Loading...

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Explained The Meaning Of His Name And Why Hell Never Change It

Updated on Jul 27, 2020. Posted on Jul 26, 2020

Yahya’s name has a connection to Islam.


Amy Sussman / Getty Images

The 33-year-old actor has starred in a string of hits, including Baywatch, The Greatest Showman, Aquaman, Us, and, most recently, Watchmen as Dr. Manhattan.

Not only is he insanely talented (and equally handsome), but the burgeoning star is also set to play the lead in the upcoming sequel to 1992’s Candyman.

Ahead of the film’s release, which was originally scheduled for June 12 but was pushed back because of the coronavirus pandemic, Yahya spoke with GQ Middle East about his rise to fame and how he was once asked to change his Muslim name.

According to the outlet, the incident happened early on in his career, when the New Orleans native was just starting out in Hollywood. Yahya recalled being asked to drop “Abdul” and “II” from his name and go by Yahya Mateen or simply Yahya.


Michael Loccisano / Getty Images

But his name, which he got from his father, represents a prophet in Islam of the same name and meant more than just a simple moniker to the actor.


Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images

“My father [Yahya Abdul-Mateen] prayed for his parents every day and took them along the journey with them,” he recalled. “I can only hope to do the same, and one way I can do that is by holding on to the second [in my name], because that means you have to acknowledge the first, too: my father.”


Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

He continued, “My name is not the name you’d pick out of a hat — Yahya Abdul-Mateen the second is no John Wayne; it’s not traditionally the guy at the top of the billing. And that’s why it’s so inspiring to people.”


Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

He shared, “I get messages all the time saying, ‘Thank you, brother, for representing for us Muslims. I was thinking about changing my name, but now that I see you, I’ll never change it.'”


Michael Loccisano / Getty Images

Yahya added, “To be validated, to hold my own, and to go on talk shows where they say my entire name, that’s inspiring.”


Dia Dipasupil / Getty Images

I doubt there will be anyone who isn’t saying his name after Candyman finally hits theaters.

BuzzFeed Daily

Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *