Malik Yoba is a pillar in the entertainment industry. From his breakout role on the ’90s FOX TV cop drama New York Undercover to his most recent role on ABC’s Designated Survivor, the Bronx native is no stranger to thought-provoking projects and provocative story lines.
The three time NAACP Image Award winner’s latest role in the upcoming psychological thriller ‘Til Death Do Us Part is will tackle something else entirely — domestic violence and how men deal with their emotions. The film follows newlyweds Michael (Stephen Bishop) and Madison Roland (Annie Ilonzeh) whose seemingly perfect marriage shatters when Michael’s behavior turns volatile. Though Madison is able to escape— even adopting a new identity, Michael refuses to let her go. In the film, Yoba stars as the couple’s friend Rob who realizes something isn’t quite right.
Ahead of the film’s release, Shadow and Act’s Aramide Tinubu sat down to chat with Yoba about his role, why he was moved to be a part of this film and his one man show which will debut at the legendary Apollo Theater in 2018.
Aramide Tinubu: You’ve worked on everything from Designated Survivor to Empire. What was it about ‘Til Death Do Us Part that prompted you to get on board?
Malik Yoba: It’s always nice when you see an email in your inbox that says “offer,” then you read the email and go, “Oh, okay. Who’s doing it, what’s it about?” So, that’s usually how it goes. I looked at the material, subject matter and saw that it was something I actually care about. I thought it was a good little script. It’s not groundbreaking in terms of subject matter—I think we’ve seen similar stories like this, but the way that it’s executed I thought was a little bit different. I also saw who was in it who was doing it.
AT: With the film coming out just ahead of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, why do you think it’s so important for the Black community to see this particular type of film?
MY: I think any time you have any kind of social ill, not just domestic violence…as much as it’s about the act, the obvious theme of domestic violence, it’s also about how men deal with their emotions. It’s not just like who gets brutalized; sometimes it’s women that are abusing men, too. I think it’s just an opportunity for us to look at ourselves. How do we treat each other? Why do we treat each other that way? My character in the film is the only one that really checks Stephen Bishop’s character Michael on his behavior. That was important. It was important to be able to be that voice of reason. Michael asks Rob to find his wife when she runs away, and he’s not just gonna be complicit in this behavior. I think it was a line we just added, where he says, “Look man, you really need to go get some help.” As opposed to just agreeing to go find this woman.
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