Weeks ago, I wrote an article about my hopes for Tasha St. Patrick, played by Naturi Naughton. At the time of the article, only two episodes of 50 Cent’s Power had aired on Starz and I was still optimistic about the portrayal of the women on the show—most importantly Tasha St. Patrick. To be exact I said, “I believe the character will be revealed later in the series as far more nuanced than most reviewers give her credit for.”
The season finale of the show airs this Saturday, August 2nd and I must say it cannot come soon enough. The storylines of the show have never been terribly original, but I must say the writers took a fair stab at trying to show Ghost as a complex and conflicted character. It’s unfortunate that Ghost’s dynamics come at the cost of both of the major female characters on the show.
Angela Valdes: Ghost’s mistress and first love, who he has managed to love more than his wife and mother of his three kids, despite the fact that she left him high and dry decades ago is most times seen as a no-nonsense, cold-hearted prosecutor who can only be softened by her lover’s touch. We know nothing more about her besides the fact that she left “true love” behind to pursue her education. Now that same “true love” is getting in the way of the most important case of her career. She spends most of her time appearing generally unhappy even when she’s with Jamie (aka Ghost). She seems miserable because she knows he has a wife and kids at home.
Yet, the most disappointing development of all is Mrs. St. Patrick. She is constantly in scenarios that show her as a money-hungry, lustful shrew. She is not shown as deserving of Ghost’s love or attention. She is representative of everything that is holding Ghost from becoming who he ultimately wants to be: a stand-up guy, a legal, honest club owner.
Between her multiple sexual and manipulative advances on Ghost’s driver and mentee, Shawn, solely to gather information about her husband and her constant nagging about the club getting in the way of her plans to remain a kingpin’s wife forever, Tasha is as trope-y as you can get. The only time you see another side of her is when she’s taking care of someone else whether it be Ghost’s best friend and partner, Tommy, or her kids. Tasha by herself is extremely one-dimensional.
We don’t know why she clings to money so strongly and why Ghost’s love and attention is her sole reason for waking up in the morning. I don’t need a tragic backstory (a la Mellie’s rape) to explain her passion for wealth and influence I just need some context. At some point in her life did she have a Scarlett O’Hara on the remains of her family’s failed plantation moment where she vowed she would never go hungry again? Has she always just had a passion for young fellas who were good at “moving that dope?” Why is she who she is?
Also, why is Ghost’s disgust with her so strong? From the start of the show, he has constantly had either a look of regret or dismissal on his face when dealing with her. There have been a few moments where he has put on the content husband face for other people but most times he’s reprimanding her for one thing or another. Most recently, he was so annoyed with Tasha’s actions in righting a wrong based in racism against their daughter that he practically ran to Angela.
Yet, he took her council when she advised him to crack down on all the dealers around him to show them who still runs the city. Basically when she helps you keep your powerful grip on the drug world she’s cool but when she does something to make her daughter happy you feel a way because it’s “not right?” I’m getting mixed signals here.
There have been several missed opportunities to show the fluidity and complexity of Tasha. In one particular scenario she discovers that a large sum of money is missing from the couple’s bank account. It is revealed here that she is extremely numbers-savvy and notices almost immediately that money has been moved from the account and exactly how much. She soon realizes that Ghost took the money and used it for a personal purchase without telling her. This was the perfect opportunity for the writers to dwell on how intelligent she is for discovering the missing money so quickly. Instead, the incident ended with Ghost more or less telling her to mind her business and be happy with all they’ve got.
I can’t blame Naturi Naughton or Lela Loren for the way their characters have played out on the show. Both women are fine enough actors and it seems they are doing their best in the roles they’ve been given. The major issue here is the writing.
Each of the women are tools or ideals for Ghost. Angela is a symbol of how great Ghost’s life could be if he flies straight while Tasha is supposed to be the face of everything wrong in his life. The women are not real; they don’t have real multi-dimensional lives outside of Ghost. Even Angela’s case at work, unbeknownst to her, has to do with Ghost. Their value lies in what they mean to the drug kingpin and I must say those types of story lines for female characters are beyond worn-out.
Even Ghost for all of his moments of intense staring in the distance and grimacing at his riches is not extremely well developed or complex. What has caused his love to wane for Tasha? There was clearly something that drew him to her. Something that was strong enough for him to marry her and father three kids with her.
Maybe in the season 2 we’ll see more of how they met and what has kept them together for so many years. Maybe we won’t. I can’t promise that I’ll be here to find out because it’s hard to watch such poor depictions of women, especially on a series that started out with so much potential.
Tags: Angela Valdes, Ghost, James St. Patrick, Lela Loren, naturi naughton, omari hardwick, power, Repesentation, starz, Tasha St. Patrick, woc