How Many Languages Does Michael Rainey Jr. Speak? Here's the Full Scoop

Tatayana Yomary - Author

May 12 2023, Published 1:08 p.m. ET

Michael Rainey Jr. at the STARZ's "Power Book II: Ghost" Season 3 Dinner Reception on March 14, 2023
Source: Getty Images

One of the perks of being an actor is being exposed to various cultures and languages while traveling across the world. Not only does this help shape an actor’s view of the world, but it also helps them embrace the characters they portray.

Actor Michael Rainey Jr., best known for his portrayal of Tariq St. Patrick in the Power OG series and its spinoff Power Book II: Ghost, is a clear example of how acting can broaden your horizons.

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In Season 3 of Power Book II: Ghost, Tariq flies to Italy with Weston Holdings representatives to broker a business deal. Surprisingly to some viewers, Tariq assists with closing the deal after he reveals that he is fluent in Italian, unbeknownst to their prospective partners.

So, how many languages does Michael Rainey Jr. speak?

Here’s the 4-1-1.

Michael Rainey Jr. at the "Power Book lll: Raising Kanan" New York Premiere at Hammerstein Ballroom on July 15, 2021
Source: Getty Images
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How many languages does Michael Rainey Jr. speak?

Talk about a well-rounded talent!

On the April 18, 2023, episode of Michael and Gianni Paolo’s podcast, The Crew Has It, the hosts revealed that Michael — who is American — is also fluent in Italian.

“We went to a restaurant like a week ago and there was a really cute waitress that speaks Italian,” Gianni told guests Berto Colon and Ken Finn. “She comes up and I say, ‘My name is Gianni' and all this stuff. I’m speaking to her and she asked if I’m Italian and I said yes."

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Gianni continued, “All of a sudden, Michael started speaking fluent Italian to the lady and she looked at him like he had 10 heads. Michael pulls up with his chain on and he’s looking all cool and stuff and then he whips out Italian. Is there anything he can’t do?”

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Michael went on to share his story about learning Italian, which stems from his first role in the Italian film Un Altro Mondo.

“When I learned [Italian] it was my first movie, in Italy,” Michael said. “I lived in Italy for a year and a half in Rome. I was literally right by the Vatican, like a five-minute walk. It was crazy. It was beautiful. It was probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever been.”

Michael Rainey Jr. at H&R Block's Tax Prep Tailgate Games on Feb. 12, 2023
Source: Getty Images
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Michael Rainey Jr. is also fluent in Jamaican Patois.

Aside from Michael’s fluency in English and Italian, he also speaks Jamaican Patois (Patwah), which is a dialect spoken in Jamaica and among the Jamaican diaspora.

Languages Unlimited shares that Jamaican Patois "originated from the African slaves that were forced to work on the many plantations in the Caribbean.”

Unfortunately, many slaves who worked on Jamaican plantations spoke different languages. So, they created Jamaican Patois — a mix of African languages along with English, Portuguese, and Spanish — so they could communicate.

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Michael’s mother, Shauna Small, is a Jamaican native, which explains why the actor is knowledgeable and fluent in the dialect.

In fact, you can frequently see and hear Michael speaking Jamaican Patois through his content on social media.

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