Omari Hardwick is just now reaping the financial benefits of his career that has spanned more than two decades and scores of film and television roles.
Best known by most for his breakout role as New York nightclub owner and drug kingpin James “Ghost” St. Patrick for six seasons of the television series “Power,” it is hard to fathom that Hardwick was still earning his stripes, so to speak, until recently.
Hardwick, who likens his leading actor quality and charisma to that of Brad Pitt, says his career has been a marathon. Speaking on “The Pivot” podcast, Hardwick says despite having roles in notable films such as “Next Day Air, “The Gridiron Gang” and others, he didn’t identify with the feeling of having “made it” until after “Power.” It’s no coincidence that the same sentiments apply to his compensation.
When asked by co-host Channing Crowder, “When was O good financially?” the actor said while he is financially stable, being compensated for the worth of his gifts is still a work in progress. “I still haven’t made what I should have made. I still never made the money, no, the money, I never made what I should have made. Never,” said Hardwick.
Not even on the back end of projects. Instead, his larger payouts are “happening now, finally.” Stunned, Crowder questions, “All them movies you did made before that [“Power”]?”
“I made five dollars,” quipped Hardwick. The former “Being Mary Jane” love interest added context to just how small his payouts had been by opening up about the times “Power” executive producer 50 Cent lent him a helping hand financially. Hardwick, who in the past has said he paid the rapper back with interest, added, “I think he forever just really, really respects the s—t out of me for that. We just not taught that in our community.”
He continued, “For me to give it back to 50 with interest, I was just so proud to be able to do that, and it was early. He felt like, ‘D—n O, you can’t be messed up. You need money.’”
“It was the summer after season 1 and then it was the summer after season 2. He gave me $20,000 and then the next summer he gave me $23 [thousand] — and absolutely he adores J and the kids, he might like them more than me. It was absolutely given in a way you know, ‘Take care of the family, bro.’”
The hosts were each taken aback by his transparency, but even more stupefied that the immediate success of “Power,” and his role as the star, had not made any significant changes to Hardwick’s finances. Using Angela Basset’s $450,000 per episode of Fox’s “9-1-1” for scale, host Ryan Clark deduced that Hardwick at minimum should have made $150,000 per episode.
“You got it right. First time I’ve ever disclosed it, but I was also the face of the network,” says Hardwick. “Angela’s not the face of that network. She’s one of the greatest actresses that will face the planet, but she’s not the face of that network,” he continued.
Despite feeling as though his “Power” paychecks could have been larger given his talent and the show’s success, Hardwick says he has no hard feelings and understands in the end, it’s a larger game of metrics at play.
“Starz, I’m still super humble. 50 and Courtney, I’ll thank you forever, but all of them know, ‘He didn’t really make no money.’ They know it before I know it.”