Actor Malik Yoba Says Denzel Washington Isn’t The Best

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malikActor, Malik Yoba, spoke with BET.com about his new role as Martin Luther King Jr. in a TV movie. During the interview, he was asked his opinion about Denzel Washington’s acting. The “Allegience” star says, “No matter how many movies Denzel Washington does, he’s still Denzel in every movie – except for the times he played Malcolm X and Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter.” “Those were the roles where he got a chance to stretch a little more. I want to be more like Forest Whitaker in Last King of Scotland. I want to stretch a little more, that’s what I want to do. So playing Martin, I had no fear. It was like here’s a real opportunity to do something. I’m still thrilled about it and I can’t wait to see the finished film.”

While it may be true that Denzel plays himself in every movie, do we really care? He’s Denzel Washington. All he has to do is flash a smile, shoot us a fierce monologue from time to time and we are good. Denzel knows the charm that he has with the ladies and he uses that to his advantage. Every actor or actress has a niche, that they follow, and it works until their career plateaus and they have to find a new trick to use. It is no different with Denzel. Denzel being himself has worked for over twenty years.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

But to Malik Yoba’s credit, his response , when put on the spot to answer the question, was very tasteful and true. Just by his response, you can tell that Yoba is an actor who has spent many years working on and studying his craft.  His role as Martin Luther King, Jr. may prove to stretch the actor to his limits, but Yoba prepared himself well.

“I spent a lot of my time immersing myself in not just his speeches, but listening to him talking. There are some great interviews of him going all the way back to 1957, when he was 28 years old. It was fascinating to go down that road and learn about all the different people in King’s life – like his mentors and people who went to Morehouse with his dad. It was amazing getting that deep into his life and his point of view of the world. As an actor, I want more of that kind of experience.”

Asa Lovechild is an accomplished actress and singer out of New York City.

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  1. Ms. Scott

    December 27, 2012 at 10:27 am

    He is entitled to his own opinion. I love the fact that he stuck to his initial premise. I agree stretching beyond what is already recognized as one true character aids with perfecting ones craft.

  2. marc hood

    December 27, 2012 at 10:58 am

    What he said was nothing more than professional jealousy! He himself claims in one breath Denzel in a movie is always Denzel! But then he gives two examples where he says Denzel was being the character and not Denzel! Sounds like a hater to me! By the way did he not see Training day, victory, crimson tide to name a few of This so called shallow actors movies which were critically acclaimed! Denzel is no shallow thespian! Mr yoba!

    • Wayne Hazzard

      December 29, 2012 at 3:28 am

      @Marc hood. Marc, I could not have said it better. Thank you.

  3. Keith "Tart" Bond

    December 28, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    What has Malik done significantly in the movies since NY Undercover? Shut up and try to hold Denzel’s drawers!

  4. Sam Knight

    December 28, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Mr. Yoba is entitled to his opinion whether or not you agree. I don’t happen to agree. There may be a certain ‘Denzelness’ that comes through but that’s just natural … and a gift. It comes through for every successful actor and it’d be foolish not to take advantage of it. I’ve been a huge fan of Denzel going all the way back to his movie, Carbon Copy. In fact, before that when he starred in a tv production about Malcolm X. I also enjoyed him on Broadway. I don’t know if Mr. Yoba is ‘hating’ or not. But I also don’t think he’s giving his fellow thespian the credit he well deserves. Denzel worked hard, entertains his audience and is now a Star. Oh yes, he also helped show a lot more people what we already know: the appeal of Black Men!

  5. Erica

    December 28, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    People need to stop criticizing each others work. Focus on your craft and keep it moving. Blacks actors are in an industry where they are hardly respected so they don’t need to say negative things about each other or their roles. Let everyone make a dollar, support or shut up.

    • Wayne Hazzard

      December 29, 2012 at 3:40 am

      @Erica. THANK YOU ERICA! When r we gonna learn? The disrespect in the industry right now among us is CRAZY STUPID. Sydney Poitier, Sammy Davis,James Earl Jones, Lena Horn, Dorothy Dandridge, Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis,etc I can go on forever. They never did this trash talking. OK maybe 1 or 2. There are always exceptions, but this Spike Lee, Terrence Howard,and now Yoba, what’s up with our young people? Where is Aretha’s R.E.S.P.E.C.T. for each other? I’m lost.

  6. Deloris

    December 28, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    I am not familiar with Malik. But we all know Denzel by his first name. So who is Malik again?

  7. corbin56

    December 28, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Denzel was not 28 in 1957.

    • Christopher

      December 31, 2012 at 10:17 am

      You do realize that it was MLK Jr. that was being referred to in that statement, not Denzel right?

  8. Robert Monroe, Jr.

    December 28, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    With a few exceptions, Denzel Washington plays the same character over and over and over again. If Denzel was cast as Santa Claus he would play the character with the same Denzel walk and talk that he has in almost every other movie. That’s not acting…that’s phoning it in. Every character has their own histories and motivations. They are individuals and a real actor portrays them that way. In my opinion, Denzel’s best acting jobs were in MALCOLM X and in THE BONE COLLECTOR. In the former, he brought Malcolm to the screen in an incredible performance that should have won the Oscar and in the latter he played a quadriplegic and showed what a great actor he is without having to depend on the mannerisms he all too often relies on in each movie. Denzel is a great actor…too bad he chooses roles where he doesn’t delve into the character and give us a great performance but, instead, just gives us more of the same old same old.

  9. jo taylor

    December 28, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    I have seen every movie that Denzel has made, and I think he is the greatest Black actor. I watch his movies over and over. Malik needs to get a life and pray that he can one day be half the actor that Denzel is.
    That’s my two cents worth.

  10. Yusuf

    December 28, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    So who’s the best Malik, you? Sounds like hateration to me! You need to go sit down somewhere ‘cuz “YOU DEFINITELY AIN’T THE BEST”!!!

  11. kendra b

    December 28, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Who in the hell is Malik? DENZEL DENZEL DENZEL I LOVE YOU. Hey, can you say “Crabs in the barrel” Malik? 🙁

  12. Kay Reynolds

    December 28, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    Malik I am so disappointed in you. Denzel is one of the greatest actors of our time. Unfortunately you will never be in Denzel’s stratosphere. Just keep trying to be the best you can be. That’s all you can do . Stop he hate!

  13. Trena

    December 29, 2012 at 7:19 am

    There is nothing wrong with a certain Denzelness in the characters that Denzel Washington plays, but the MOST overlooked actor is Jeffrey Wright. He transforms in every role and pulls it off brilliantly.

  14. R. L. Sennie

    December 29, 2012 at 9:26 am

    I think this is much ado about nothing (pardon the pun). Mr. Yoba was not questioning Denzel Washington’s acting ability or his place in black acting history. His point is, like Robert DeNiro and other mega superstars, people now pay to see him be “Denzel” so when he is in a major motion picture that’s what audience is going to get. I think he believes his anonymity in this case is a blessing because he was able to interpret the role the way he saw fit.

    Denzel is the man, point blank. I don’t think any disrespect was intended

  15. Samuel

    December 29, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    I think Denzel has more versatility than Mr Yoba gives him credit for.

  16. JDub81

    December 30, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Brother Malik …just shut the #%&$ up! Maybe that’s why you get a movie every 5 years…you can’t shut the #%&$ up!

  17. Christopher

    December 31, 2012 at 10:16 am

    What I can honestly say is that is truly depressing how little each person READS when it comes to articles. Mr. Yoba did not make any commentary that was degrading to Mr. Washington and in all fairness was nothing more than an honest observation was asked of him.
    The person who said that Denzel was not 28 in ’57, he was referring to MLK Jr, not Denzel. To all those that appear to be unwavering supporters of Denzel, I would advise them to realize that healthy criticism or observation can help to push someone to their best. What is truly telling though is that Denzel was recognized as better in roles that were supposedly “stereotypically Black” in terms of dishonesty and corruption, but yet not many remember him for the roles that were made before his stardom including Glory.

  18. Keith

    January 1, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    This reminds me of the old Huffington Post “bait & switch”. They show you the title of an article that appears controversial, reel you in, and the article isn’t even close to what the caption says. I hate that. The captions states that Malik says that “Denzel isn’t the best”. After reading the text of the article, I don’t see one quote from Malik where he says that — it wasn’t even inferred. Shame on “Naturally Moi” and “Your Black World” for doing what I would say is nothing more than false advertisement. Like someone else said: Much ado about nothing! Love me some Denzel; had the chance to meet and chat with Malik Yoba at The Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas — seemed like a real stand-up guy; very professional and serious about his craft. He made a fan of me as well.

  19. Lyndon Kennelley

    May 2, 2013 at 5:03 am

    Washington was born in Mount Vernon, near New York City, New York, on December 28, 1954. His mother, Lennis “Lynne”, was a beauty parlor-owner and operator born in Georgia and partly raised in Harlem. His father, Reverend Denzel Hayes Washington, Sr., a native of Buckingham County, Virginia, served as an ordained Pentecostal minister, and also worked for the Water Department and at a local department store, S. Klein.-‘

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