Career retrospective with Nia Long. Moderated by Jenelle Riley, Variety.
Since making her film debut in John Singleton’s Oscar-nominated film, “Boyz In The Hood,” Nia Long continues to cultivate a versatile resume in both film and television.
On the big screen, Long will can be seen opposite Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele in New Line’s feature comedy “Keanu.” No stranger to box-office success, Long has been a part of three successful film franchises, including the “The Best Man,” for which she earned an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture, and its 2013 follow-up, “The Best Man Holiday,” which earned critical and commercial success. Martin Lawrence’s “Big Momma’s House” and “Big Momma’s House 2” collectively earned over $300 million and earned Long an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Motion Picture. Additionally, Long co-starred in the Ice Cube family comedies “Are We There Yet?” and “Are We Done Yet,” which spawned the TBS comedy series “Are We There Yet?” Most recently, Long starred in “The Single Moms Club,” which she co-starred with her son Massai, and additional film roles include “Friday,” with Ice Cube and Chris Tucker; “Made in America,” with Whoopi Goldberg; “Love Jones,” which won the Audience Award at Sundance and earned Long an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Motion Picture; “Soul Food”; “Stigmata”; “The Secret Laughter of Women,” opposite Colin Firth; “Alfie,” with Jude Law; and “Premonition,” with Sandra Bullock.
She first caught audience’s attention as Will Smith’s love interest on NBC’s “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” which garnered her first NAACP Image Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Long co-starred alongside Vanessa Redgrave, Sharon Stone and Ellen DeGeneres in the Emmy-nominated HBO telefilm “If These Walls Could Talk 2.” The performance earned Long an NAACP Image Award Nomination for Best Actress in a Television Movie. Her portrayal of Officer Sasha Monroe on NBC’s “Third Watch” earned her two NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series. Additional television credits include recurring roles on “Judging Amy” and “Boston Legal.” Most recently, Long starred in the political thriller “The Divide,” from director Tony Goldwyn and writer Richard LaGravenese, and appeared on Showtime’s “House of Lies,” which earned Long an NAACP Image Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.
Behind the camera, the actress made her directorial debut on Ashanti’s music video “Baby,”the third single from her platinum-selling debut album, “Ashanti.” Additionally, Long directed the music video for platinum-selling gospel artist Yolanda Adams’ single “This Too Shall Pass,” from the #1 selling gospel album, “Day By Day.” Continuing her work behind the camera, she is currently developing a feature film that centers on renowned world champion boxer and trainer Ann Wolfe.
In addition to her film and television work, Long’s passion lies in supporting her community. With her family roots in Trinidad, she aims to be the liaison between the youth in the United States and on the island of Trinidad. In 2013, Long was a vocal proponent to the Barack Obama reelection campaign and has remained active in supporting women’s rights, education and affordable healthcare.
A Brooklyn native, Long resides in Los Angeles with her two sons and fiancée, Ime Udoka, assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs.