Actor Malik Yoba has been gracing our TV and movie screens for over two decades. This sex symbol has appeared in over 13 popular television shows and in over 40 films. The most memorable of his television work is the 90s hit “New York Undercover”. Although the New York native has been blessed with a long-lasting career, he has no plans of throwing in the towel anytime soon. Malik’s newest television show is called “Designated Survivor” and it airs on the ABC Network. His character is Jason Atwood who is the Deputy Director of the FBI. Malik’s character is in charge of finding out who is responsible for blowing up the White House and killing the majority of the cabinet. Malik recently took a break from his crime-fighting duties to speak with us about his long lasting career and his views on the upcoming Presidential election.
Being a young actor, you are eager to put yourself out there in hopes to catch your big break. Now that Malik is a seasoned vet in the industry, he approaches choosing his roles differently than he did when he first started acting.
“I think when you first start you are curious as if you can even do it, but I have been acting since I was a kid. My entire life. Along the way, I had people that believed in me. Teachers in elementary, middle school, and high school telling me that they appreciate my work. You know you have something, but you just want to be able to prove to yourself that you can do it at the next level. In the beginning, that’s what you think about. Am I good enough? Do I have what it takes? Like, I used to watch films and I’d see performances and think I could do a better job than that. Now, I’m just out living the dream. I’m very very grateful. I’ve had the opportunity to do this for a very long time. I think I look at it much more from the business standpoint now. It’s a ton of ways that are different now for me now. It’s no longer a question of can I do it.”
Although, new actors are popping up on the scene constantly. Malik uses his longevity in the industry to his advantage.
“One of the things I love about getting older as an actor is you have more life experience. The more life experience you have the more you can bring to the work. I maintain my craft by doing it.”
Having a long lasting career does not include accepting every role that comes your way. Malik discusses how some roles he has no interest in ever playing.
“I remember being asked to read for “Cider House Rules” playing a child molester. I turned that down. I’m not playing that. There are certain roles that I feel like I’m not going to play. I don’t abuse women or children; so I don’t take those roles.”
Malik contributes his parents for being influential in his career. His mom sparked his interest in acting; while his dad’s advice kept him grounded.
“My mother took me to see “Alice In Wonderland” when I was four. I realized then that I wanted to do that, because I saw the people on stage having fun. I wanted to be a part of that. My father always said build your own generator so that when they turn off the power you still have light. I think you have to be a self-starter. If you’re just an actor, that means you’re always waiting on somebody to give you a shot. That’s for the birds. You don’t want to be that dude or that girl. You want an agent, you want to audition, you want to get in the room, and you want to be seen in front of people. You want to have those opportunities but you also want to create opportunities. We live in a world now where you can create your own content, and you can put it out for the world to see it.”
Not only is Malik an accomplished actor and singer but you can also add entrepreneur to his many titles. He is the co-founder of Iconic 32, a lifestyle firm.
“I partnered with someone who came up with the idea. Lifestyle firm is a very loose term. We just didn’t want to call ourselves a straight marketing firm. Loosely we like to think that we show up everywhere in your life. We as a company do three things… we create content, we do experience marketing, and we do branding and strategy work. We essentially help people tell their story. I’ve always been a strategic thinker. I’ve always thought about marketing/branding, strategy and social issues. I’ve partnered with someone who comes from the creative marketing world. We have clients that we service from Nesh NYC, which is a women’s leisure brand, to a text company that gives opportunities to stay in contact with their incarcerated loved ones via a text message app. We work with brands, some community organizations, and universities. With that being said we end up in your life in a lot of different ways.”
With this being an election year, many celebs are weighing in and voicing their opinions on who they think should be the next leader of this country. Malik is very active on social media and has often expressed his support for Hillary Clinton. He feels that it is very important for everyone to get out during this election and vote.
“I just try to remind people that democracy is not a spectator sport. There are people who died for our rights to be participants in this process. The reality is everybody needs to be involved. To not vote means that you’re not involved. It’s easy to point at Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and say this person is not this or that but that person is in the ring. They are putting themselves out there. They are putting themselves in the mix. I understand how people can feel disenfranchised, but I don’t see how choosing not to participate or choosing not to exercise that right will fix issues.”
Don’t forget you can catch Malik on his new show, “Designated Survivor” on ABC. Wait, there’s more! This multitalented actor has plenty of projects coming up to keep his fans engaged. You can also catch Malik on TVONE beginning October 24th. He will be the new host of TVONE’s “Justice By Any Means”. The show focuses on victims and their families of violent crimes who fought for justice and succeeded. Yoba also has a one-man stage play in pre-production that is set to debut at the Apollo Theater in February 2017. The play is called “Harlem To Hollywood”, and he will play 20 different characters. Last but not least, Malik is executively producing and starring in a new show called “Pledge” which is a multi-generational drama that takes place at a historically black college. I think it’s safe to say that Malik Yoba is the hardest working man in showbiz.
Written By: Ronda Brooks