Hollywood actor and social activist Malik Yoba will visit TT during the COCO Dance Festival which begins today at NAPA, Port of Spain.
Yoba will participate in Fortify: A Conversation with Consequences – which is about celebrating men and examining the parenting challenges men face in an increasingly violent world. Yoba’s appearance has been made possible through a partnership with the United States Embassy, Port of Spain. He is scheduled to attend all performance nights during the festival which ends on Sunday.
The Conversation, which is part of Coco Dance Festival’s Coco in the Community programme, will take place tomorrow, as a precursor to International Men’s Day (November 19), with its focus on men and boy’s health and well-being.
Aimed at men who are community activists or mentors doing outreach with men and boys, and fathers who are facing challenges in playing a meaningful role in their children’s lives, it will feature poetry, movement and film as teaching tools and as part of the conversation.
Yoba is best known for his acting roles in the Disney classic – Cool Runnings, Bad Dad Rehab, Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married and the hit Fox television series Empire. He will participate in the Conversation with clinical psychologist Dr Peter Weller and celebrated Trinidadian-British poet, novelist, musician and academic, Dr Anthony Joseph.
Weller who has over 30 years experience in his field has been an advisor to the gender specialist at Caricom and is the co-founder of the Caribbean Male Action Network (CariMAN).
Joseph was selected by the Arts Council of England and Renaissance One, in 2005 as one of 50 black and Asian writers who have made major contributions to contemporary British literature. He lectures in creative writing and literature at Birbeck College, London and at the University of Liverpool where he is the Colm Toibin Fellow in Creative Writing.
Yoba has spoken about his mission to educate young people in world communities on the value of accountability, integrity and leadership.
Shot by a stranger and left for dead at the age 15, Yoba’s near-death experience spurred him toward a life of community activism, service and entrepreneurship –making it his life’s mission to use the arts as his weapon of choice.
In a media release Sonja Dumas of the Coco Dance Festival said: “Although we are primarily a dance enterprise, Coco believes that it is up to everyone to do their part to stem family breakdown and community violence and push an agenda of peace and tolerance. We find that many young people are consumed with rage and fear that likely stem from an environment of poverty, absent fathers, limited prospects and a lack of self-esteem.
“Numerous studies have shown the adverse consequences boys face when they grow up in homes with absentee or neglectful fathers. Our mission at Coco is to inspire, encourage and serve the community through creative processes and collaborative endeavours. We hope to contribute in some small way through this conversation.”
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