The ‘Empire’ actor is taking his honorary degree seriously
In May of this year, “Empire” actor and director and serial entrepreneur Dr. Malik Yoba was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by Livingstone College for his work in real estate development, education and community capacity building.
During the ceremony, Yoba committed to partnering with Livingstone College to continue to help equip students with the resources they need to be successful in life, particularly in the areas of entrepreneurship and real estate development education.
One way he’s honoring that commitment is through his company, Yoba Development. Yoba Development has partnered with Charlotte based, Libra Management Group, and its CEO Stacey Mollison, a real estate investor/developer and Prime contractor for Amazon, to offer jobs to current and former Livingstone College students as Amazon delivery associates/delivery drivers.
Yoba Development and Libra Management Group will host a career fair at Livingstone College on Sept. 27 from noon to 4 p.m. to provide students with jobs and internship opportunities.
“I started my real estate development company, Yoba Development, in 2017 with a mission to not only make money but to build people, places and things in that order. For us, young people and our disenfranchised community are always at the center of our work in development and building human capacity by providing education and access to the process for not only how cities and towns are built, but also how businesses are built,” Yoba said when asked about the partnership.
Commercial real estate is still a business where 78% of the C-suite is white men, he said. “This partnership with Livingstone College and Amazon through Libra Management Group represents an amazing initial effort, and we are very excited and planning much more for the future.”
“This is an example of being fully committed to advancing the mission of Livingstone College,” said Dr. Anthony J. Davis, Livingstone College senior vice president and chief operating officer. “Also, it’s one of the greatest expressions of gratitude related to the honor bestowed upon Dr. Yoba from this institution.”
In addition to his acting roles, Yoba has shifted a lot of his focus toward building the business of Yoba Development, which combines his love of real estate, entrepreneurship, filmmaking and education. He directed and produced an eight-part docu-series called, “The Real Estate Mix Tape Vol. 1,” which follows his journey pursuing his first development deal in New York, but also highlights the underrepresented success of BIPOC (Black, indigenous and people of color) real estate professionals and entrepreneurs to encourage greater participation of people of color in commercial real estate.
He is joined in the docu-series by seven young people of color who were given an immersive experience in the business of filmmaking and development.
“It’s important that our people see and get to know who owns the buildings that are in the neighborhoods we live in and learn how they, too, can participate in the process,” Yoba said. “Participation in gentrification for us means progress. This content was made strictly for high schools, colleges and community, not streaming or television. Although it’s entertaining, emotional and informative, it requires intentional viewing only.”
Now with the first few episodes of “The Real Estate Mix Tape Vol. 1” completed, Yoba travels around the country hosting community screening at schools, film festivals, community organizations and real estate conferences, which drives both educational opportunities and deal flow.
|Yoba Development has also accomplished the following: finalized a partnership with the Department of Education in New York City for a pilot commercial real estate development education program for high school students; started a fellowship with Pratt Institute Undergraduate School of Architecture for spring 2023; partnered with numerous community-based organizations in NYC focused on workforce development; and is involved in development projects in the South Bronx, Baltimore, DC, and Augusta, Ga., with plans to expand.
“Our partnership with Yoba Development serves as a launching pad for Livingstone College to help fill a space where there is a deficit of diversity in that of commercial real estate,” said Livingstone President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr. “This aligns with the college’s mission to provide workforce development programs that develop student potential for global service and leadership.”
Yoba will next appear in “The Good Nurse,” alongside Academy Award winners Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne. It is set to be released October 26 on Netflix.