Nia Talita Long
October 30, 1970
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
|Partner(s)||Ime Udoka (2010–present; engaged)|
Long is best known for her roles in the films Boyz n the Hood (1991), Love Jones, Soul Food (both 1997), The Best Man (1999) and its sequel The Best Man Holiday (2013), Big Momma's House (2000) and its sequel Big Momma's House 2 (2006). On television, she starred as Beullah "Lisa" Wilkes on the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1991–1995) and as Sasha Monroe on the crime drama series Third Watch (2003–2005).
Long was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Talita Long (née Gillman), a teacher and printmaker, and Doughtry Long, a high school teacher and poet. Her mother is of Trinidadian, Grenadian and Bajan descent. She has an older half-sister, the actress and comedian known as Sommore.
Long was two years old when her parents 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 fiancé called off the wedding, but Talita chose to stay in Los Angeles. Long's father resided in Trenton, New Jersey.
She was bused from South LA to Paseo Del Rey Elementary School in Playa Del Rey from 3rd grade through 6th grade, and attended St. Mary's Academy in Inglewood, California. In addition to her academic classes, she studied ballet, tap, jazz, gymnastics, guitar, and acting. She graduated from Westchester High School in Los Angeles in 1989.
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". It 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." From 1994 to 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 Long to take the part. However, in the second season of the show (episode 8 - "She Ain’t Heavy" 1992), Long appeared as Claudia, a love interest of Will's, alongside Queen Latifah.
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 to 2008 alongside Michael Vartan and Dylan McDermott. In 2016, Long was cast in a recurring role for the TV series Empire. She acquired the role of Giuliana, a Las Vegas club owner.
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 sitcom Living Single during its first season. She originally voiced Roberta Tubbs on The Cleveland Show before being replaced by Reagan Gomez-Preston.
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 white man. Long was revealed to be 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 Malcolm D. 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?"
Long has a son, born in 2000, from a previous relationship. Since 2010, she has been in a relationship with Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka. They have a son, born in 2011. The couple became engaged in 2015, though Long has stated she has no plans to marry.
Long contributes her time to the Sterling Children's Home in Barbados, as a motivational speaker.
|1991||Boyz n the Hood||Brandi|
|1993||Made in America||Zora Mathews|
|1997||Love Jones||Nina Mosley|
|Soul Food||Robyn "Bird" Joseph|
|1999||In Too Deep||Myra|
|The Best Man||Jordan Armstrong|
|The Secret Laughter of Women||Nimi Da Silva|
|2000||The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy||Leslie|
|Boiler Room||Abbie Halpert|
|Big Momma's House||Sherry Pierce|
|2005||Are We There Yet?||Suzanne Kingston|
|2006||Big Momma's House 2||Sherry Pierce-Turner|
|Are We Done Yet?||Suzanne Persons|
|2008||Gospel Hill||Yvonne Palmer|
|2013||The Best Man Holiday||Jordan Armstrong|
|2014||The Single Moms Club||May Miller|
|2019||47 Meters Down: Uncaged||Jennifer|
|2020||The Banker||Eunice Garrett|
|Fatal Affair||Ellie Warren|
|Life in a Year||Catherine|
|1986||227||Girl||Episode: "Slam Dunked"|
|The Disney Sunday Movie||Darla Perkins||Episode: "The B.R.A.T Patrol"|
|1991||The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air||Claudia Prescott||Episode: "She Ain't Heavy"|
|1991–93||Guiding Light||Katherine "Kat" Speakes||Regular role|
|1993||Living Single||Stacey Evans||Episode: "Love Takes a Holiday"|
|1994–95||The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air||Lisa Wilkes||Recurring cast (season 5)|
|1995||Live Shot||Ramona Greer||TV series|
|1996||ER||Christy Wilson||Episode: "Baby Shower"|
|Moesha||Ruth Washington||2 episodes|
|1998||Black Jaq||Jaqueline "Jaq" Blackman||TV movie|
|2000||If These Walls Could Talk 2||Karen||TV movie|
|2001–02||Judging Amy||Andrea Solomon||Recurring cast (season 3)|
|2002||Sightings: Heartland Ghost||Lou||TV movie|
|2003–05||Third Watch||Officer Sasha Monroe||Main cast (season 5-6)|
|2007||Boston Legal||Vanessa Walker||3 episodes|
|2007–08||Big Shots||Katie Graham||Main cast|
|2009–10||The Cleveland Show||Roberta Tubbs (voice)||Main cast (season 1)|
|2010||Boston's Finest||Taylor Sanchez||TV movie|
|2011||Chase||Melissa Randolph||Episode: "Narco: Part 2"|
|2013||House of Lies||Tamara||Recurring cast (season 2)|
|2014||The Divide||Billie Page||Main cast|
|2015–16||Real Husbands of Hollywood||Herself||2 episodes|
|2016||Uncle Buck||Alexis Smith-Russell||Main cast|
|2017||Beaches||Hillary Whitney||TV movie|
|Hand of God||Izzy||Recurring cast (season 2)|
|Dear White People||Neika Hobbs||Recurring cast (season 1)|
|Empire||Giuliana 'Giusi' Green||Recurring cast (season 3)|
|2017–18||NCIS: Los Angeles||Executive Assistant Director Shay Mosley||Main cast (season 9-10)|
|2018||The Goldbergs: 1990-Something||Lucy Somers||TV movie|
|2019–20||Blaze and the Monster Machines||Officer Anna (voice)||2 episodes|
|TBA||The Best Man: The Final Chapters||Jordan Armstrong||Main cast|
|1995||"Keep Their Heads Ringin'"||Dr. Dre||Dancer|
|2005||"Touch the Sky"||Kanye West featuring Lupe Fiasco|
|2008||"Long Distance Girlfriend"||Heavy D|
|2015||"California Roll"||Snoop Dogg featuring Stevie Wonder||Woman in Theatre|
Awards and nominations
- "Nia Long Biography". TVGuide.com. Archived from the original on September 18, 2015.
- Cummings, Renée (March 9, 2012). "Talita Long, mother of actress Nia Long..." Archived from the original on March 6, 2016. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
- Her father is African American.Lauryn Hill, Nia Long. BV Entertainment Newswire – AOL Black Voices. December 21, 2005
- Pandora's Box: Mashonda Interviews Nia Long. vibe.com. September 15, 2010
- "Nia Long & Sommore Are REAL SISTERS But THIS Is Why We NEVER See Them Together". I Love Old School Music. December 13, 2016. Retrieved December 31, 2020.
- "In Step With: Nia Long". Parade Magazine. January 16, 2005.
- Melton, Nicole Marie Nia Long Reflects on 20th Anniversary of 'Boyz n the Hood' (July 14, 2011)
- Imarenezor, Christine. "Nia Long Snags New Role On Season 3 Of 'Empire'". Vibe.com. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
- Ramos, Dorkys (November 18, 2013). "Nia Long Wanted a White Boyfriend on The Best Man Holiday". BET.
- N'Duka, Amanda (October 2, 2019). "Nia Long To Produce & Star Alongside Omar Epps And Stephen Bishop In Netflix Film 'Fatal Affair'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
- Lawrence, Gregory (July 1, 2020). "The Trailer for Netflix's 'Fatal Affair' Delivers Cheesy Domestic Thriller Realness". Collider. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
- Guerrasio, Jason (July 16, 2020). "Nia Long is done playing the Hollywood game". Insider. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
- Macatee, Rebecca (November 10, 2011). "Nia Long Gives Birth to Son Kez Sunday Udoka". Us Weekly. Retrieved May 8, 2021.
- Nessif, Bruna (May 27, 2015). "Nia Long Engaged to Longtime Boyfriend Ime Udoka—See the Ring!". E! News. Retrieved May 8, 2021.
- Grant, Jasmine (July 24, 2020). "Exclusive: Nia Long Explains Why She's Not A Fan of Marriage". Essence. Retrieved May 8, 2021.
- "Nia: A Purpose-Driven Life". Ebony. November 2010.
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