodes play out and they’re like ‘Oh shoot, he’s got some stuff down, down up in there and that’s why he moves the way he moves. And this is why he is the way he is with his daughter.’ But at the same time people got to be patient and just follow the story. Because they want all the answers in episode one. I’m like ‘If we gave you all the answers even in season one, you wouldn’t be able to follow it. We got to give you the story and the backstory of why things are playing out the way they are. But we got some heat in these next couple of episodes and people will understand why.
Out of the people who are on the cast, who would you say acts most like their characters and who would you say acts least like their characters?
I think I act least like my character.
Really?! You have that comedic side of you…
Yeah but, the thing about it is I bring those things to Marvin. You know Marvin eats because London eats. [Marvin’s character eats a lot because London as a person eats a lot.] I made that choice to make Marvin eat. But I mean I ain’t shooting at nobody. You know, and I’m not getting into fights and all that kind of thing. But there’s a lot of stuff about Marvin, that is me like, Marvin is a really well-put-together guy, keeps his hands clean, keeps his car clean, nice little crib, keeps his hair, right. The masculine side of Marvin, and the well dressed-ness and all those kinds of things, those things are London.
But all the street stuff is not London. I’m not out here flipping bricks. But I think Malcolm Mays is a lot like, he does a good job at Lou Lou. He is cold with Lou Lou. I think it’s Lou Lou and Malcolm. Those guys are kind of pretty spot on I think. Or the guy who plays Famous. Famous is like Famous. He’s a great energy, always life-of-the-party-kind of a guy. Good vibes. Shout out to him, Antonio. He might be closest, and I think I’m one of the furthest, in the way.
“Power Book III: Raising Kanan” comes on Starz every Sunday at 8 p.m. EST.