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Chicago’s Larenz Tate isn’t done being a ‘Power’ player

The actor, who is set to reprise his role on a spinoff of the Starz hit, says he drew on his knowledge of local politics to play the corrupt councilman.

Chicago natives Lahmard and Larenz Tate.
Chicago natives Lahmard and Larenz Tate pose during a recent hometown visit to Chicago.
Jermaine Nolen/Sun-Times

Hailing from “the 60644,” near Columbus Park on the West Side, Larenz Tate was able to draw from Chicago’s storied political history for his character as Councilman Rashad Tate in Starz’s “Power.”

It’s a role that wasn’t the initial plan for him.

“I originally was going to play the lawyer, Terry Silver. I was working on another project so I couldn’t do it. I called the creator of the show, Courtney Kemp, and I was like, ‘Look, I still want to be on the show. What do you need me to do? I’m happy to do an episode.’ And she said, ‘Listen, I have a character that we’re working on. It’s actually more than one episode. So, that would be about four episodes. Would you be interested?’ I said, ‘Absolutely,’” Tate told the Sun-Times during a recent trip home.

The corrupt New York councilman, who is a former police officer, was introduced in season four and rode the wave until the series ended in February after six seasons.

His inspiration for the role?

“Chicago politics. … Just the history of our politics, an understanding it’s a cold world out here. There’s a certain kind of grit that Chicago has that is palpable enough that we can have a grittiness to us, but it’s one of those things that we know how to smooth out. It’s something we can navigate, and it’s the thing that kind of keeps most people who are from Chicago thriving. I think that’s what I brought to Rashad,” he said.

He even got a chance to work on the show with one of his older brothers, Lahmard Tate, who played a cop and his brother.

The brothers are used to working behind-the-scenes on projects with their other brother, Larron Tate, through their company TateMen Entertainment. But to be onscreen together, feeding off their real relationship, was magical.

“The impact was amazing. It was a special moment for us and the viewers. It had been a long time coming for us to get back together in front of the camera vs. creatively behind the scenes. And to convey a bond through TV and it be captured and given to the world, man, what an awesome time,” Lahmard Tate said.

The end of “Power” doesn’t mean the end of Rashad, who is set to headline an upcoming spinoff series starring Larenz Tate. Another spinoff, “Power Book II: Ghost,” premieres Sunday.

“I think I’m going to pop in an episode just to kind of see my character so you don’t lose any of the ‘Power’ characters that are coming. You’ll see a few that will bleed in and out, just as a reminder,” Tate said.

Also Sunday, Tate delves more into his family life and iconic roles such as Darius Lovehall in “Love Jones” on the third season opener of “Uncensored” on TV One. The 1997 love story set in Chicago was the first time he got a chance to work at home.