The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Malik Yoba

Share on Social Media

Information about Malik Yoba

Profile image of Malik Yoba

Profession

Category:
EntertainmentMakers
Occupation(s):
Actor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Gray
Favorite Food:
New York Pizza
Favorite Time of Year:
Warm Weather
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
Lean Not On Your Own Understanding.

Birthplace

Born:
9/17/1967
Birth Location:
Bronx, New York

Profession

Category:
EntertainmentMakers
Occupation(s):
Actor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Gray
Favorite Food:
New York Pizza
Favorite Time of Year:
Warm Weather
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
Lean Not On Your Own Understanding.

Birthplace

Born:
9/17/1967
Birth Location:
Bronx
See how Malik Yoba is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Actor and youth activist Malik Yoba was born Abdul-Malik Kashie Yoba on September 17, 1967 in the Bronx, New York to Erutan Abdullah Yoba and Mahmoudah Young Lanier. He was raised as a Sunni Muslim in East Harlem. Yoba earned his high school diploma in 1989 from City-As-School in Manhattan, New York.

In 1983, Yoba began working at the Negro Ensemble Theatre in concessions, as an usher, and in other roles. He joined the City Kids Foundation, an arts-education focused youth leadership organization, in 1986, beginning as a volunteer and eventually becoming vice president of the Foundation in 1991. Yoba’s acting career began in 1989 with a small AIDS-education film called Seriously Fresh. In 1991, he landed a starring role in the Disney film Cool Runnings. In 1994, while making an appearance in an episode of Law & Order, Yoba auditioned for a new Fox television police drama called New York Undercover, receiving the lead role of NYPD Detective J. C. Williams. He and his co-star Michael DeLorenzo made history as the first cop-drama featuring actors of color in both leading roles. Yoba went on to star in several television series, such as Bull, Thief, Defying Gravity, Alphas, and Revolution. He also continued his film career, starring in movies like Smoke, CopLand, Soul Food, Why Did I Get Married? and its sequel Why Did I Get Married Too?, and Betty and Coretta. Yoba starred in the David E. Talbert play His Woman, His Wife in 2000, touring the country with the production. In 2011, he began teaching a course entitled “The Working Actor” at Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus. Yoba co-founded and launched iconic32, a lifestyle company and innovation studio, in 2014. That same year, he joined the cast of the Fox series Empire, starring alongside actor Terrence Howard.

In 1994, The New York Times named Yoba one of 30 young artists under the age of 30 who would change American culture in the next thrity years. Yoba was honored with three NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series in 1996, 1997, and 1998 for his work on New York Undercover. He founded the Malik Yoba Fatherhood Project in 2001, and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. inducted Yoba as an honorary brother in 2009.

Yoba lives in New York, New York, and has three children, Josiah, Dena, and Pria.

Malik Yoba was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 9, 2014.

See how Malik Yoba is related to other HistoryMakers
Loading...
Click Here To Explore The Archive Today!
  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Malik Yoba's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Malik Yoba lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Malik Yoba describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Malik Yoba talks about his father's upbringing
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Malik Yoba recalls his father's conversion to Sunni Islam
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Malik Yoba describes how his parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Malik Yoba describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Malik Yoba describes his earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Malik Yoba describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Malik Yoba describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Malik Yoba talks about his family's living arrangements
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Malik Yoba describes his early experiences of religion
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Malik Yoba describes the demographics of his neighborhood in the Bronx, New York
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Malik Yoba talks about the influence of his Sunni Muslim upbringing
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Malik Yoba describes his home life
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Malik Yoba describes his siblings' experiences in his father's household
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Malik Yoba talks about his conversion to Buddhism
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Malik Yoba describes his mother's influence on his artistic ability
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Malik Yoba talks about his early education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Malik Yoba remembers his early interest in acting
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Malik Yoba talks about his experiences with diversity in New York City
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Malik Yoba recalls working for the Negro Ensemble Company
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Malik Yoba describes his early acting aspirations
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Malik Yoba describes his early love for the theater
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Malik Yoba reflects upon his determination to succeed as an actor
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Malik Yoba talks about his current project, 'From Harlem to Hollywood'
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Malik Yoba remembers the World Peace Culture Festival in Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Malik Yoba recalls working with The CityKids Foundation, Inc.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Malik Yoba talks about his experiences with The CityKids Foundation, Inc. in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Malik Yoba recalls the celebrity support for The CityKids Foundation, Inc.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Malik Yoba remembers landing a role in 'Cool Runnings'
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Malik Yoba talks about the impact of Buddhism on his career
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Malik Yoba remembers reconciling with his father
  • Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Malik Yoba reflects upon the early stages of his film career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Malik Yoba remembers Bruce Willis' acting advice
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Malik Yoba describes his approach to screen acting
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Malik Yoba remembers joining the cast of 'New York Undercover'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Malik Yoba talks about the initial success of 'New York Undercover'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Malik Yoba recalls the unfair treatment on the set of 'New York Undercover'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Malik Yoba talks about what he learned as an actor
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Malik Yoba talks about the inspiration for 'New York Undercover'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Malik Yoba reflects upon his sudden success as an actor
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Malik Yoba talks about the lack of mentorship during his early career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Malik Yoba reflects upon the prominence of black culture during the 1990s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Malik Yoba talks about the importance of therapy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Malik Yoba recalls advocating for better working conditions on the set of 'New York Undercover'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Malik Yoba talks about the cancellation of 'New York Undercover'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Malik Yoba remembers the decline of his career after 'New York Undercover'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Malik Yoba talks about Will Smith's acting career
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Malik Yoba recalls his television roles after 'New York Undercover'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Malik Yoba reflects upon his reputation in Hollywood
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Malik Yoba talks about the challenges of being an actor
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Malik Yoba remembers meeting and marrying Cat Wilson
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Malik Yoba talks about his business ventures and charitable work
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Malik Yoba recalls starring in Tyler Perry's 'Why Did I Get Married?'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Malik Yoba describes the plot of the movie 'Why Did I Get Married?'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Malik Yoba talks about the television series 'Alphas'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Malik Yoba talks about the television show 'Empire'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Malik Yoba reflects upon his career
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Malik reflects upon his life and plans for the future
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Malik Yoba talks about his spirituality
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Malik Yoba describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Malik Yoba reflects upon the legacy of his generation
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Malik Yoba reflects upon the black culture of the 1990s
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Malik Yoba reflects upon his life's journey