Yahya Abdul-Mateen II has a skroooooooong name you won’t see anywhere else but apparently, his remarkable moniker made some Hollywood higher-ups nervous.
The “Watchmen” star who traded in his blue-tinged Dr. Manhattan skin for a villainous lead as Candyman in Jordan Peele’s upcoming supernatural slasher, recently shared that he was encouraged to water down his name. Why? Well because of its Muslim roots.
According to Yahya, he was asked to drop “Abdul” and “II” from his name and it was suggested that he go by Yahya Mateen or simply Yahya. Luckily he stuck to his guns and he’s honored to see his full name used for top billing in productions like Aquaman and the forthcoming Matrix 4.
He told GQ Middle East ;
“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,” he told GQ Middle East. And that’s why it’s so inspiring to people. 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.'”
“For a lot of aspiring actors and artists around the world, America is the destination, the comparison. So to have my name at the top of the billing on my own for ‘Candyman’, right up there on ‘Aquaman’, and next to Keanu Reeves in a big production like ‘The Matrix’ is huge. To be validated, to hold my own, and to go on talk shows where they say my entire name, that’s inspiring.”
The actor added to GQ Middle East that it’s important to uphold the name of Yahya Abdul-Mateen Sr. who passed away when the actor was 21 and whose personal prayers inspired the actor. The father and son’s names come from a prophet, ‘Yahya’ in Islam, who is commonly identified as John the Baptist. According to Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, he honors his father by using his full name.
“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.””
We’re glad that the name Yahya Abdul-Mateen exists in its fullest capacity and the actor didn’t dilute it for acceptance.
Speaking of acceptance, Yahya very well may be accepting an EMMY soon. The EMMYS announced today that he’s up for Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series for his role in Watchmen.
“WOW!! WOW!! WOAH!! This is real!! I JUST GOT NOMINATED FOR AN EMMY, y’all!! 🤯 Feels so good to be acknowledged for my work by The Academy and my peers. Thank you so much!” he captioned a pic of himself smiling from ear to ear.
“I appreciate you! Congrats as well to my fellow nominees! Humbled, Greatful, and EXCITED! I can’t stop smiling! #Emmys #BestSupportingActor #LimitedSeries”
Watchmen is expected to take home SEVERAL trophies and leads the pack with 26 (TWENTY-SIX) nominations!