Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Masculinity in STARZ's Power

Masculinity in Power

*Quick Disclaimer: This post contains spoilers!

For this blog post, I wanted to discuss the masculinities in one of the summer’s hottest T.V. shows STARZ’s original series Power, starring Omari Hardwick. This show was created by Courtney Kemp Agboh and produced by rapper Curtis Jackson (A.K.A 50 Cent). The show has a lot of plot twists so I will attempt to summarize it as best as I can. This show is about James "Ghost" St. Patrick, a wealthy New York night club owner who has it all, catering for the city's elite and dreaming big, lives a double life as a drug kingpin. He is constantly balancing his double lives in the hopes that they do not coincide with each other. His best friend is Tommy – he is pretty much his righthand-man in the drug business. They’ve been best friends since high school and consider each other brothers. However their brotherhood is tested when Tommy falls in love with James’ bartender, Holly. “Ghost’s” distributor, Lobos, informs Tommy that he needs to kill Ghost or else he will kill Holly. Holly ultimately gives Tommy an ultimatum: he chooses her or Ghost. In the meanwhile, James is balancing his relationship between his wife, Tasha, and his mistress, Angela. James and Angela had a past relationship in high school and rekindled their relationship when he saw her at one of her clubs. However, Angela works with the FBI and is investing the Lobos case, which James is involved with. While that is going on, Cannon (played by 50 Cent) was released from jail. He was sent their due to James. Cannon primary focus since his release is getting his vengeance on Ghost. He failed his first attempt to kill Ghost, however he managed to escape while the whole town thinks he’s dead.

I’ve been an active viewer of Power since 2015 and this is honestly one of my favorite shows on television. I love the way the writers strategically use the plot to enter the perspectives of each of the characters. I do not know much about the drug industry, nor do I care to know anything about it, but this show definitely made it interesting. I love how unpredictable this show is and the actors are truly amazing. It will have you at the edge of your seat after every episode. Season 3 ended with a cliffhanger, but for this post, I do want to discuss the theories of masculinities used in the show.

This show primarily focuses on behind the scenes of the drug industry and how it operates. Most of the character who participated in drug related activity were nearly all male and non-White. Power is the perspective of a city of hard-edged, violent, catastrophic maleness, and a world of drugs. This is how American masculinity and its relationship to drugs are portrayed in today’s society. The ideal male of today is one of multifaceted vulnerability and indecision. If you take out the drug aspect of the show, the men would be left to find new meaning and answers to challenging questions they may face. Power also contains a lot of violent material not intended for the faint of heart. Violence in masculinity was the theme for one of the modules we discussed in class. The violent activities in the show included gun violence, physical violence, gangs, street violence, harassment, sexual and domestic violence. Violence is our society is most often tied to masculinity. I believe our culture has become so used to men/boys being violent that it shows in mainstream T.V. shows for a reason. There was a scene in the show where Tommy and Holly were having a terrifying argument. Holly said something to Tommy that set him off and he grabbed her in a chokehold until she stop breathing. I remember reading the behind the scenes articles of the show to figure out why they decided to kill off her character. Kemp mentioned that she received a lot of hate-mail explaining that it “promotes domestic violence”. Kemp also mentioned that she considers herself to be a feminist and did not intended it that way. There was no way Tommy could have both Ghost and Holly, so one of them ultimately had to go.

Masculinity in this shows can also be in reference to its title: Power.  There are many aspects in this show where Ghost showed dominance over the other characters. I would like to know everyone's opinion. If you have watched this show, I would love to hear feedback on your views of masculinity portrayed in the show. If you haven't watched it, I highly recommend it. You will be hooked!

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