Whether it’s battling Aquaman, his Emmy-winning turn in Watchmen, or portraying American political activist and Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale in Netflix’s The Trial of the Chicago 7, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II has only been acting professionally for a few years but is now one of the most recognizable talents and one that seems to blend into every role.
A New Orleans native, Mateen II picked up and headed out west to the Bay Area, going to school in Oakland, California. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in architecture and then worked as a city planner in San Francisco before making a big pivot to acting, receiving a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Yale School of Drama and working as a stage actor. He quickly moved to television in The Get Down (2016) as well as episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale (2018) and Black Mirror (2019) before landing Watchmen (2019). This all got him noticed, quickly, and landed him film work in a wide range of genres.
We recently had a chance to speak with him about his role as Seale in The Trial of the Chicago 7 and we learned about his process and what role people recognize him most for.
The Trial of the Chicago 7 is currently available to stream exclusively on Netflix.
Image courtesy of Netflix