Nia Talita Long (born October 30, 1970) is an American actress. Best known for her work in Black cinema, Long rose to prominence after starring in the film Boyz n the Hood (1991), and for her portrayal of Beullah "Lisa" Wilkes on the NBC sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1991-1995). She then appeared in Friday (1995), as well as the 1997 films Love Jones and Soul Food.
Long is also known for her roles in the films The Best Man (1999), and its sequel The Best Man Holiday (2013), as well as Big Momma's House (2000) and its sequel Big Momma's House 2 (2006). On television, she portrayed Sasha Monroe on the crime drama series Third Watch (2003-2005), and has starred on the Fox drama series Empire (2017), and the CBS action series NCIS: Los Angeles (2017-2018).
Long was born in Brooklyn, New York City, to Talita Long (née Gillman), a teacher and printmaker, and Doughtry Long, a high school teacher and poet. Her mother is of Trinidadian descent. +more 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. +more 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. +more 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. +moreR. 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. +more 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". +more 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. +more 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 former NBA player and current Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka. +more 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|
|1997||Soul Food||Robyn "Bird" Joseph|
|1998||Black Jaq||Jaqueline "Jaq" Blackman||TV Movie|
|1999||In Too Deep||Myra|
|1999||The Best Man||Jordan Armstrong|
|1999||The Secret Laughter of Women||Nimi Da Silva|
|2000||The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy||Leslie|
|2000||Boiler Room||Abbie Halpert|
|2000||If These Walls Could Talk 2||Karen||TV Movie|
|2000||Big Momma's House||Sherry Pierce|
|2002||Sightings: Heartland Ghost||Lou||TV Movie|
|2005||Are We There Yet?||Suzanne Kingston|
|2006||Big Momma's House 2||Sherry Pierce-Turner|
|2007||Are We Done Yet?||Suzanne Persons|
|2008||Gospel Hill||Yvonne Palmer|
|2010||Boston's Finest||Taylor Sanchez||TV Movie|
|2013||The Best Man Holiday||Jordan Armstrong|
|2014||The Single Moms Club||May Miller|
|2017||Beaches||Hillary Whitney||TV Movie|
|2018||The Goldbergs: 1990-Something||Lucy Somers||TV Movie|
|2019||47 Meters Down: Uncaged||Jennifer|
|2020||The Banker||Eunice Garrett|
|2020||Fatal Affair||Ellie Warren|
|2020||Life in a Year||Catherine|
|2022||Look Both Ways||Lucy Galloway|
|1986||227||Girl||Episode: "Slam Dunked"|
|1986||The Disney Sunday Movie||Darla Perkins||Episode: "The B. R. +moreA. T Patrol"|
|1991||The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air||Claudia||Episode: "She Ain't Heavy"|
|1991-93||Guiding Light||Katherine "Kat" Speakes||Regular Cast|
|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"|
|1996||Moesha||Babysitter||Episode: "A Concerted Effort: Part 1 & 2"|
|2001-02||Judging Amy||Andrea Solomon||Recurring Cast: Season 3|
|2003-05||Third Watch||Officer Sasha Monroe||Main Cast: Season 5-6|
|2007||Boston Legal||Vanessa Walker||Recurring Cast: Season 3|
|2007-08||Big Shots||Katie Graham||Main Cast|
|2009-10||The Cleveland Show||Roberta Tubbs (voice)||Main Cast: Season 1|
|2011||Chase||Melissa Randolph||Episode: "Narco: Part 2"|
|2013||House of Lies||Tamara||Recurring Cast: Season 2|
|2014||The Divide||Billie Page||Main Cast|
|2016||Uncle Buck||Alexis Smith-Russell||Main Cast|
|2017||Hand of God||Izzy||Recurring Cast: Season 2|
|2017||Dear White People||Neika Hobbs||Recurring Cast: Season 1|
|2017||Empire||Giuliana 'Giusi' Green||Recurring Cast: Season 3|
|2017-18||NCIS: Los Angeles||Executive Assistant Director Shay Mosley||Main Cast: Season 9-10|
|The Best Man: The Final Chapters||Jordan Armstrong||Main Cast|
|1995||"Keep Their Heads Ringin'"||Dr. +more 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|