Last Updated on August 7, 2022 by Administrator
Courtney A. Kemp Biography
Courtney A. Kemp is an American television writer and producer who created the 2014 Starz series, Power. She has also written for such shows as The Good Wife and Beauty & the Beast.
She grew up in Westport, Connecticut, and began reading college textbooks at the age of eight. By the time she was 10 years old, she had begun reading plays by William Shakespeare, eventually coming up with her own stories.
Later in 1994, Courtney graduated from Staples High School and went on to receive her bachelor’s degree from Brown University as well as her Master’s in English Literature from Columbia University.
Courtney A. Kemp Age
Courtney is 41 years old as of 2018. He was born on May 4, 1977.
Courtney A. Kemp Parents
Courtney’s parents are Herbert Kemp Jr. and Dolores Kemp. In 2011, Courtney lost her father and the first episode of Power was dedicated in his memory.
Courtney A. Kemp Photo
Courtney A. Kemp Husband
Courtney is divorced. In a reply tweet in 2016, she revealed that Agboh was her married name but she no longer uses it. The tweet read; “Again Agboh was my married name & my ex-husband’s family is from Ghana. It is technically a Nigerian name. They are from Accra.”
Courtney A. Kemp Production Company | Courtney A. Kemp Power
At the age of 26, Courtney left Westport and went to Los Angeles, California, to further pursue her dream as a television writer and where she garnered her big break by becoming a staff writer for the then-Fox hit series The Bernie Mac Show.
She later then began writing for other television shows such as Eli Stone, Justice and Beauty & the Beast (a 2012 remake of the 1987 series of the same name) before eventually becoming increasingly known for her writing of episodes for the CBS political drama series The Good Wife.
Later on when she met rapper 50 Cent and executive producer Mark Canton at a coffeehouse in Los Angeles, her idea for what would become the first series she ever sold and pitched, Power, came about where she thought up the concept of a guy who becoming destined to leave his life as a drug dealer behind him to become a successful club owner and businessman.
She would later pen the script to Power with Canton and 50 alongside her, both serving as executive producers and the show was greenlit by Starz on June 17, 2013, with an ordered eight-episode first season set to air the following year.
Courtney A. Kemp And 50 Cent
Courtney A. Kemp Nominations
- Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series-(2011)- The Good Wife
- Writers Guild of America Award for Television: Dramatic Series – (2012) – The Good Wife
Courtney A. Kemp Net Worth
Courtney has a net worth of $11 million.
Courtney A. Kemp Twitter
Courtney A. Kemp Instagram
Courtney A. Kemp Interview
Adopted from: http://thesource.com
Interviewer: Everyone who we spoke to raved about how much of an presence and influence you’ve been to the project and how excited they are to work with you and how hands on you’ve been. Can you tell us a little bit about what it’s been like for you so far?
Courtney A. Kemp: I’ve never worked this hard in my whole life. It is an intense, 24 hour a day job. I’m very grateful, very humbled for the opportunity that not a lot of people have to create a television show that goes on the air. I didn’t have a pilot process with this show, it went straight to series. I learned a lot on the fly and still learning. Show Running is an incredibly difficult job that encompasses working with actors, working with directors, writing, making decisions like which fabric is that sofa gonna be, it’s so interesting because I always had this idea of what the penthouse was gonna be, but then I have to communicate to Dan Davis, our production designer, this is what I want it to look like. And then there are plans and then you see the plans and you pick the material and the floor and then it’s here. This figment of your imagination is here, so part of my job is communicating that. There are so many different aspects to what I do and it’s all-encompassing. It’s really important to take a moment and be grateful for it because if you don’t it’ll go by you like that. In terms of my experience working with 50, he’s amazing. First of all, we met … we kind of constructed this project together. I didn’t expect him to be as wonderful, as warm, loving, hilarious as he is because I was expecting 50 Cent. But my friend is Curtis. That’s the person that I hang out with, that’s the person I work with as a creative collaborator, but I will say, and it’s super important to say, is that he’s an incredible storyteller. You know, rap artists and country music artists tell stories, so they’re all storytellers. This guy has a great sense of character, a great sense of beginning, middle, and end, just story in general. He’s better than some people I’ve worked with who are professional writers. He’s just…brilliant and I didn’t expect any of that. The first time I met him I was just, ‘Oh. It’s the rap artist 50 Cent. What’s this gonna be like? Or are we just gonna talk about music?’ But no. We dove into these characters, we dove into these constructions and into these stories so it’s been a remarkable process. One that I never could have imagined, one that I never could have predicted to work with him on this project.
Interviewer:How did you guys end up meeting?
Courtney A. Kemp: Mark Canton. He’s an EP on the show. A while ago, Mark and 50 had an idea for sort of a music-driven TV series. And then my agency, CAA, kind of represented all of us at the time. I’m telling you the true Hollywood story which is where agents send you into room after room, ‘Will you work with these people?! Do you want to work with these people?! So I had been working on a project that was not like this but was an action-y thing that I wanted to do a personal passion project and I hadn’t gotten it off the ground. But I went in to meet with Mark and Mark brought me to meet with 50.
Interviewer: This is the first show that you ever sold so tell us what’s it’s like and what excites you most about working alongside 50 Cent and such an incredible group of actors for “Power”?
Courtney A. Kemp: I love them so much and I’m sure you guys had a great time with the two of them together, they’re very funny (50 and Omari). We’re very fortunate here that no one is standoffish or rude or unkind. I told them, not 50 obviously, but I told my actors I don’t tolerate that. We should work as a collective…we’re all here for the same goal. Everyone has their own agenda, you’ll find that to be true in any endeavor. I used to be a journalist, I was a magazine journalist…
Interviewer: What magazine?
Courtney A. Kemp: I worked at Mademoiselle, I worked at GQ for three years and during that time I was coming up as an editing assistant and then an assistant editor and when I was doing that I was freelancing for Vibe or Timeout and I was just writing all the time to try and do anything I could to get on as a writer. But we all talk about this…this is such a huge opportunity for all of us. It’s my first show I ever pitched, it’s the first show I ever sold, it’s the first pilot I ever wrote for money, and then they said yes. I don’t get to be a jerk. I don’t get to be anything, but humble and grateful and the same goes for every one of us because this is the first time that, for example, Omari gets to be number one on the call sheet. This is the first time that 50 has created a TV show, you know, that’s a scripted television show. It’s a first for all of us, so we have to stay humble and be prepared and show up and just be grateful and live in the gratitude of it.
Interviewer: In terms of the character and the story, obviously 50 comes from a very personal connection to it, so from your end…how did you connect to the world that takes place and to the characters?
Courtney A. Kemp: Well obviously I’m not from 50’s background, I’m from Westport, Connecticut so that’s pretty much as far away from that as you can get. But growing up in Westport I was the only black person for miles. Not the only one, my cousins lived there for a while and then they moved and so I was pretty much toast. And I’m not from a lower middle-class background at all, I’m from an upper-middle-class background. But because there was no one of my race where I grew up, I was very isolated. I felt very different. And New York–because I was in Connecticut–New York was this place I felt I would eventually get to and I’d eventually get there and succeed. That’s not different from Curtis’ experience, we grew up in an outer-borough, you look at the city and you say I’ll get to the city. Someday I will get to the city. For me, it was like the city was where all the black people were and where stuff was happening and I wanted to get there and I wanted to succeed. I wanted to get to New York. That’s not actually different from the whole idea that Ghost gets to Manhattan and opens a club in Manhattan and lives in a penthouse in Manhattan. That’s 50’s journey but it also relates to me. And then the isolation of being different is universal. All of us feel different. I went to see someone speaking and he was talking about how the things that we do to ourselves that are negative, whatever they are…drink, overeat, have too much sex, whatever people do…they all come from an overwhelming sense of not belonging. And to not belong is something that’s human. Just like pretending to be something you’re not is human. All these elements in the show…you may not be a drug dealer, you have something in common with those that are. You’re pretending to be someone you’re not, you’re lying to people in your life, you’re having an affair, you fall in love with the one that got away, you’re not happy with your marriage, you’re trying to be a good parent, you’re morally compromised, you’re tired, you’re weak, you make mistakes, you’re human. We should all be doing that.
Interviewer: During this set visit we’re getting an exclusive look inside, and everyone here seems to be having a really great time. Can you tell us about a funny moment on set and why it’s so fun working with this cast and crew?
Courtney A. Kemp: I think the funniest moment for me was, Anthony Hemingway who directed episodes one and two, we were doing a sex scene between Naturi Naughton and Omari Hardwick and we were blocking it which means setting up the shots and everything. And Anthony acted out both parts. So he laid down and got on all four’s and that was so funny. There’s always something silly happening because I like to keep a silliness. I’m not a tremendously serious person about all of it. You just can’t be, you just can’t. It just makes it a long day.
Interviewer: A lot of the story reminds me a lot of “Boardwalk Empire.” Do you feel like that’s an apt comparison?
Courtney A. Kemp: Never watched it. I don’t watch a lot of TV because I have a three-year-old. The TV that I do watch is “Archer,” “Chosen,” and I watch “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” I don’t watch a lot of scripted television because it’s not relaxing for me. That’s my job. I guess when I was in magazines I did read other magazines, so it wasn’t the same but I definitely don’t watch other shows. That’s cool and I’ll take it, but I haven’t watched that show enough to comment on it fully.
Interviewer: Is it the same case for “The Wire,” have you ever watched that?
Courtney A. Kemp: I did watch some of “The Wire.” “The Wire” is a very gritty, realistic show that is less about all the individual characters as it was about setting up that world and the stakes of that world and in and out of that world. This show is not like that. It’s very much about being grounded in relationships and these long term emotional things. We really have a main character here. “The Wire” is more diffuse. So this is really a story about a character, Omari’s character, and obviously, people that come to that branch out from him. It’s just a different structure altogether.
Interviewer: Before, Omari said he spent some time in Queens to get the all-world feel of it. Since you come from a different world did you spend time in that environment to sort of get into that world?
Courtney A. Kemp: No, I spent a lot of time on the phone with 50. I spent a lot of time with 50. That’s actually how, again going back to the idea of research, I wanted to hear him talk about it. This is just me, I’m not an actor, Omari’s version is different because he has to embody it. But when you go in as a journalist, you guys know, you bring yourself with you into the journalism right, so you bring your own perceptions into the journalism. I didn’t want to bring myself into Queens, I wanted to bring Queens out to me. The best way to do that is to listen to 50 and to listen to his cadence and listen to his words and how he describes what it was like when he was there. The same that you’re listening to me. It’s sometimes interview journalism, reporting, that’s the most important thing. It’s like when you go and you report yourself you bring your own thoughts. So the nicest house on the block to 50 in his neighborhood might not be a very nice house to me. But if that’s the house he grew up looking at and going, ‘That’s where I want to be,’ I’m not gonna get that from going myself. I’m only gonna get that from hearing him talk.
Interviewer: What personal goals and successes do you want to see with this show?
Courtney A. Kemp: It’s a really good question and I have a really difficult, annoying answer for you. I work very hard to have no expectations. Expectations bring resentment. That is a slogan for my whole life. When you expect something and you don’t get it, that is how you get hurt. So I try to work very hard to…I wouldn’t say I keep my expectations low just to have none, to go in my day and just be in that day and if I were to say ideally what I wish would happen, I hope the show’s good. I can’t even say I hope people like it. That would be a common thing to say. I hope the show is good and at the end of the day even if nobody watches it, I knew that I put out the best possible product and that I have done my best every single day to do that and that would be the only thing that I say…I have high expectations of myself and my behavior but if I can pull this off, tell good stories, not hurt anybody, be kind, be responsible, and put together a good product then I’ve done my job. As well as being a mom, a wife, and all that crap. I would like very much to show up and do my best. That is my expectation.
Interviewer: How do you balance your life with having your show, being a wife, being a mother, how are you finding balance with it all?
Courtney A. Kemp: There is no balance. I don’t actually think that there is. … I think that you can show up and do the best that you can with what’s in front of you at the moment. The thing that’s in front of me at this moment is doing the interview, and I’ll do the best that I can in that interview. This will be over, then I’m gonna have to go upstairs and tone a script. Tone a script means talking to the director about all the different emotions that go through the script. I will do the best that I can at that moment. And then I will have to face time with my daughter and I will do the best that I can in that moment. You know what I mean? I actually can’t think about how to balance it all because if I do there’s just no way.
Interviewer: You said your goal is to just make a good show, when you’re making the show and coming up with everything do you think about life after the season? Now, what’s really big is binge-watching and watching the whole thing at once. So do you think about how it’s gonna play out?
Courtney A. Kemp: I don’t think about it that way but I will tell you this. I have worked on several television shows with the idea it was good. But it was an idea for a feature. It wasn’t really multiple seasons worth of ideas. And so you get into that writer’s room and you’re like…oh snap, we don’t have any more story to tell. So, definitely constructing the series because…the old rule of thumb, it’s not this way anymore, but the old rule of thumb is you really want to go in and pitch a show you needed to know what five years of that show would look like. You needed to be able to tell the television executive in year four, this, in year five, that. If you work with me, you will hear me say in year four we’ll do this, in year five we’ll do that, because I do have a plan. I have a five-year plan because … you shouldn’t pitch a show without it. Because if you can…if you pitch a show without one…that means that there may not be a year four and five and you may get into a situation where ‘Yay we got renewed! …oh we got renewed.’ So I don’t think about binge-watching as much as I think about…in year three I’m gonna have to come up with some stories if I’m fortunate enough to get there and I don’t wanna cut myself off or put myself in a situation where there’s no more story to tell. No more story to tell should be the thing where you go, ‘Wow, you know, season eight, I’m done.’ This is the end of that journey.