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Why I Stopped Watching “Power”

Do you watch “Power” on Starz? I did. I got hooked when it first came out. I was fascinated by the story of a drug lord wanting out of the game.

They say anything 50 Cent touches turns to gold, and I have to say, he did good with this series, as far as viewership and money is concerned. I believe much of the story correlates to his humble beginnings on the streets of Southside Jamaica Queens, which is where he is from.

The first two seasons were great. Recently, I caught up with Season 3 and 4.

I am not sure if they hired a different writer, but I saw a change in Season 3. It was darker and more violent.

As a Christian, I struggled through the episodes, fast forwarding through the soft porn and violent scenes. All you see is a bunch of different characters being killed a variety of ways. It doesn’t take much genius or creativity to kill a bunch of characters off.

I wrote to “Power” directly and expressed my thoughts on the change. As artists, we have a responsibility for what we put out there for the masses to consume. Life is inundated with senseless killings and untimely deaths, must we then replicate it for television? Especially in this instance, where the youth who admire and emulate 50 Cent are watching?

There are famous rappers speaking out against drugs, guns and gang violence, but then we have those who don’t, who produce shows like “Power” which propagate and glorify it. I understand it is just a show, and it’s for entertainment, but unfortunately, art imitates life and life imitates art. As embellished as it may be, stories like “Power” happen in real life, which is why it can be written about in the first place. As I mentioned above, 50 Cent has input and plenty of material to pull from his own life.

The only thing I liked about Season 4 was the scene where Kanan (50 Cent), who is a stone cold killer, develops genuine feelings for Tariq (Ghost’s son), who he was going to kill to get back at Ghost. That was about it, the rest was a disappointment. “Power” went from being unique and well-written, to being a vehicle of exploitation, violence and greed.

Listen, I am all for truth and good stories, but there is a fine line being crossed, when it’s riddled with sex, murder, and violence. We wonder why our society is disintegrating, and our youth are becoming more disrespectful. The reason is because what our society is ingesting. You are what you eat. If you are only ingesting garbage, then that’s what is going to come out.

The Bible says, “Bad company corrupts good morals.” (1 Corinthians 15:33) Whomever we associate with rubs off on us, whether good or bad. It can come by way of what we read and watch, too.

Gang violence, bullying, cyber bullying, disrespect, bad attitudes, suicides… are part of the framework. The only ones untouched are those who produce shows like “Power,” and are afforded the ability to be insulated from that reality.

At a certain point, we must ask ourselves, is writing and producing shows like “Power” necessary? The visuals that multitudes ingest weekly, don’t go away. There must be accountability. Greed can not override responsibility. As artists we must be concerned with what we are putting out there and how it is going to affect the minds of impressionable youth; our future generation.

As a believer, I had to take a step back and look at it from a spiritual standpoint. How is watching fornication and murder going to benefit our broken society? We blame our government, our President, but as artists, we are just as responsible for what is happening around us, by what we contribute and produce to feed millions of viewers by way of flat screen televisions across America.

Those who write books, produce television programs and make movies have a greater responsibility. We as artists owe it to our youth to produce substance. What we make or produce directly affects the climate of our society.

We have a choice to make. I made one. I am no longer going to partake in watching senseless violence. As an artist, there are ways of conveying things without being graphic, explicit or violent.

As much as I loved “Power,” I will no longer be watching it. I won’t judge those who do, as it is a personal decision. But I’m afraid if we continue moving in the same direction, things will only get worse.

Artists have the privilege of using their gifts which God blessed them with as a way to inspire and motivate change in our society. We are the voice. Change begins with us.

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