“Be fearless, stay in school, be yourself and don’t let other people’s opinions change who you are.”

17-year-old Michael Rainey Jr. stars as Tariq St. Patrick on the US hit drama, Power, where he plays the son of New York’s biggest drug distributor, Ghost. The show stars, Omari Hardwick, Naturi Naughton and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, who also is the shows’ producer.

Michael made his first on-screen appearances on Sesame Street and various commercials and music videos. In 2009, the then 9-year-old kick-started his big-screen career when he was cast as the lead in Silvio Muccino’s ‘Un Altro Mondo. His first American film was in 2011, LUV, staring along side Common. Having later worked on several recognizable films, such as Barbershop 3 and The Butler, Michael is now continuing his work on the Power series after 4 success seasons.

In his spare time, Michael gives back to the community through his involvement in Find and Feed, an organization based in Indiana which is dedicated to helping the homeless, a cause very close to his heart. He also mentions that he enjoys making music and playing the piano, basketball and video games.

What are your favourite and least favourite things about being an actor?

My favourite part about being an actor is the travelling, you get to see a lot at the same time as working. I also like that it lets me work with different people, it’s exciting to always be involved in new projects and even when I’m not acting it’s good to meet some amazing people. I honestly don’t have a worst. Oh wait, maybe the days I have to get up extra early because I have to be on set by 7am. I love to sleep late. But seriously though I don’t have a worst.

Having worked closely with some of the most respected names in the industry such as Ice Cube and 50 Cent, you’ve been fortunate to gain a lot of insight and knowledge within the industry. But what’s the most valuable lesson you’ve taken away from these individuals?

50 once told me, ‘never feel too entitled because that can lead you to depriving yourself’. By that he meant that sometimes when we don’t get what we want or planned, we end up saying ‘forget it, I don’t want anything at all,’ and then you’re left with nothing at all.

On the Power series, the whole crew is like a family and when it comes to 50 and Omari, they are more like dad figures to me. For instance, I liked to keep brushing my hair on set to make sure it looked good. Omari told me not to worry about how I looked, instead focus on my craft.

Who or what exactly inspires you?

My Mom, she is definitely the biggest inspiration in my life.

With much success, there also comes some negativity. Do you find it difficult to deal with such comments?

No, it only really becomes an issue if you let it affect you like that. I don’t think too much about negative comments, I don’t let them bother me. People are going to always have an opinion.

The people who do show love are really supportive and push me to be better and be the best I can be heading forward with my career and goals.

If you had one message to give to the younger generation, what would it be?

Be fearless, stay in school, be yourself and don’t let other people’s opinions change who you are.

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