Yahya Abdul-Mateen II recalls dealing with racism at UC Berkeley

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II — a breakout star of DC’s “Aquaman” and HBO’s “Watchmen” — is the cover star of the latest Men’s Health, and contributed to the mag’s special report, “Race, Racism, and Black Men’s Health.”

Oakland, Calif., native Abdul-Mateen recalls dealing with racism as a freshman at UC Berkeley. “I studied architecture, and … it was common to spend the whole night working in the studio,” he writes. “One night, I left the studio around 1:00 a.m. to go to my dorm and get something to eat, and then I headed back … As I approached the building, there was a woman going inside, just a couple steps ahead of me.”

When he tried to enter the building, the woman told him, “ ‘Stop, you don’t belong here.’ I said, ‘What are you talking about? I’m going to the studio. I’m going to the same place as you.’ And she said, ‘Please stop. You don’t belong here.’ ” He reached for his student ID when the woman told him, “I’m gonna call the police and tell them that you’re trying to rape me.”

When he pulled the door open, “she began running and screaming at the top of her lungs.” Campus security arrived but after questioning them “apologized and left.”

Abdul-Mateen writes, “I remember being so angry that I cried. It was frustrating. I deserved to be there. Period. That was my reminder that even if I did everything right … some things in life would be unavoidable. Because I was black. I was 18 years old. I did the only thing I knew to do. I cried, and I swallowed that s - - t.”

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