Actress Nia Long graces the cover of the April/May issue of UPTOWN magazine. Long is best known for her roles in urban/hood movies such as Boyz n the Hood, Love Jones, Friday and The Best Man.
At 45, the sexy actress says she’s done playing roles that limits her growth as an actress.
“I’m a woman over 40, so thank God I’m working,” she told UPTOWN. “I’m not trying to be an ingénue anymore. I wouldn’t want those opportunities because then that would just mean that I haven’t grown.”
Long currently stars in Kegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele’s hit comedy film debut, Keanu, in theaters now. She also co-stars alongside Mike Epps in ABC’s half-hour comedy vehicle, Uncle Buck, slated to premiere in June.
“I think the whole point as an artist is that you want your work, in some sort of way, to reflect how you’ve evolved as a person and as a woman. The more you work, the smarter you are,” she reflects.
“You know, I’d love to do a yummy period piece where I could just take this weave out of my hair and just be natural and black. I would love to just strip down and be my most vulnerable self in a feature. I believe it’s all coming.”
Long, who is married to former NBA player Ime Udoka, has 2 children, Kez Sunday Udoka, 4, and 15-year-old actor Massai Zhivago Dorsey II from a previous relationship.
On Jada Pinkett-Smith protesting the Oscar Awards:
“I’ve known Jada since we were young women. She got the whole country talking about something [necessary] and it’s a great thing,” Long says. “She’s one of the soldiers. I was proud of her. I was proud that she even had the nerve to say anything. Nobody else did, until she did. A lot of people thought that she was upset because Will didn’t get nominated, but I think it was her way of expressing her disappointment because nobody black was nominated.
On why no one black was nominated for an Oscar:
“People think that just because your name is Denzel Washington or Will Smith or Kevin Hart, that automatically things are easy. These people have spent years building. No matter what level you’re on in this industry, you’re expected to be excellent. Being excellent — when the material isn’t — can be challenging.”
On Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor passing away:
“Somebody called me and said, ‘You know you’re in that Tribe song.’ I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ The line is, ‘Trini-born black like Nia Long’s grandmother.’ I was like, ‘This is the hottest song in the club. What?’ I got a little depressed the last couple days because I started thinking about [late rapper Heavy D], then Phife, and then me and Ime were listening to A Tribe Called Quest on the way to the game.”
On being in a good space mentally and emotionally:
“I have a very Zen persona right now. I do meditations and my affirmations because there are so many things in my world that I cannot control, and learning to be okay with that is where I think you find true peace. I think finally I’m learning what it means to be a wife, a mother, an actress, and then just being Nia, which is separate from all of that, but the core part of all of it, as well. Being able to create balance, and even just knowing that, is super important. And just loving who I am, even when I don’t feel that I’m being so lovable. Just accepting myself with all of my greatness and all of my flaws is half the battle for anybody at any age.”