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JET COVER: Omari Hardwick

After more than a decade of hustling his way up Hollywood’s food chain, Omari Hardwick has finally transitioned from familiar face to leading man. The star of the television drama Power talks about life before top billing and more.

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“Let’s walk.”

With those two words Omari Hardwick suddenly jumps out of the wide-bodied SUV that has been waiting for him outside of the Brooklyn, NY, studio where he just wrapped his cover shoot for JET. It’s a sunny day and he intends to capitalize on the liberties that come with being released from a barrage of well-meaning handlers.

The actor can easily be pegged as an uncaged spirit. He’s a man who enjoys freedom of expression in all that he does—from his body, perfectly covered with tattoos,to his performance art as a spoken word poet to his acting career, which is noticeably in full bloom.

Hardwick is the face of the upcoming series Power (premiering June 7 on Starz). The highly anticipated show is executive produced by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and was created by Courtney Kemp Agboh, the brains behind CBS’ The Good Wife. The drama chronicles the life of James “Ghost” St. Patrick, a New York City-based drug dealer looking to go legit by investing in nightclubs. The program’s buzz has fueled whispers that Hardwick finally landed his ticket to A-list status.

“I originally turned the role down,” he admits. “But my girl weighed in and started asking me about the show— she rarely does that …”

TO READ THE FULL STORY, PICK UP THE LATEST ISSUE OF JET MAGAZINE, ON STANDS MONDAY, May 12.

(Photo Credit: Erin Patrice O’Brien;Wardrobe provided by Bloomingdale’s for availability call 1-800-232-1854 or visit bloomingdales.com.)