Skip to main content
CNN.com /TRANSCRIPTS

CNN TV
EDITIONS





CNN LIVE TODAY

Interview with Malik Yoba and Stephanie Mills

Aired April 3, 2002 - 11:48   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: I bet you recognize that face and voice, that singing sensation Stephanie Mills. She is back on stage, asking the question, what's on the hearts of men. Mills is known for her starring roles on Broadway's "The Wiz." She is teaming up for a different kind of stage production. This one is written and directed by television actor Malik Yoba. Yoba is best known For playing the no-nonsense cop in the '90s hit TV drama "New York Undercover." Now he is uncovering another creative outlet. He is putting a new twist on the traditional urban theater with his comedy "What's on the Hearts of Men." The musical stage play centers on three men and their journey to find love.

Before my partner, Leon Harris took off on vacation, he had a chance to talk with Malik Yoba and Stephanie Mills about their current project.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: A lot of people know you from "New York Undercover," and a lot of folks only know you from "The Wiz," or being on Broadway.

STEPHANIE MILLS: Yes.

HARRIS: And this play that you've been traveling around the country with, this musical, I should call it, as well, is something I don't think people are really -- I don't know, do they get accustomed to you, seeing you play a role like this one?

MALIK YOBA: I think it all depends on who you ask. I think my true, true fans, you know, know all my capabilities, and they know that, you know, there is a life after "New York Undercover." But no, a lot of people don't know. One of the reasons I did the tour a couple years ago. Actually, Stephanie ended up doing the same play after I finished.

And one of the things that made me do it is how much love we received the first time. We were here in Atlanta last -- sold out the Fox Theater for a week, and sold out like 80 percent of the market.

HARRIS: I remember reading about that.

YOBA: And I got a chance to see how much people appreciated live theater and music, and so this is an opportunity to write, produce and direct my own piece, reach out to some very talented folks, who are willing to do this.

HARRIS: Now, this, as I understand it, is a piece based upon your life experiences. How is that?

YOBA: Based on my sorry life, my secret life with Stephanie. Actually that was the original title, "My Secret Life." But, no, it is just living, and living, loving, losing, raising kids, being disappointed, you know, listening to other people's experiences, just felt this overwhelming compulsion to write about things I was hearing as they relate to men and issues of intimacy and love and family. And out came this piece, and after I read it, I named it "What's on the Hearts of Men," and that's that's what I found interesting at first.

HARRIS: I thinks that's one of the things that I found most interesting at first. Now I have seen a number of these black urban theater productions. That's pretty much as they're known. I've seen them tour through Atlanta. I've actually been to a couple of them. I don't think I have seen one yet that looks at things from a male perspective.

This may the first one?

YOBA: I think there was one, "Diary of a Black Man," or something like that.

But, no, this was definitely -- it was an important position for me to take, because we don't hear a lot about how men feel, and oftentimes men don't express themselves.

MILLS: No.

YOBA: So what I realized was I was the common denominator in all of the stories people were sharing. Oftentimes men would say, you know, I never tell anyone this, but, and they share their story. So it was important definitely to take that position.

HARRIS: Let's bring Stephanie into this. I want to ask you, first of all, getting back to the same question I asked Malik earlier, people know you from being on the stage.

MILLS: Being on the stage and records, yes.

HARRIS: And being on the screen as well.

This is quite a bit of a departure for you, isn't it.

MILLS: Not really. I love theater. I started in theater when I was nine years old.

HARRIS: That was when, last year, two years ago?

MILLS: Yes, two years ago. So I love doing theater. I love doing white theater, which is the Great White Way, and I love to do urban stories too, because I think there's a market for us. I don't think that everything on Broadway relates to us, and I think that's why we as black people don't always go to Broadway shows, but shows like "What's on the Hearts of Men" has a lot of issues that can relate to black families, and that's why I enjoy it.

HARRIS: You bring up something, and i hadn't thought to ask you, but I will now -- have you ever seen white people in the audience?

YOBA: Yes, I think this show in particular has more white folks now for a number of reasons. I think whether they are fans of Stephanie, or fans of mine, or fans of Bee Bee Winans, folks come out, and that's the thing, I mean, it's interesting, you said the Great White Way, and I never thought about Broadway as -- I think that's why they call it that.

MILLS: This show relates to so many...

YOBA: People on a universal level, too.

MILLS: And the men, the issues, we have a good guy. Most women don't like good men. They say they want a good buy, but most women always wind up with the bad boy. Malik plays the bad boy, so to speak. Jerome plays the attorney that's the good guy, and then you have Boo that works at the grocery store and doesn't want to take responsibility...

HARRIS: Let's talk about Bee Bee, I don't want to leave him out. Folks know him, too.

MILLS: Right, Mr. Winans.

YOBA: Bee Been Winans is also in this production with you.

MILLS: Yes, he plays Al Washington.

HARRIS: That's quite a lineup. Was it tough to get all of you to coordinate your schedules to get together and do this sort of thing?

YOBA: Not really. It was just timing. People were available, people were willing to do it, and it just worked.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KAGAN: a lot of great talent there. Thank you, Leon, for contributing that before taking off on vacation.to that Leon before taking off on vacation.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com





 
 
 
 


 Search   

Back to the top