Actor, poet and star of the breakout hit, “Power”, Omari Latif Hardwick grew up in Decatur, Georgia. His parents gave him a name to set a precedent – “Omari” means “most high,” and “Latif” means “gentle.”
“I, in no way, believe that I am the highest or most high, but I feel like my name gives me something to strive for,” says Omari.
Growing up, sports were everything to Hardwick, but he still had a passion for the arts. By the age of 14, Hardwick was writing poetry on a regular basis, a passion he would carry with him into adulthood. In high school, he excelled at basketball, baseball, and went on to play college football. Although a star on the field, Hardwick never gave up his passion for acting, and even minored in theater in college.
In nearly every facet of his life, Hardwick has two sides. Just like now he’s sports guy, but also a serious actor and poet–a straight up artist. But it all works. “I would say, as loving as I am … I am definitely an extremely temperamental man who has a very large temper,” he told BuzzFeed. But it’s his job as an actor that pulls it all together. “Acting is the art of being and existing, and not being fake,” he added.
When Omari knew his dream was to start acting, that’s all he had, a dream. When he moved to L.A., he was homeless and living out of his Ford Focus. If it wasn’t for his surrogate mom and dad, Denzel Washington and his wife Pauletta, his career would have been delayed even more. They took him, gave him money, food, and mentored him through this business.
In one instagram post, Omari took a trip back down memory lane to honor his big brother father figure, Denzel.
“So long ago…a fellowship with Uncle Dre, Pops, Auntie P, & Jamil to celebrate your boy, my 1st little brother outside of my own. Where my mind is in this pic….who knows. But you & i of course the 2 capricorns not giving much of an ounce to a smile. But beaming on the inside. Proud of injured John David for running the ball thru a brick wall. & perhaps proud that we answered God’s call to run our run thru walls of steel. YOU ran sooo strongly thru the front line of an industry iron clad with “No’s” to people colored US….that you literally bent the bars of the N and the O into a Y, an E, & an S. You made room not only in your home for me, loaning me your family to be mine away from my own…but you too made room for me & countless others to dance our dance, talk our talk, stare our stare, & art our art. And for me…the greatest provision from you was believing i could leave a mark in that room on my own merit & craft. John David & i and Kati, Livi and Malc will always find strength in the fact (as Uncle Dre’ would say): that “you done done it!” And i say you done done it the best.”
Another saving grace for Omari was his athleticism.
“I attribute sports to being a huge part my success in entertainment business,” says Omari. “Being on the field taught me dedication and discipline. I already came from a strict household when I was growing up,…