EXCLUSIVE | 'Power Book II: Ghost': LaToya Tonodeo says Mary J Blige makes playing her daughter 'enjoyable'
After six strong years of keeping us hooked on to drugs and drama galore, 'Power' wrapped up with Season 6 earlier in 2020. Producer 50 Cent had taken to social media right away to announce that fans wouldn't have to swim in withdrawal for long as a spin-off was in the works. The fact that it was titled 'Power Book II: Ghost' was hint enough that even though he was dead, James "Ghost" St Patrick's story was far from over.
Carrying his legacy forward would be his killer and son — Taris St Patrick after his mother Tasha takes the fall for her son and gets incarcerated. With a backdrop already this intense, anticipation for the spinoff was further amplified by the fact that Mary J Blige would be playing the role of its heroine — Monet. A more street smart drug kingpin than Ghost ever was, Monet's story will draw her to the lives of the St Patricks.
The reason? Her daughter, Diana, played by Latoya Tonodeo, who tells us ahead of the premiere what's in store for the character and how she fits into the Tariq and Tasha equation.
"Diana is of course the princess of the family," Tonodeo tells MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) in an exclusive chat, adding that her character is "intelligent, but at the same time, learning the game. There's like a really nice vulnerability about her that should not be taken as a weakness at all because she's definitely strong. I feel like a lot of the things that Diana possesses I have in myself, so it was only right that I made sure I studied and did what I needed to do to present the best audition I could."
Teased as a powerhouse of brains and smarts, Diana's mother Monet is the real star of the show that still tails the St Patricks closely. And considering that Mary J Blige is onboard as Monet, playing her daughter can be intimidating. But Tonodeo will have you believe it's not all that. "Sometimes it's so shocking that not only am I on my favorite show, but I'm also playing Mary's daughter. The experience is really cool because she makes it easy. She does not act like a diva. She's very humble. She is very sweet, very kind. So the room is warm. It's enjoyable for sure."
However, Tonodeo would clarify the relationship between their on-screen personas is far from perfect. "It's like a push and pull, a tug of war, of sorts," Tonodeo spills about the dynamics between Monet and Diana. "Even though she loves her mom and there's a lot of admiration for her, there are a lot of challenges. Diana feels like she's a young woman and she can do what she wants, make decisions on her own. But Monet is the boss, she runs the house. So it's a realistic mother-daughter relationship." Isn't that something to look forward to?
Assuring that the spin-off will be every bit as power-packed, dynamic and filled with twists to keep fans hooked as the parent show, Diana finally answers the one question fans have been gnawed with. How does she fit into Tariq's life and does her introduction help the mother-son duo get acquitted? Tonodeo spills that while her Diana is still learning the game, trying to find her footing, Tariq's arc isn't all that different from hers.
"You will see him (Tariq) just navigating, trying to figure out how to make things work for his family, how to make things work for school. That's all I'm gonna say," Tonodeo seals it off quickly. As for how Diana falls into the equation, it's worth noting that she is around the same age as Tariq — hinting at the possibility of the two of them meeting at university as he goes on to pursue his mother's dreams for his future.
But she does tease at one point or the other in the spin-off, "There's a lot of attributes Tariq has that Diana can definitely pull and learn from, and it will be nice to see how she uses the tools that she gathers from him." Vague, but just enough to keep our speculative caps on about the possibility of a romance between the two!
Catch Tonodeo as Diana in the upcoming spin-off 'Power Book II: Ghost' premiering this September 6 at 9/8c on Starz.