A few years ago I’ve had the pleasure to meet Malik Yoba, known from the 90’s hit series New York Undercover and as the Jamaican Bobsledder in Cool Runnings. His latest projects also involved Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married movies starring opposite Janet Jackson. Not many people are aware that Malik has also put out music in form of an album and is working on new music next to his acting career and being a family man. In light of the film-focus of September, I caught up with Malik for S.O.U.L. Magazine, as he took the time out his extremely busy schedule.
Can you in short describe your life as an actor?
My life as an actor is a dream come true! I knew at four years old after seeing “Alice In Wonderland” that I wanted to be an actor. I gave my teacher my autograph when I was 13 years old and told her to keep it as I declared “I’m going to be famous.”
Which actors have inspired you the most?
There isn’t one actor or group of actors. I am always inspired by what I perceive to be greatness in any realm of life. So my inspiration as an actor comes from many places. Sports, business, music, God and most recently one of the most inspiring performances I had seen in a while was Heath Ledgers “Joker” in “The Dark Knight”.
What was in your own opinion, your “breakthrough” role?
The funny thing about the idea of “breakthrough” role is that in an actor’s career, there can be a few times one has a “breakthrough” role…..because in the trajectory towards “movie stardom” you have to “breakthrough” a few “letters” if you will, to make it to the “A list” and once you’re there you are only as good as your last “5 minutes”……until you have your next “breakthrough” which is commonly referred to as a “comeback”. That being said my “breakthrough” film would be “Cool Runnings”…….at this point I have been in this business for twenty years and until I have the “breakthrough” role that makes me a bigger “star” like Will Smith or George Clooney than I guess I really haven’t had my “breakthrough” role!! LOL!!!!!!!!
Was there a difference in your work-process, going from a hit series to the big screen?
My career started in film, not television. I had a number of films under my belt before I did my first series. The film industry is constantly progressing as far as special effects and technique is concerned.
How do you feel about the 3D hype? Almost all the big Hollywood productions have to be 3D nowadays.
I’m cool with 3D….I’m going to do the world first 3D reality show that is so life-like that people will actually feel they are living in my house with me!!
You are also a musician. How do you combine the acting and music? Do you implement one into the other as well?
I started out as a kid in musical theatre and continue to perform music in theatre productions. I have been playing guitar and singing most of my life. I have always tried to keep my music life active alongside my acting career with varying degrees of success. Over the past year and a half I have been doing more recording and performing. I wrote a one man show called “ Harlem to Hollywood” which is a bit of a musical autobiography where I play 10 characters and sing 10 original tunes. I hope to remount it in 2011.
How was working with Janet Jackson, a great musician and artist?
Janet Jackson has a not so secret crush on me. She can’t help it! She is a joy to work with.
Which musicians have inspired you the most?
Bob Marley, Sam Cooke and most recently Jay -Z
You are also a family man and a spokesperson. Can you tell me what that means to you?
Success for me at this point in life is “control the work you do, work with people you love and spend time with your family”. So being a family man means there is a constant challenge of finding the right balance. Each year I get better at it… I hope!!!
Can you tell me about The Malik Yoba National Theatre Company?
The MYNT Company was started in 2003 to create, acquire, produce and distribute content for the urban theatre market. It is part of my plan for world domination. That may seem outlandish but the fact is, Tyler Perry made $100 million dollars in this same market before he made his first film. The plays I have done have generated about $14 million dollars to date. There is a tremendous opportunity is the often overlooked entertainment sector.
What new projects do you have in the works, acting-, music-, and otherwise?
Follow me on Twitter @MalikYoba for all updates.
What is your ultimate goal as an actor, musician, man?
My ultimate goal in all things is to constantly work to reach my potential and win Oscars and Grammy’s and be recognized among my peers as one of the best that ever did it!!!
As a teenager I used to watch New York Undercover from all the way across the Atlantic. Enjoying the great musicians on the show and drooling whenever J.C. Williams ran across the screen lol. I never could have imagined in a hundred years that I would actually meet this person, let alone get to know him. I truly feel blessed to be able to call this wonderful, amazing and inspiring man my friend. <3