Thursday was a pretty normal day at the iOne Digital offices when in walked Omari Hardwick. Just like in his hit series Power, his presence was immediately felt. He’s got that intensity fans of the show expect – an authoritative voice, steady eye contact, and the kind of poise that commands the room. As similar as his demeanor might be to that of the debonair Ghost he plays on television, however, it was also immediately clear that underneath it all, Omari is different than James St. Patrick.
He’s a poet, for example, and has been for over 30 years. He’s a doting husband and a dad to two beautiful little kids, whose names are Nova and Brave. His family seems to always be on his mind and he’s been able to heal some of his deepest pain through recording music. He often feels misunderstood, but he “counts it all joy” and he’s trying to find the balance between the demands of being a celebrity in 2019 and staying true to what his core values have always been. Just like the rest of us, he’s working on it – while withstanding the extreme level of scrutiny brought on by being famous.
We talked about what initiated his longtime love for the art of poetry, his dope new Poetics podcast, his brotherhood with Michael B. Jordan, and what it really took to play Ghost for this long (you can get into part 1 of our conversation here). And in the second portion of our chat, below, I asked him how raising a daughter has changed and impacted his life. I don’t have any kids of my own, but it was easy to tell his little girl Nova has a very, very special place in his heart. Omari started to talk about how his daughter had been injured recently – the night of the 2019 NAACP Image Awards, to be exact – and how her injury led to extended moments with his friends Jay-Z and Beyoncé.
Criticized for how he interacted with Beyoncé at the award show, Omari had yet to discuss the moment publicly until explaining during our interview that, that night he was simply a worried father thanking his friends who’d expressed concern for his daughter throughout the night.
“She has ironically been injured in two very historical moments for me,” Omari told Global Grind when asked about Nova. “Her cornea was scratched the night of the Image Awards. The length of [my] talk with Jay was him asking me about her eye. The length of the hug with Bey was her asking about her eye. I give the speech and I bring up her eye,” he recalls.
Describing another moment when his daughter was hurt, Omari went on to tell us Nova’s head had been “busted by her little brother.” “Her eye is scratched by him the night of the Image Awards. A month to maybe a month and a half later, within the time of Nipsey’s death (who was a friend), now her head is busted,” he said, eyes wide with panic. “So, being a father of a daughter, makes it to where the MET experience for me might’ve been the most slow motion, beautifully embraced reality… walking through those long halls of that gallery… because I was thinking so much, on that long walk through those artifacts, about Nova. I kept thinking about Nova,” he revealed, referencing his appearance alongside Dapper Dan at the 2019 MET Gala earlier this week.
“And in the extension of the length of the hug with a friend named Beyoncé, I was thinking and talking about Nova,” he added. In an earlier sidebar, Omari explained that while the world knows him as Ghost, Jay-Z knows him as a little brother, saying “Jay-Z would’ve punched me in my face if I didn’t hug his wife. He would’ve said ‘n*gga, you don’t see Bey?'”
Even before being a father to a little girl, he says he’s always had respect for women and doesn’t appreciate fans making a moment between friends something that it wasn’t.
“My honor and my respect for women – while you have idiot fanbases who go ‘Watch your wife around Omari’ – I got a wife (A), so f*ck you. I love you, but f*ck you (B). (C), I respect women so much prior to Nova being born that once Nova got to Earth… man, it doubled my respect for women. But I had it already ’cause I had a pop, who validated my existence as a man, so I didn’t think demeaning women was ever cool.”
He says that between the two of them — him and Nova, that is – he’s the lucky one. “Y’all run the world, for real.”