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Malik Yoba and Rob Riley Talk “Bad Dad Rehab” & Why “Empire” Is Bad for Television

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Malik Yoba at a “Bad Dad Rehab” screening in Atlanta, GA June 29, 2016; Paras Griffin/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Malik Yoba and Rob Riley star in TV One’s Bad Dad Rehab and are speaking out about the TV movie’s positive message, and why it’s such a contrast with shows like Empire.

In the movie, which debuted July 3, Yoba plays a counselor who helps reform four deadbeat dads including Riley’s character. Yoba explains that the movie isn’t just about deadbeat dads, it’s about their journey to becoming better men.

“It’s one of those things that’s also so refreshing that it gets people feeling a way that they often don’t feel from seeing a film,” he says. “If I asked you the question, ‘When is the last time you saw a film with four men dealing with their daddy issues?’ your answer would pretty much be — ‘I have never seen that.'”

Riley says he would like to see more positive images of black Americans on prime-time television versus “ratchet” programming like Empire and its lead character Cookie Lyon.

“You shouldn’t be aspiring to be Cookie Lyon. You could aspire to be a boss lady and own a company. Of course, absolutely,” he says. “But you’re not aspiring to be ratchet and throwing drinks in people’s faces and snatching weaves and all kinds of nonsense.”

Yoba concurs revealing he was glad his time on Empire was cut short because it allowed him to focus on more important things, like his business, Iconic 32.

“The whole time I was doing that show I never felt settled in a place of truth for me,” he says. “Though the paycheck was a nice paycheck. But at the same time when someone says, ‘You ain’t going to get that paycheck,’ and I’m like, ‘OK cool. Thank you for what you’ve given me.'” 

TV One’s Bad Dad Rehab re-airs on Sunday, July 10 at 5 p.m. ET.

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