Being Mary Jane Co-Star Omari Hardwick: 3 Life Lessons From Playing The Field

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Actor and poet 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.

“I hugely attribute sports to 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, and sports just took that to another level. Whenever I approach a set, I always feel as though the cast, crew, director, are all part of a team. I have always married athletics and art, two huge parts of my life.”

After graduating from college, Hardwick relocated to San Diego for a spot on the San Diego Chargers (NFL). However, a knee injury cut his football career short.

Despite this setback in his sports career, his acting career continues to shine. Omari has been featured on numerous TV shows, including Saved and Dark Blue. He’s also appeared in several films, including Spike Lee’s Miracle at St. Anna, The A-Team, Kick-Ass and Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls.

Omari currently appears on the hit BET series, Being Mary Jane. He has also written over 4,000 poems.

Omari’s Life Lessons


Football requires a unique brand of teamwork. When you’re a part of a team, understanding your role and trusting your teammates to know their role is critical.


Football provides a variety of challenges that will test (and help to build) your perseverance. You will sometimes lose a game, and you will sometimes have to deal with situations that will challenge you emotionally, physically and mentally.


Football requires the player to discipline themselves and to work hard. There is also a beautiful life lesson in the scrutiny and evaluation process.

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