Nia Long Reveals The One Character She Most Identified With In Her Movies

The actress opened up about why 'Love Jones' meant so much to her.

In March, Love Jones celebrated its 20th anniversary as a beloved romance film with a completely Black cast.

The cult classic — starring Nia LongLorenz Tate, Isiah Washington, Lisa Nicole Carson and Bill Bellamy — was centered around a love story based in Chicago’s spoken word scene. 

On Tuesday, during the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ “In the Mood for Love Jones – The Academy Celebrates the Film’s 20th Anniversary” event (moderated by Moonlight director Barry Jenkins) the film’s creative team talked about the legacy of the movie.  

“For me, I read this script and thought, ‘Wow, this is amazing,'” Long said about first being approached about the film. 

“I’m from Brooklyn. My father’s a poet. My mother’s a fine artist. So this world was very familiar to me and when I’ve looked back on all the women that I’ve played, in this beautiful career with these wonderful opportunities, Nina is probably the most like myself,” she revealed about her Love Jones character.

“I couldn’t sit through the movie, I was going to cry. It touches me in such a deep way.”

But despite Long’s love of the film, she is sadden that in the 20 years since it hit theaters, there aren’t more Black love stories being shown in this way.

“The only disappointment I have is that we have not seen a film like this since,” she said. 

While some would argue Charles Murray’s Things Never Said or Gina Prince-Bythewood’s Beyond the Lights were worthy contenders, we can all agree that there can never be enough narratives of Black love. 

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You know, really getting back into the groove of work. It's been, I feel like a clown half the time, like juggling, trying to make sure. Like just this morning the baby was up with a temperature and, and was not well. So, I was up since five, and I got him settled, got dressed, came here, but my mom came over early and helped me. So, you know, when you think about how African villages are set up, or really any village is set up in, in smaller countries and townships. Everybody sorta helps each other. It's not just the mom doing everything or the father doing everything. There's like a committee of women who gather around when there's a new child, and there's children involved, and they just pitch in and make it happen. And so I'm just thankful that I have my mom. Yes, my little baby bundle's in the film. He was good. I was very proud of him, he auditioned for the film. I read the script and I was like, oh, wow I have a son in the film, my, the Masai's age, and I thought, well he should just audition and see what happens. So I called Tyler and I was like, what do you think? And Tyler's like, sure! And I said okay, so my mom actually took him to my old acting coach. She's basically taught me everything that I know. And she worked with Masai for about a couple days, we recorded it, we sent it to Tyler, we didn't hear anything for two days. I was like, oh god, it's not gettin the job and then finally we got the word that he got the job, so it was exciting. And I actually wanted him to be in the film for selfish reasons, because I felt I was gonna be gone for two months and I just was like, I don't wanna be away. And it sorta kinda worked out really well. It was great until he told me, mom that's not your line. Like, as the camera was rolling. It's was like, mom you just said the wrong line. I'm like, baby it's called imprompt. Just go with it, just go with me. And I'm actually gonna ask Tyler if I can have some of that footage, because it's hysterical. [MUSIC]