When Omari Hardwick’s parents gave him a name meaning “most high,” they set a standard by which the Georgia native has aspired to live his entire life.  And although he’s far too humble to admit it, by all outside accounts, he’s succeeding.

As a star athlete at the University of Georgia, Omari exhibited a skill and physical prowess that would open the doors to a career in the National Football League with the San Diego Chargers.  But when a knee injury sidelined him, permanently, Omari decided to pursue his other love – acting.

“A lot of people don’t know I used to be a pro football player,” he said. “But I did a lot of things before I finally got into acting. I was a school teacher, too.”

To say that Omari Hardwick understands the struggle that every artist goes through is an understatement. He candidly shares his experiences as an aspiring actor who, like so many of his famous counterparts, juggled odd jobs and slept in his car, for a time, while working to keep his dream alive.   


His big break finally came in 2003 – when he landed his first feature role on Spike Lee’s “Sucker Free City.” Since then, he has been traversing the worlds of both film and television.  Fans will remember him as undercover cop Ty Curtis in the TNT series  “Dark Blue” starring Dylan McDermott.  And his roles in films like Next Day Air, Gridiron Gang and The A-Team established him as a favorite  talent among film casting directors.

He notes, “I felt like I had arrived when I went back to one of my odd jobs that had let me go several years prior, and I looked out over Sunset Boulevard right next to the Chateau Marmont, and saw myself plastered on a billboard overlooking the city. I had to break down a little at that point, it was a big moment for me.”

From low-budget indie features, to starring alongside Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher in the action film The Guardian, Omari brings to every set the charm, talent and professionalism that has made him one of Hollywood’s most highly sought-after actors.  His sincerity shines through in his portrayal of the loveable yet financially challenged Levi in Sparkle, and he brings a depth and complexity to his role as “Carl” in Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls.  

This summer, cable audiences will delight in seeing him star alongside Gabrielle Union in the upcoming BET series “Being Mary Jane.”

An accomplished and prolific poet, Omari has penned more than 4,000 poems – some of which he performs in his leading man role as “Curtis”  in the Charles Murray-helmed indie feature Things Never Said.  

Last June, Omari took the reins from actor Hill Harper as the host of TV-One’s hit series “Verses and Flow.”  “Verses and Flow” revives the familiar slam poetry stylings of films like Love Jones and Russell Simmons’ “Def Poetry Jam” in a sultry lounge setting.

As the show’s host, Omari is, without question, in his element. Guests who are fortunate enough to attend a taping of the Lexus-sponsored show are treated to cocktails and hors d’oeuvres prior to the show in an intimate setting where Omari chats and interacts with audiences members bewteen takes with ease.  Omari also shows off his own poetic prowess as he smoothly freestyles between poet performances on topics ranging from romance to race relations and world affairs.


Omari Hardwick from the stage of Verses and Flow

 In addition to poetry, the show’s format includes 2-song sets from celebrity musical guests. Season three will feature sexy performances from some of the biggest names in the business including the likes of  Anthony Hamilton, Mary Mary and “Jilly from Philly” – the multitalented Jill Scott.

Jill Scott performs on Verses and Flow

With the body of an athlete and the soul of a poet, Omari Hardwick is an irresistible and seamless blend of paradoxes: edgy yet engaging, totally disciplined yet fluid and improvisiational.  His middle name, Latif, means “gentle” and you’d be hard-pressed to find a kinder spirit or a finer gentleman anywhere.

“Being Mary Jane” will premiere on BET on July 2.  For more information, please visit:

Check out poets and past musical guests from Verses & Flow at:

Stay connected with Omari and sample some of his poetry, please visit:


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