For Chicago native Joseph Sikora, not many moments match the excitement he feels when flying over the skyline and watching Lake Michigan glistening beside it. The city welcomes him with “open arms” every time.
Luckily, the “Power” star isn’t just coming home these days to meet with the media eager to talk with him about the hit show. True, the Columbia College Chicago alum spends much of his time with some of the industry’s hottest celebs, including his “Power” buddies Omari Hardwick and Naturi Naughton, who play Ghost and Tasha on the show respectively. But it’s clear that home is where the heart is.
Sikora recently took a break from his busy schedule and invited JET to have lunch with him and his father. (His dad is a huge fan of the show by the way!) We happily accepted, and picked the star’s brain about some potential surprises with his character Tommy on season two of “Power,” those pesky “Empire” comparisons and why the n-word is not a part of his personal vocabulary.
JET: What have you been enjoying about your experience on “Power”?
Joseph Sikora: It’s been a dream come true. I think that every actor would love to do something that is artistically fulfilling. You get to learn more about being a human being, and you get to teach others. I’ve been blessed to finally have a job that’s been consistent. It’s also produced a really tight community of people with a familial feel. Our wonderful show’s creator, Courtney Kemp Agboh, is just incredibly generous with her time and creativity, and she has set up a real family atmosphere on the set with the cast and the crew.
JET: What’s the camaraderie like on set?
JS: It’s great! Omari and I have gotten along since day one. That’s part of the reason I got casted. Our chemistry was so good and believable. That is a necessity, because Tommy and Ghost are more than friends and business partners. They really are brothers, and Tasha, played by Naturi Naughton, is really his sister. With that family feel, the job is increased times 10. It makes it a lot easier, so we’re able to have fun.
JET: Tommy and Ghost are butting heads a little bit…
JS: A little bit? (Laughs)
JET: Yes, a little bit is an understatement. You two are going in different directions. What is the future of the relationship?
JS: Well it can only go one of two ways. It can either get worse, or it can get better. It’s not staying the same. It’s just not how life works. Things move and change. Nothing really is stagnant. It’s like the same way that no man is an island. No man just stays stagnant. You’re going forward, or you’re going backward. It looks like our relationship is getting worse and worse, but don’t forget Kanan, 50 Cent’s character, just got out of prison. He’s hitting the streets, so that is going to facilitate the necessity to either tighten up with Ghost, or it may be the thing that breaks them apart.
JET: Speaking of 50 Cent, describe a work day with him.
JS: It’s a joy. He is incredible and definitely one of the smartest and most accessible businessmen I’ve ever met in my life. He is not intimidated by other men, because he’s generous and open. He gives a big hug and a smile to a man rather than, ”Ok, prove yourself to me.” He doesn’t need you to prove yourself to him. He knows what he knows, and he’s confident in himself. That shows in his acting. He trusts his instincts, and he’s very honest. He could ask you a question in the scene 100 times, and every time he’ll ask expecting an answer – maybe a different one. He doesn’t know what he’s getting. He’s really in the moment. He’s an excellent actor, and he’s in eight episodes out of the 10, which is a real treat to all of 50 and “Power” fans.
JET: He’s sees some similarities between “Power” and “Empire.” What do you think?
JS: I don’t see any now. In terms of speed, our entire first season was in their first episode. They have to move really fast, because they are network television. We get more time to develop the characters, so you can invest in them. In season two, we can expand that story and fill in that world to make it even bigger. We can have those storylines criss and cross and branch out into a ton of different directions. Plus, we’re prime cable, so we get to curse. We get to show sex and violence in real ways as tools for the story. They don’t get to do that.
JET: What do you think a relationship between Tommy and Cookie from “Empire” would be like?
Hot. Steamy. Sexy. She’d be worn out. Cookie would finally have nothing to say. I don’t know if Tommy would shut her up, but he would be enough to where she needed to take a break.
JET: I think you’re right! Talk about your character’s use of the n-word versus your thoughts on the term personally.
I think it is socially irresponsible for me to use that word. There is a 400-year history that is associated negatively to people that are a different color than me. People need to accept the fact that no matter how advanced you are and how much you want to be a part of the solution, which is good, that first step is realizing that you will never know what it is to have the Black experience in America if you are not Black. You will never know what it is like to be minority. With that said, you can still do positive things, but part of that is perpetuating that in a public sense. I think that to stay true to the character, I have to live in that word, but to stay true to myself is also to live in the world where I am at right now. It’s two different worlds. People want to see Tommy. People aren’t really ready to see Joseph yet, but they are going to have to on that topic, because that’s just the way it’s going to be.
Catch season two of “Power” on Saturday nights at 9 p.m. ET.