Actor Malik Yoba will be Livingstone commencement speaker

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 5, 2022

SALISBURY – The Livingstone College graduating class of 2022 will have a New York detective, astronaut and Jamaican sprinter — all in one speaker.

These are among the roles played by actor, writer, director, activist and serial entrepreneur Malik Yoba, who will deliver the commencement address at Livingstone College at 9 a.m. on May 14.

The ceremonies will be held for the first time on the college’s historic front lawn.
Malik is a Hollywood veteran with more than three decades of commitment to the arts.

Yoba has more than 50 film credits and more than a dozen lead roles in TV series.

His debut in the Disney classic “Cool Runnings” and his performances as New York police detective J.C. Williams in the groundbreaking police drama, “New York Undercover,” catapulted Yoba into the fabric of American culture.

Yoba, alongside Michael DeLorenzo, made TV history in “New York Undercover” as it was the first police drama on American TV to feature two people of color in the starring roles. Malik won three consecutive NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series for that part.

He went on to star in films such as “Copland,” “The Good Nurse,” “Soul Food,” “Ride,” and Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married” and “Why Did I Get Married Too.”

His TV credits include “Blue Bloods,” “The Good Wife,” “Law and Order,” “Empire,” “Designated Survivor,” “The Last O.G.” and “God Friended Me.”

Yoba considers himself a community and youth activist first. Starting at 16-years-old as a tutor and theater instructor at the Upward Fund Afterschool Program in Harlem, Yoba went on to
work with the Citykids Foundation, where he became the vice president at 23 years old.

He has worked with youth globally including helping to build a school in Ethiopia called Ethiopian Children’s Village. A serial entrepreneur, the emerging real estate developer has projects in New York City and Baltimore, and is currently in post-production for his educational docuseries, “The Real Estate Mixtape, Volume 1: Build NY.”

The series follows Yoba and a cohort of youth as he navigates his first commercial real estate deal in NYC, which is currently happening in the South Bronx, and includes the building of a new school, sports and wellness center and affordable housing.

Born in the South Bronx and raised in Harlem, Malik was offered most recently an opportunity to become the honorary chair of the School of Construction at Pratt University.

“This is the time of year when our graduating seniors are excited about starting a new chapter in their lives,” Livingstone President Jimmy Jenkins said.

Yoba will be among four honorary degree candidates at the program. The others are Jewel Howard-Taylor, vice president of the Republic of Liberia, presiding Elder Joyce Smith of the Oregon-Washington Cascade District of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church; and Takis Etim Caiafas of the Eastern West Africa Episcopal District of the A.M.E. Zion Church.

Commencement ceremonies will be held for the first time on the historic front lawn as Alumni Memorial Stadium undergoes $2.8 million renovations.

The section of Monroe Street in front of the college will be closed to traffic beginning at 8 a.m. on May 14. Parents and students should visit for more details.