Photo: Getty Images
  /  12.31.2022

When it comes to Black cult classic films, it is a challenge to name one that does not feature Nia Long in its cast. From Boyz N the Hood, Friday, Soul Food, Love Jones, and of course, The Best Man franchise, the actress has been a staple in projects that highlight the humanity of the Black experience for years.

As beloved as those films and several others are, Long recently told BuzzFeed that categorizing them as Black is somewhat of a disservice to the work. In the story published on Friday (Dec. 30), she said, “I think terms like that hold us back, and I have to catch myself sometimes too because I’m very proud of who I am. When I use the word Black, I don’t use it as a way to separate ourselves from anyone.”

Her sentiments carry over when it comes to the term Blackfamous too. Author and cultural critic Michael Harriot defined the expression as the “gap between Black stardom and white anonymity.” For some, being Blackfamous equates to little to no recognition from mainstream audiences, but Long has a different take. “I use it as a way to put an exclamation point behind our greatness because I don’t think that it’s always been celebrated and recognized,” she said.

The actress also stated that as it pertains to the roles fans have come to love her for, her approach is less about the Black aspect and more centered on the story. “I have this thing in me that says, ‘I’m being used to tell stories, to inspire our people and to serve as a voice, so I’m going to just trust this process.’ If I read a script and I love it, and I say, ‘I’ve got to do that,’ then I’m going to do it,” she explained.

Long continued, “But I’m also a lover of mankind and human beings and accepting of all people that are good, so multiculturalism is equally as important to me. But I’m here to represent who we are and if you want to come along for the ride, everyone’s welcome!”

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