partner / co-founder
Probably best known for his roles as an actor in the 1993 Disney classic, Cool Runnings, and the hit Fox television series New York Undercover, Malik has proven himself to be much more than what first meets the eye. As an actor, writer, director, producer, musician, activist, educator, inspirational speaker, entrepreneur, author and branded entertainment strategist, Malik tackles his quest to live a purpose filled life and not only entertain but also educate young people in communities across the world on the value of accountability, integrity and leadership.
Born in the South Bronx and later raised in Harlem NY, Malik is not a product of his environment, but a progression. Living his life as an example to young people in inner cities across the country and abroad that those very streets, which breed, apathy, hatred and violence, can give birth to positive ideas and upward mobility. Shot by a stranger and left for dead at the age of 15, Malik had already realized he had a passion and gift for moving others and raising consciousness. That near death experience in high school solidified his belief in personal and social responsibility and spurred him toward a life of volunteerism, community activism, service and entrepreneurship. He has made it his life’s mission ever since, using art as his weapon of choice.
Respected among his peers in education and community activism, at the age of 20, Malik worked with 13 New York City Public High Schools in a program called AIDP (Attendance Improvement Dropout Prevention), in which he assessed students, faculty and parents needs in order to improve the quality, content and form of education, thereby improving attendance which was presented to the Board of Education in a proposal for reform. From the ages of 19 to 24, Malik was a full-time educator and worked with the City Kids Foundation, a multicultural NYC art based youth leadership organization. By the age of 23 his work had not gone unnoticed as he was appointed vice president of the organization and served from 1991-1993. In 1989, he co-founded the City Kids Foundation branch in Los Angeles. Yoba designed and facilitated workshops on leadership, diversity and inclusion, community organizing; conflict resolution, self- esteem building and occasionally performed with the City Kids Repertory Company and wrote music for them.
Over the years Malik has worked with young people from Rikers Island High School and Spafford Detention Center in New York to students at Johannesburg Secondary School in South Africa, Toronto, Jamaica , Ethiopia and Belize, Central America to name a few. For his dedication to youth, Yoba has been recognized by or worked with former President Bill Clinton, The Congress of the United States, The Mayor of New York City, NYPD, UNICEF, McDonald’s Black Achievers, Hale House, The Ethiopian Children’s Fund, The Conference of Black Mayors, The Congressional Black Caucus and more. He is also a well sought after inspirational speaker and presents workshops to corporations, colleges, universities, churches and community organizations around topics ranging from Diversity and Inclusion, leadership, team building and more.
However, Malik is most widely known for his love for the arts. At the tender age of 13 he was a member of The Metropolitan Opera Children’s Theater Guild and at 16 years old worked with The Negro Ensemble Company. He has 30+ film credits including, but not limited to Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married and Why Did I Get Married Too, Copland, Smoke, Blue in the Face, Soul Food, Hooked Up, Harlem Aria, Vote for Me, Ride, Dreaming in Black and White, Kids in America , Criminal , Betty and Corretta where he played Martin Luther King Jr. opposite Angela Bassett and most recently (2013) the BBC film Turks and Caicos with Bill Nighy, Helena Bonham Carter and Christopher Walken directed by David Hare.
A veteran of 11 network/cable television shows as a series lead, including SyFy’s Alphas with David Strathairn, TNT’s Bull, NBC’s Trinity, Kingpin, and Raines, ABC’s Defying Gravity and the F/X Network series, Thief. Malik has enjoyed recurring roles on NBC’s Revolution, Arrested Development, Girlfriends, and VH1’s Single Ladies. He has appeared in numerous guest starring roles including The Good Wife, Person Of Interest , Law and Order and Nikita. Malik also wrote, directed and starred in the BET.com web series ShopTalk sponsored by Gillette which has led to his current work in branded entertainment and marketing where he has written, produced or directed web content for The American Cancer Society, The United Negro College Fund and AARP.
Cited by the New York Times Magazine as “An artist who will most likely influence American culture in the next thirty years…” (Nov 1994), Malik is truly multi-faceted. His recent stage appearances include The New Group’s production of “Everythings Turning Into Beautiful” with Daphne Rubin Vega and The Delaware Theater Company’s “The Piano Lesson”. His theatre company, The Malik Yoba National Theatre (MYNT) Company, creates, acquires, produces and distributes content for the urban theatre market. He has co-written two musicals for stage: “What’s on The Hearts of Men” and “Acoustic Chocolate,” both which have been adapted for screen. Next up for The MYNT Company is “Harlem to Hollywood” an autobiographical solo show he has written and will perform. Malik was also co-musical director for the Henson/ABC produced Saturday morning show “CityKids” and wrote the theme song for the Jamaican bobsled team in the movie “Cool Runnings”. He has been a guest on The Wendy Williams Show, CNN, Charlie Rose, Oprah, Regis and Kelly, and has performed as a musical artist at Carnegie Hall and New York’s Theatre at Madison Square Garden among many others.
Most recently, the title “Professor” can be added to his list of many monikers as Malik completed his first semester teaching a course he developed called “The Working Actor” at Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus in the fall of 2011.
Malik’s book, Please Return My Phone Call! Preventing the Demise of Personal and Professional Relationships, is a handbook for business and interpersonal relationships that is rapidly challenging the thought processes of students, individuals, business owners and billion dollar corporations as it pertains to interpersonal communication, integrity, accountability, leadership, and proper follow through. This book leaves readers “switched on” and conscious of their habits and habits of others in business and life and since February 2006, he has worked with Citrix, Columbia University Film School, Yale University and Morgans Hotel Group and many other to help them internally implement the books values and messages. His message transcends from middle schools (instilling the idea of accountability) to corporations (confronting habits that cost companies millions).