Warning: spoilers ahead for last night's episode of "Power."
If you watched last night’s episode of “Power,” then you know that Anika Noni Rose’s villainous Jukebox has met her end. "I didn't know the arc beforehand," Rose says over the phone. "But, thankfully, Courtney [Kemp, Executive Producer of "Power"] gave me a call ahead of time to let me know that it was happening, and that it wasn't about me or the quality of my work."
Since season three, the American Conservatory Theatre alum has portrayed the menacing dirty cop with a frightening intensity, a big change from earlier roles like Tiana — the first black Disney Princess — in “The Princess and the Frog.” “I’d never had the chance to play a character like [Jukebox] before." “It was a nice challenge.”
Rose has steadily built a solid acting career over the years, with roles that revel in the black perspective — from a breathtaking turn in “A Raisin in the Sun” on Broadway to HBO’s “The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.” “Sometimes it is intentional and sometimes it’s just about the business,” she says. “There are some roles that I turn down because they just don’t resonate with me personally.”
The role of Jukebox, then? Definitely resonated. “Jukebox wouldn’t consider herself as evil per se,” Rose says. “She sees herself as someone who is tough but not really a villain. She is the way she is and I felt like I knew her.” And as far as researching dirty cops for the role goes, Rose quips, “we have plenty of examples in the news.”
These days, the media is flooded not only with news of cops gone bad, but with political scandals (collusion, anyone?) and legislative turmoil — like the healthcare fight that gripped our country last week. “Look at what’s happened with [Sen.] John McCain," the “Dreamgirls” star says. “He’s been someone who has been outspoken about how he thinks his party is going in the wrong direction, and then he [announces] he has a brain tumor."
She continues, “His situation highlights an important issue for our country. He’s lucky to be able to get the healthcare he needs, but that might not be a guarantee for every other person in this country because of what his party is trying to do to healthcare right now.”
And of course, you can’t talk politics without talking about President Trump — or his inability to control his itchy Twitter fingers. Rose herself is a fan of the app, using it as a means to inform and inspire activism among her followers. But she recognizes that the platform is better for some than others. “I don’t think that getting official announcements from someone who is the source of a lot of our fake news is the way that we should be getting them,” she says. “I get some of my news on Twitter, but from credible news sources. I don’t follow heads of state for news.”