Actor Malik Yoba has experienced the death of many of his characters but the ‘unexpected’ death of Empire’s Vernon Turner that caused a shock wave online.
The ‘death’ has sparked rumors and thinly veiled as theories about why Yoba was let go from the hit FOX series.
For the record, Yoba has already denied many of the rumors, but now he’s finally addressing the fallout from the season one finale, explaining how he isn’t fazed by Vernon’s death, and revealing what he feels is the true purpose of his fame.
Here’s what Malik has to say about all the drama surrounding his departure from the hit tv series…
The blogosphere has been whirling with two rumors regarding Yoba’s dismissal from Empire. One being that Vernon’s death was payback from Lee Daniels, who is gay, for Yoba supposedly “outing” co-star Jussie Smollett before he was ready.
The other rumor is that Yoba is on drugs and the rest of the cast and crew were finding it difficult to work with him.
Yoga reveals exclusively to UPTOWN magazine that the reason he was dismissed from Empire was simpler and definitely less salacious than both rumors.
FOX, he says, demanded that a major character die in the season finale. He says he learned of Vernon’s death from an equally surprised Daniels in episode 11, but was still in support of the story because what they were doing was something “very, very special.” He says he remains proud to be a part of Empire because they made TV history, like he did previously with New York Undercover.
In regards to the “revenge from Lee Daniels” rumor:
Yoba says he always signed onto the project because of Daniels, recalling his audition in which the co-creator of the series stopped Yoba and apologized for making him audition. In addition, Yoba says he left Empire with the option to direct future episodes.
“The irony is that in the television show I play a character that had a relapse. People don’t seem to be able to differentiate the two or someone woke up and said, ‘You know what? I’m just gonna put out some negative press about this individual so that I can position myself.’ And that’s a tragedy.”
On those who are spreading gossip and maligning his character:
“We’ve seen recently how people can use pop culture to malign people — misinform the public. And the scary thing is people don’t check facts anymore … I think it’s more of a commentary on who we are as a culture and a people … You know growing up journalism was a very serious profession and you couldn’t print something without checking the facts. Now we live in a world where people say anything they want just because they can.”
“You know I got shot at 15 and I’ve been a community servant since then, even before that. I was just one of those young people that had a lot of wisdom and I would share it. But my father was the type of man that always said if there’s a hole, fill it. Community activism, helping folks, it’s just in my DNA. I raise my children that way, to be of service to people.”
On what’s next:
“Empire was a great experience to be on the show with some great people. And creatively, people make decisions on what happens to characters. And I think that speaks to something my father always said, ‘Build your own generator so when they turn out the power, you have light.’”
CLICK HERE to read Malik Yoba’s full interview.