We have watched 42-year old, divorced Malik Yoba on the television and big screen for more than a decade. We were first introduced to him in 1993 as Yule Brenner in Disney’s “Cool Runnings,” but we fell in love with him as NYPD detective JC Williams on the highly-popular Fox show “NY Undercover.” He’s gone on to make appearances in other projects, but none have ever allowed him to showcase the depth of his talent.
Yoba fans (and haters) in the crowd at Booth Playhouse were provided with the opportunity to experience all of Malik Yoba during Saturday night’s “One Night Stand with Malik Yoba.” The event was illed as an intimate conversation about sex, love and relationships, but “One Night Stand” delivered more of a dialogue among friends, with Yoba at the helm.
He opened the night with a viewing of his little known BET web series, “Shop Talk: What’s On the Hearts of Men.” Shop Talk was originally a film turned play that Yoba shopped in Hollywood for eight years without getting s nod from movie executives. According to Yoba, they didn’t believe people would be interested in the concept.
After the viewing “Shop Talk” Yoba set out to “do a little research on relationships,” and he opened the floor for discussion on the web series.
“Can we talk about relationships tonight,” asks Yoba of the crowd. “What did you see in the piece that stood out to you? What bothered you? What did you like?”
The conversation started quickly when a young lady asked if Yoba about a comment he made in the webisode. In one of the clips Yoba is asked how he knows a woman is really interested in him when they first meet and not in his celebrity status and money. He replies that if she doesn’t reach for her wallet on the date then he knows. The audience member wanted to know if that was how he really felt.
He replied, yes, but clarified. “In the piece I said if she asks me out on a date and she doesn’t reach for her wallet … you heard what you wanted to hear …”
The conversation continued for more than one hour with the crowd opening up to discuss everything from men not wanting an Alpha female to interracial relationships, a topic that Yoba felt was important to discuss and pulled an interracial couple from the crowd to have the discussion.
Yoba asked a white man and black women sitting in the audience if they were a couple. They nodded yes. He then asked them to stand up. He asked if they considered themselves in a successful marriage and they said yes, citing their 11 years as a married coupled as evidence. When asked what helped them stay committed to each other for 11 years the wife responded, “We have God at the center of our marriage and we have genuine respect for each other.”
As the night continued the gap between how men and women view relationships grew and it became very clear that men and women were on two different planets, but it was just as clear that Yoba was after solutions.
While not many were reached Saturday night, the Yoba-facilitated dialogue provided an opportunity for men and women to listen and learn. The goal of the “One Night Stand,” said Yoba, is the same as the goal of the relationship seminars he facilitates with a “brother by the name of Kazi” in New York. They want to share, build and fellowship all so black men and women can have meaningful dialogue about relationships.
But what makes Yoba a relationship guru? While he didn’t address this directly, it may have something to do with his desire, as his bio states, to educate the community on accountability, integrity, leadership and follow through. He uses his platform as a celebrity to help do that through his acting (the reason he states doing “Shop Talk” and “Why Did I Get Married” and “Why Did I Get Married Too?” were so important to him) and singing.
The night ended with Yoba singing, something he does well and actually had a contract to do in the early 1990’s. The acoustic set featured original material from Yoba, who sang about lost love, longing for love and giving love.
Event pictures forthcoming. Until then, please enjoy these pictures from the premiere of Yoba’s new movie “Why Did I Get Married Too?”