The Blacklist Wiki

Hisham Tawfiq is an American actor playing Dembe Zuma, part of the security detail for Raymond Reddington in NBC's The Blacklist.

Early Life[]

Born in New York, Hisham discovered his love of the arts while performing the poem “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” by Laureate Maya Angelou, in high school. Hisham studied at the Negro Ensemble Theater Company, known for educating actors such as Denzel Washington and Ossie Davis. He also studied with coach Susan Batson.

Prior to pursuing a full acting career, Tawfiq has served as a Marine deployed during Desert Storm from 1990 to 1995. From 1994 to 1996, Tawfiq worked as a corrections officer in the Sing Sing Correctional Facility in New York. He also served as a New York firefighter.


Tawfiq performed with The Arkansas Rep. in “Intimate Powers” and played Walter Lee in the production “A Raisin in the Sun,” which Tawfiq has said to be his dream role.

Tawfiq starred in the BET movie “Gun Hill” as Capt. Sanford, commander of a counter-crime task force. On television, Tawfiq has appeared in Lights Out, Law & Order spin-offs Special Victims Unit and Criminal Intent, Kings, Golden Boy, 30 Rock and the 2013 NBC remake of Ironside.

Tawfiq currently plays the role of Dembe in NBC's The Blacklist.