Malik Yoba

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Malik Yoba
Abdul-Malik Kashie Yoba

(1967-09-17) September 17, 1967 (age 56)
Years active1993–present
Known for

Abdul-Malik Kashie Yoba (born September 17, 1967) is an American actor. He is known for his starring role as NYPD Detective J. C. Williams on the Fox police drama New York Undercover and as Yul Brenner in the film Cool Runnings. He appeared as former FBI Special Agent Bill Harken on the Syfy drama series Alphas, as Jim Hudson in Revolution, and as Vernon Turner in Empire. He also starred in the role of FBI Deputy Director Jason Atwood in the ABC political drama Designated Survivor.[1] In 2018, he joined the Netflix drama Seven Seconds as a member of a support group for parents who had lost their children. He also appeared in Jordan Peele’s TBS comedy The Last OG with Tracy Morgan.

Early life[edit]

The fourth of six children,[2] Yoba was born in the Bronx, New York to Mahmoudah Young (née Lanier) and Abdullah Yoba.[3][4][5]


In 1994, Yoba began his role on the popular FOX police drama series New York Undercover, opposite Michael DeLorenzo. Yoba and DeLorenzo made television history, as the series was the first police drama on American television to feature two people of color in the starring roles.[6] Yoba's work on New York Undercover earned him three consecutive NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series (in 1996, 1997, and 1998).

An accomplished singer and stage actor, Yoba's talents were showcased in His Woman His Wife, in which he had the lead role.[7]

Yoba has also appeared in films such as Cool Runnings and Criminal. He has made appearances on the FOX television series Arrested Development as Ice, a bounty hunter whose real love is party planning. Yoba had a recurring role as Brock Harris on the UPN sitcom Girlfriends. He also appeared in the FX Network's crime drama Thief and the NBC crime drama Raines. He appeared as Gavin in the 2007 Tyler Perry film Why Did I Get Married? and its 2010 sequel Why Did I Get Married Too? In 2009, he co-starred as astronaut Ted Shaw on the futuristic ABC drama Defying Gravity. In 2010, he announced his plans to bring back New York Undercover to the small screen in a modern TV series adaptation of the original series. Law & Order writer Courtney Parker penned a spec script for networks to bid on.[8]

From 2011 to 2012, Yoba appeared as former FBI Special Agent Bill Harken on Alphas, a science fiction drama series about a team of people with special abilities who belong to a secret department attached to the DOD. In 2013, Yoba joined the cast of Revolution as Jim Hudson, a former captain of the Monroe Republic. In 2015, he joined the cast of Lee DanielsEmpire as Vernon Turner, Lucious Lyon's business partner and chairman of Empire Entertainment, playing the character through the first season. In 2019, Yoba premiered his one-man stage play, Harlem to Hollywood, at New York’s Apollo Theater.[9] The autobiographical show features Yoba performing original music and playing twenty different characters.[10]

Other ventures[edit]

In 2017, Yoba established his company Yoba Development, hoping to provide young people of colors with access to the real estate industry. Yoba Development currently has active real estate projects in Baltimore and New York City. In 2019, he served as executive producer and director for The Real Estate Mixtape: Volume 1, I Build NY, a docu-series which follows Yoba as he navigates his first commercial real estate deal in NYC.[11]

Personal life[edit]

In 2019, Yoba took to social media to announce he would be a participant in the National Trans Visibility March in Washington, D.C.,[12] and publicly revealed he is attracted to pre-operative trans women, though he considers himself to be heterosexual. It has since been alleged by trans activist Mariah Lopez Ebony that Yoba engaged in inappropriate paid sexual activity with her when she was a minor.[13] Though Yoba denies the allegation, as a result of the media storm regarding the controversial accusation, Yoba was removed from his position as spokesman for Phi Beta Sigma, which is focused on providing mentorship to "pre-teen and teen-aged males" through social, cultural and educational enrichment.[14]

In the summer of 2021, Yoba underwent quadruple by-pass surgery as a result of hereditary heart disease. He is an advocate of plant-based nutrition and walking as medicine.[15] In 2022, Yoba received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Livingstone College in Salisbury, North Carolina.[16]



A working actor since he made his debut, Yoba's film credits include: Cop Land, 'Til Death Do Us Part, Smoke, Blue in the Face, Soul Food, Ride, Bad Dad Rehab, and Betty & Coretta where he says he had the “great honor” of portraying Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., opposite Angela Bassett. International productions include the Danish film, Oh Happy Day, the BBC film Turks & Caico directed by David Hare and Take Point, a Korean action film for CJ Entertainment which was released worldwide in 2018.

Year Title Role Notes
1993 Cool Runnings Yul Brenner
1995 Smoke The Creeper
Blue in the Face Watch Man
1997 Cop Land Detective Carson
Soul Food Studio Engineer
1998 Ride Poppa
2003 Playas Ball Himself
2004 Criminal Frank Hill
2005 Kids in America Will Drucker
2007 Why Did I Get Married? Gavin
Feel the Noise The Mayor
2010 Why Did I Get Married Too? Gavin
2016 Paradox Mr. Landau
2017 'Til Death Do Us Part Rob
2018 Take Point Gerald
2019 Awake Frank Ward
2022 The Good Nurse Sam Johnson


Yoba has been a guest on numerous talk shows, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, Inside the Actors Studio, The Wendy Williams Show, and Charlie Rose. He hosted TV One’s documentary crime series Justice By Any Means. Other series include Trinity and Kingpin. He has also had recurring roles on shows such as Single Ladies. Yoba has appeared in numerous guest-starring roles on Justified, Blue Bloods, Limitless, The Good Wife, Person of Interest, Law & Order and Nikita. He also appeared in God Friended Me on CBS and The First Wives Club on BET.

Year Title Role Notes
1993 Where I Live Fisher 1 episode
1994 Law & Order Pat Williams 1 episode
1994–1999 New York Undercover Det. Julius Clarence "J.C." Williams Main role, 89 episodes
1998 For Your Love Keith 1 episode
1999 Trinity Sam Davis 2 episodes
2000–2001 Bull Corey Granville Main role, 20 episodes
2003 Kingpin Bobby Curtis 3 episodes
2003 The Twilight Zone Shawn Episode: "Developing"
2003–2007 Girlfriends Brock Harris Recurring role, 8 episodes
2004 The Days Gib Taylor 4 episodes
2004 Arrested Development Ice 2 episodes
2006 Thief Elmo "Mo" Jones Miniseries, 6 episodes
2006 That's So Raven Judge 1 episode
2007 Raines Charlie Lincoln Main role, 7 episodes
2008 CSI: Miami Reggie Mastow 1 episode
2009 Defying Gravity Ted Shaw Main role, 13 episodes
2010 Justified Toby Griffin 1 episode
2011 The Celibate Nympho Chronicles: The Web Series Bustah 1 episode
2011 Nikita Wallace 1 episode
2011–2012 Alphas Bill Harken Main role, 24 episodes
2012 Person of Interest Andre Wilcox Episode: "Wolf and Cub"
2012 NYC 22 Ray-Ray Burnell 1 episode
2013 Revolution Jim Hudson 4 episodes
2013 The Glades Landon Givens 1 episode
2013 The Good Wife Eddie Fornum 1 episode
2013 Betty & Coretta Martin Luther King Jr. Television film
2014 Turks & Caicos Jim Carroll Television film
2015 Empire Vernon Turner Main role, 12 episodes
2015 Limitless Rooney / John Kellerman 1 episode
2015 Blue Bloods Det. Darryl Reid 1 episode
2016 Justice By Any Means Him 1 episode
2016–2017 Designated Survivor Jason Atwood Recurring role, 17 episodes
2018 Seven Seconds Wes 1 episode
2018 Gotham Major Rodney Harlan 1 episode
2018 The Last O.G. Wavy Recurring role, 10 episodes
2018 God Friended Me Terrance 3 episodes
2019 First Wives Club Derek Ellsworth Main role, 9 episodes
2022 East New York Lamonte Jacobs 1 episode
2022-2023 The Equalizer Manny 3 episodes

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2016 The Walking Dead: Michonne Pete (voice) (Video Game)

Awards and recognition[edit]

American Black Film Festival- Winner, Best Documentary, 2016

NAACP Image Award- Winner, 1996,1997,1998


  1. ^ Petski, Denise (July 21, 2016). "'Designated Survivor': Malik Yoba Joins ABC Drama Starring Kiefer Sutherland".
  2. ^ "TV star shines on others. 'New York Undercover's' Malik Yoba gives back". The Washington Times. August 13, 1996. (subscription required)
  3. ^ Malik Yoba Biography (1967– ). Retrieved on 2011-11-20.
  4. ^ Malik Yoba Biography – Yahoo! Movies. (1967-09-17). Retrieved on 2011-11-20.
  5. ^ "Why Cool Runnings and Empire Actor Is The Perfect Example of a Phi Beta Sigma Brother". Watch The Yard. August 15, 2016.
  6. ^ "Hip-Hop Cops", TV Guide, Oct. 15, 1994, at p. 29.
  7. ^ His Woman, His Wife (Video 2000).
  8. ^ "Malik Yoba Announces New York Undercover Revamp". April 9, 2010. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  9. ^ "Malik Yoba takes on a new role". September 22, 2016. Retrieved July 3, 2022.
  10. ^ "Malik Yoba discusses Awake, Harlem to Hollywood, and much more". August 16, 2019. Retrieved July 3, 2022.
  11. ^ "Veteran actor brings mixtape to Birmingham to teach and inspire". June 10, 2022. Retrieved July 3, 2022.
  12. ^ Stidhum, Tonja Renée (September 3, 2019). "Malik Yoba Says He's Attracted to Trans Women, Will Host Workshop at the National Trans Visibility March in D.C." The Root. Retrieved October 13, 2021.
  13. ^ Sims, Megan (September 2, 2019). "Trans Woman Accuses Malik Yoba Of Paying Her For Sex When She Was A Teenager". Retrieved October 13, 2021.
  14. ^ Connor, Jay (September 10, 2019). "Phi Beta Sigma Removes Malik Yoba From Youth Leadership Role Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations". The Root. Retrieved October 13, 2021.
  15. ^ "'Open Hearts Club': How Malik Yoba is helping Black men in Brooklyn cope with their trauma". USA Today. March 2, 2022. Retrieved July 3, 2022.
  16. ^ "Actor Malik Yoba receives honorary degree from Livingstone College during commencement". WBTV. May 16, 2022. Retrieved July 3, 2022.

External links[edit]