Michael Rainey Jr. is a Jamaican-American actor who came into the limelight with the 2014 American crime drama ‘Power’ for playing the role of Tariq St. Patrick.
Michael Rainey Jr. was born on September 22, 2000 (age 20 years; as of 2020), and he hails from Louisville, Kentucky. He spent his childhood in Staten Island, New York City.
Beginning her career as an actor at the age of just seven, Michael was homeschooled by his mother. An avid lover of the game, Michael grew up playing basketball at the local YMCA, a nonprofit youth organization for recreational activities.
He was discovered by a talent scout at the age of nine when while strolling on the streets of New York with his mom. The fortunate encounter led him to work in TV commercials. After being cast in the Italian film ‘Un altro mondo’ (2010), Michael lived abroad for a year when he was ten years old. For his role in the film, he mastered the foreign language Italian. He was widely appreciated for his fluency in Italian. His spectacular performance caught the attention of the industry’s elite, which secured him a successful career on his return to the U.S.
Height (approx.): 5′ 7″
Hair Color: Black
Eye Color: Black
Family & Ethnicity
Michael Rainey Jr.’s mother, Shauna Small, is of Jamaican descent. The Hollywood Reporter. Diagnosed with Lupus, she underwent surgery in 2013. She runs an online portal, Relax be Healthy, which sells health and beauty products. She also works as Rainey’s business manager.
He was featured in the video of the Italian song “Il Regalo Più Grande” (2009) by Tiziano Ferro. In the video, Rainey appeared as a sweet-faced boy playing pitch and catch with his dad.
The Italian writer-director Silvio Muccino noticed Rainey’s potential when he saw him in the video of “Il Regalo Più Grande,” which repeatedly played on MTV Italia. The massively popular song paved the way for Michael into the 2010 Italian film ‘Un altro mondo.’
In 2010, Michael Rainey Jr. made his film debut with ‘Un altro mondo’ (2010) in which he played the lead role of Charlie. The film showcases the relationship between Andrea and his 8-year-old black half-brother, Charlie. After the death of their father, Andrea is entrusted with the custody of Charlie, an unbearable child that Andrea detests in the beginning, but soon, he grows fond of him.
He played the protagonist Woody in the 2012 American crime drama film ‘LUV.’ In the film, Woody is an 11-year-old boy who gets a crash course on manhood when he accompanies his charismatic uncle named Vincent, ex-convict, to a drug deal.
In the 2013 American historical drama film ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler,’ he played the younger version of the protagonist Cecil Gaines, a butler who serves eight presidents during his tenure at the White House.
In 2016, he starred as Jalen in the American comedy film ‘Barbershop: The Next Cut.’ The film centers around a barbershop owner named Calvin who adores the city of Chicago, which, unfortunately, has been plagued by gang violence and criminal activities. In the film, Calvin protects his son Jalen from the spoilt neighborhood by disrupting his attempt to join a gang.
In 2018, he appeared in the 2018 American sports drama film ‘Amateur’ in which he played the protagonist Terron Forte. The film highlights the challenges that the 14-year-old Terron Forte has to face to make his dream of playing professional basketball come true.
In 2018, Michael played the role of Kenny Rastell in the American crime-action film ‘211.’ In the film, Kenny is sent on a police ride-along as a punishment for involving in a quarrel with some high school bullies. During a routine patrol, Kenny witnesses a dangerous bank heist carried out by a crew of former mercenaries.
He secured his first acting gig at the age of seven when he appeared in the 1969 American educational children’s show ‘Sesame Street.’
In 2014, he starred in the television film ‘Second Chance Christmas’ (2014) in which he played the role of Lawrence. In the Christmas-themed family drama, Lawrence tries to bond with his stepfather after losing her mother in a horrific accident.
At the age of twelve, Michael secured himself a seminal role of Tariq St. Patrick in the American crime drama ‘Power’ (2014). In the series, Tariq is the son of the protagonist James St. Patrick, a drug kingpin who wishes to leave the criminal world to pursue legitimate business interests as a nightclub owner. In the third season (2016), Michael’s character Tariq emerged as a pivotal figure when he navigates his new criminal life. In Power Book II: (2020), Tariq became the protagonist of the show when he killed his father and assumed his legacy.
In 2013, Michael made his digital debut when he played the recurring role of Sophia Burset’s son, Michael Burset, in the American comedy-drama ‘Orange Is the New Black.’ Unable to accept that his biological father is transgender, Michael gets back at Sophia by reporting her crime to the police.
In 2018, he appeared in an episode of the interview-style YouTube series ‘Shoot Your Shot.’ Exhibiting the basketball culture, the show’s host Brandon Armstrong interviews a new celebrity guest while they shoot hoops.
Since childhood, Michael has been devoted to philanthropy. He inherits this quality from his mother, Shauna Small, who actively makes various charities.
In 2015, while shooting for the film ‘Barbershop: The Next Cut,’ Michael distributed water and snacks to the homeless people who were staying outside his hotel. The young actor is also known to be an animal person who supported a charity coin “The Bingus Project” in 2021, which aims at raising money for animal rescues and shelters. During the coronavirus pandemic, Michael Rainey Jr., in collaboration with the Kingston Eastern Division of Police, distributed digital tablets to underprivileged children, which aided them in attending school online.
- Michael’s eye-catching performance in the 2014 television series ‘Power’ has garnered him hate in real life. People have forgotten that the malevolent character of Tariq is fictional. In an interview, while sharing an incident, he said,
I have endless stories, but I remember one time, I was walking out of a party and this man literally pushed me like, ‘Why would you kill Ghost!’ But my friends stepped to him and I had to tell them to chill before they put that boy in the blender.”
- Michael is a dual citizenship holder of the US and Jamaica.
- As a basketball enthusiast, he is a fan of the New York Knicks, an American professional basketball team based in the New York City borough of Manhattan.
- He is an avid dog lover.
- His favorite rappers are 50 Cent and Method Man.