Nia Long

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Nia Long
Nia Long 2012.jpg
Long in 2012.
Born (1970-10-30) October 30, 1970 (age 44)
Brooklyn, New York, United States
Occupation Actress
Years active 1986–present
Partner(s) Ime Udoka (2010–present)
Children 2
Website
twitter.com/nialong

Nia Long (born October 30, 1970) is an American actress. She is best known for her roles in the television series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Third Watch, and the films In Too Deep, Boyz n the Hood, Friday, Boiler Room, Soul Food, Love Jones, The Best Man, Big Momma's House, and the sequels to the latter two films.

Early years[edit]

Long was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Talita (Gillman), a teacher and printmaker, and Doughtry "Doc" Long, a high school teacher and poet.[1] Her family is of Trinidadian and Grenadian descent.[2][3][4] Her name, Nia, is one of the seven days of Kwanzaa, which means purpose in Swahili. Long was two years old when her parents were divorced. She accompanied her mother when she moved to Iowa City, Iowa to study fine arts. Her mother moved to South Los Angeles when Long was seven years old, as she planned to marry there. She and her fiance called off the wedding, but Talita chose to stay in L.A.[5] Long's father currently resides in Trenton, New Jersey.

Long attended the Roman Catholic school St. Mary's Academy.[6] In addition to her academic classes, she studied ballet, tap, jazz, gymnastics, guitar, and acting. She graduated from Westchester High School in 1989.

She has an older half-sister, the actress and comedian known as Sommore.

Career[edit]

Long in 2009.

Long's acting coach was Betty Bridges, better known as the mother of Diff'rent Strokes star Todd Bridges. Her earliest role was in the Disney television movie, The B.R.A.T Patrol alongside Sean Astin, Tim Thomerson and Brian Keith. Her first notable role on television was a three-year contract role as Kathryn "Kat" Speakes on the soap opera Guiding Light. Long portrayed Kat from 1991 to 1994. Long played Brandi in Boyz n the Hood. The film excited Long, who was doing her "first real movie role" would helped Long build her confidence as an actress. "It introduced me to the world in a way that it was okay for me to be who I am and still find success," she added. "I didn’t have to conform to anything."[7] From 1994 - 1995, she played Will Smith's girlfriend and fiancée Beulah "Lisa" Wilkes on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Jada Pinkett-Smith was originally supposed to play Lisa, but was too short for the role (opposite a 6'2" Will Smith), thus leaving Nia to take the part.

In 2000, Long was offered the role of Alex Munday in Charlie's Angels, but she turned it down, and the role was eventually given to Lucy Liu. In 2003, she joined the cast of the drama Third Watch, where she played NYPD Officer Sasha Monroe, continuing until the series finale in 2005. In 2005 and 2006, Long appeared on Everwood, and appeared on Boston Legal during its 2006-2007 season. Long also starred in Big Shots from 2007-2008 alongside Michael Vartan and Dylan McDermott.

Long appeared in supporting roles in a number of movies such as Friday and Made in America. Long played a leading role, or a member of the primary ensemble, in several films, including Soul Food, Love Jones, Boiler Room, Big Momma's House, Are We There Yet?, and The Best Man. Ice Cube has starred with her in four films, while (fellow Westchester High alum) Regina King has starred with her in two. Long starred alongside Michael Beach in Soul Food and in the TV series Third Watch.

Long appears in the video for Kanye West's "Touch the Sky". She directed Yolanda Adams's music video for "This Too Shall Pass". She won a NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series in 2004 for her performance on Third Watch. Long co-directed and appeared in Ashanti's music video, "Baby". She also made a guest appearance on the successful sitcom Living Single during its first season.

She appeared in the 2013 film The Best Man Holiday, reprising her role from the original 1999 film. Unlike the original film, however, her character is in an interracial relationship with a Caucasian man. Long was revealed to have pursuing an interracial relationship in the film and explained: "We're living in a modern world where it happens and it's OK and it's no disrespect to any Black man. I love Black men, but the reality is the sistahs are marrying white men and the brothas are marrying white women and that's the world that we live in and it's not to be judged, and if it works for you then embrace it". Director Spike Lee also supported the interracial relationship being portrayed in the film. "African-American women who are extremely successful can't always find Black male counterparts on that level so it's a little bit of a reflection of reality that Black women are starting to date outside their race — and why not?"[8]

Personal life[edit]

Long has two sons, Massai Zhivago Dorsey II and Kez Sunday Udoka. With regard to being a working parent, Long says "she is up for the challenge so long as it does not require disturbing her family's well-being". "If I’m gonna hustle, I want to hustle in one place... I uprooted everything, moved to New York for two years, moved back and it was great but I really am enjoying the stability."[citation needed] Long described Massai as "a great kid who really is like my best friend".[9]

The actress contributes her time to the Sterling Children's Home in Barbados, as a motivational speaker. [10]

Long is a supporter of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.[11]

Long supported Barack Obama during his presidential campaign and became a vocal proponent of his reelection in 2012. Long said in July of that year that she had met President Obama twice. According to Long, he told her that he loved Good Hair.[12] Long declared President Obama's first term as being dedicated to "cleaning up the mess" left by the previous administration of President George W. Bush.[13]

Filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1990 Buried Alive Fingers
1991 Boyz n the Hood Brandi
1993 Made in America Zora Mathews
1995 Friday Debra/Debbie
1997 Love Jones Nina Mosley
Hav Plenty Trudy
Soul Food Bird
1998 Butter Carmen Jones
1999 In Too Deep Myra
The Best Man Jordan Armstrong Winner of a Black Reel Award for Best Actress and a NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
Stigmata Donna Chadway
Held Up Rae
The Secret Laughter of Women Nimi Da Silva
2000 The Broken Hearts Club:
A Romantic Comedy
Leslie
Boiler Room Abbie Halpert Nominated for a Black Reel Award
Big Momma's House Sherry Pierce
2003 BAADASSSSS! Sandra
2004 The N-Word Herself Documentary
Alfie Lonette Nominated for a Black Reel Award
2005 Are We There Yet? Suzanne Kingston
2006 Big Momma's House 2 Sherry Pierce-Turner Reprising her role from the 2000 film Big Momma's House
2007 Premonition Annie
Are We Done Yet? Suzanne Kingston-Persons Reprising her role from the 2005 film Are We There Yet?
2008 Gospel Hill Mrs. Palmer
2009 Good Hair Herself Documentary
2010 Mooz-lum Safiyah
2013 The Best Man Holiday Jordan Armstrong Reprising her role from the 1999 film The Best Man
2014 The Single Moms Club May
2015 Spy Filming

Television[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1986 227 Girl 1 episode
The B.R.A.T. Patrol Darla Perkins Buried Alive 1990
1991–1993 Guiding Light Katherine 'Kat' Speakes unknown episodes
1993 Living Single Stacey Evans 1 episode
1994–1995 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Lisa Wilkes 15 episodes
1995–1996 Live Shot Ramona Greer 1 episode
1996 Moesha babysitter 2 episodes
ER Christy Wilson 1 episode
1998 Black Jaq Jaqueline 'Jaq' Blackman (unsold pilot)
2000 If These Walls Could Talk 2 Karen "1972" segment
2001–2002 Judging Amy Andrea Solomon 6 episodes
2002 Sightings: Heartland Ghost Lou Television Movie
2003–2005 Third Watch Officer Sasha Monroe 45 episodes
2006 Everwood Cassie 1 episode
2007 Boston Legal Vanessa Walker 3 episodes
2007–2008 Big Shots Katie Ghrham 11 episodes
2009–2010 The Cleveland Show Roberta Tubbs 13 episodes
2012–2013 Malibu Stacy Martina Barry 08 episodes
2012 House of Lies Tamara
2014 The Divide Billie Page

Awards and nominations[edit]

BET Comedy Awards
Year Category Result
2005 Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Theatrical Film (Alfie) Nominated
Black Reel Awards
Year Category Result
2001 Best Supporting Actress (Alfie) style="background: #FDD; color: black; vertical-align: middle; text-align: center; " class="no table-no2"|Nominated
Best Supporting Actress (Boiler Room)
2000 Best Actress (The Best Man) Won
Image Awards
Year Category Result
2005 Outstanding Actress in a Television Drama ("Third Watch") style="background: #99FF99; color: black; vertical-align: middle; text-align: center; " class="yes table-yes2"|Won
2004 Outstanding Actress in a Television Drama ("Third Watch")
2001 Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture (Big Momma's House) style="background: #FDD; color: black; vertical-align: middle; text-align: center; " class="no table-no2"|Nominated
Outstanding Actress in Television Movie/Mini-Series (If These Walls Could Talk 2)
2000 Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture (The Best Man) Won

References[edit]

External links[edit]