Omari Hardwick and Naturi Naughton in season 1 episode 4 of the Starz series "Power"

Omari Hardwick and Naturi Naughton in season 1 episode 4 of the Starz series “Power”

*An unexpected issue came out of season one of the Starz drama “Power.”

Omari Hardwick stars as a drug kingpin trying hard to reinvent himself as a legitimate, by-the-book club promoter. Creator Courtney Kemp Agboh has developed a character that is both a bad guy (he commits adultry and the occasional murder) and a guy you root for to finally leave the drug game behind.

While James “Ghost” St. Patrick is written as one big shade of gray, there are a contingent of viewers who judge both the character and the actor in terms of black and white. There is the issue of Ghost cheating on his African American wife Tasha (Naturi Naughton) with a non-black woman.

Power 2014

Lela Loren and Omari Hardwick in a scene from the Starz series “Power”

The fact that race is more of an issue than the philandering itself hits close to home for Hardwick, who, along with his real wife, Jennifer Pfautch, became the target of searing, personal attacks on social media after paparazzi pics revealed that he had quietly married someone, and she was not black.

At the time, Hardwick frustration spilled onto Twitter with a flurry of responses, beginning with: “I wish all of you could experience celebrity for a week to understand the LEVEL of ugly in certain diseases (called human beings).”

Omari Hardwick wife

Omari Hardwick and wife Jennifer Pfautch

While attending the Television Critics Association Winter Tour Friday to promote “Power,” Hardwick touched on the bigger picture with this question: “Can we ever get to a place where black women feel a level of beauty that is not incumbent upon Omari to make them feel?”

“That is not my job,” he continued. “If anything, my job has been played out enough where they should go ‘I’m so proud of that man.’ You should not lose pride or faith in me because I fell in love.”

Hardwick, who revealed through People.com today that his wife is pregnant with their second child, continues below:

Season 2 of “Power” will premiere in the summer.

Watch a season 1 recap below: