“Raising Kanan” is back and season two is already starting off with a bang. The 50 Cent-produced STARZ drama aired its first episode on Sunday (Aug. 14) and fans are already yearning for more.
In an exclusive interview, REVOLT was able to chat with stars Patina Miller (who portrays Raquel Thomas) and Mekai Curtis (who plays her son, Kanan Stark) about the new season, the business traits their “Raising Kanan” characters have that rising entrepreneurs should pay attention to, and how Kanan and Raq’s relationship will be tested.
Kanan was able to see life outside of New York while Raq stayed within her Queens perimeter. How will both of their outlooks on life shift their relationship in season two?
Miller: At the beginning of season two, Raq was on the top of the world and had everything she wanted. The only thing is her home life is not as you think. There’s a sacrifice to being on top like that, and the sacrifice that all of her relationships are kind of a little bit in disarray. The biggest relationship is the one with her and Kanan. When she goes to pick him up from Virginia, he’s been there for three months and she obviously misses him, but she knows that there’s going to be questions since she’s choosing to bring him back into town where she knows that Howard is still alive — that’s a bit of a bold choice, right? Raq being smart and the manipulator that she is, she’s ready to turn it and get Kanan to be okay. That means bringing him into the business and connecting with him again because she knows the consequences of what she sent him to do. For my character, the relationship that needs to be strong and rock solid is with her son, Kanan, and it’s not. Season two is all about the effects of that relationship and how it plays on everything else.
Curtis: It’s kind of the same thing for Kanan in a way because that relationship is probably the most solid thing in his life. Quite literally, his life is kind of built, essentially, around his relationship with his mother. Raq has the escape of being able to focus on anything else or whatever, but Raquel is Kanan’s center of his universe. For anything in the world to be thrown off or broken or fractured lately, in season two, it sends him into a tailspin in a way, but he’s trying to figure out things outside of Raquel. Kanan wants to piece together who he is and what he wants to do, what he’s going to do, but yet and still trying to figure out how to balance what to do with Raq. It’s an interesting balancing act that takes place.
Throughout the series, there are a few moments when Kanan parents his mom Raq instead of the other way around. How do you both bring the best out of each other in season two?
Curtis: Kanan and Raq know each other very well — they know how to push each other’s buttons. During the second season, Kanan is coming into his own a bit more and starting to ask more questions. Kanan is seeking out answers to questions he’s asked Raq before and getting different answers than what she provided him with. Kanan begins to become a reflection of Raq in a sense and while Raq is privy to this, she constantly avoids it. It’s a reflective moment for both Kanan and Raq, which is cool to see.
Miller: Viewers will also get to watch Kanan and Raquel play with each other. Both characters know how to communicate with each other without speaking a word, which is the beauty of a lot of their conversations — it’s unspoken, but they are having a whole different conversation under the surface. In season two, you really get to see how they both go into each other in all of the scenes that Mekai and I were able to do together.
What is one trait or strategy from your “Raising Kanan” character that you think today’s entrepreneurs and young go-getters should pay attention to and master?
Curtis: I would say Kanan’s willingness and attentiveness. He will go above and beyond to get more insight and put extra work in to gain clarity on answers fully instead of remaining an observer.
Miller: I would say it’s the same thing for Raq — she accesses a situation and will find out the information needed from who has the idea and speaking with the people who has the insight she’s looking for. Raq is really good at getting the information she needs to gain what she’s looking for down the line. She looks at the big picture and is very calculated when it comes to business.
Hip hop and Black culture are also at the center of “Raising Kanan.” Patina, name a hip hop pioneer or icon you’d most like to play in a biopic and tell us why.
How you gon’ throw that on me like that? (laughs). I don’t know if I would ever be cast as Queen Latifah, but I loved her transition from music to acting. I love the life she built for herself. She’s a hip hop pioneer from back in the day, so why not?
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