"The organization hasn't called to see if my children or I are OK" - Nia Long finally reacts to cheating scandal from husband Ime Udoka KossyDerrickBlog KossyDerrickEnt

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Thursday, December 1, 2022

"The organization hasn't called to see if my children or I are OK" - Nia Long finally reacts to cheating scandal from husband Ime Udoka

Nia Long recently walked off a set for the first time in her 36-year career. “It broke my heart to have to do it because that’s not who I am, but I knew that I needed to do it because it didn’t feel good in my belly,” she tells me from across a booth at Culina, where we’re having lunch inside the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills.

Quitting a job in the middle of production may not be characteristic of the consummate professional that Long, 52, is known to be, but it reflects the woman she says she’s becoming. Having made a name for herself playing memorable leading roles in Black movies and sitcoms — she’s perhaps most famous for her role in the influential Best Man franchise, as well as Nina to Larenz Tate’s Darius in the iconic romance Love Jones, in addition to her seminal role in Boyz n the Hood — the veteran actress doesn’t feel beholden to what she calls “this competitive race to be the ‘It’ girl forever.” Besides, some 20 rap songs, dating back to A Tribe Called Quest’s 1993 release “Steve Biko (Stir It Up),” have already immortalized her status as such — an honor Long says she appreciates as a “true hip-hop lover.”

“I’m just super Black, so anything that we’re doing, if I matter to us, then I know that I’m living in alignment with my purpose,” she says. It’s for this reason that Long intends to be more intentional about the roles she chooses, seeking projects that not only speak to her personally but also resonate with the collective effort of Black artists to have more say in Hollywood. This shift in focus has led to a number of fresh starts for the actress.

“2023 is like the year of new beginnings for me,” she says. “I couldn’t be more excited.”

Change is indeed the current constant for Long. The actress is in the midst of moving back to Los Angeles from Boston into a new home with her sons, Massai, 22, and Kez, 11, as Kez’s father, the embattled Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka, contends with a one-year suspension. It’s been an emotional year, made all the more so by having to say goodbye to a character she’s played three times over the course of her career: Jordan Armstrong. Long first portrayed the headstrong media mogul in 1999’s The Best Man and again in the 2013 sequel, The Best Man Holiday, which notably beat out Thor: The Dark World to top the box office on its opening day. Both films were written and directed by Malcolm D. Lee, who, along with the ensemble cast — including Morris Chestnut, Regina Hall, Taye Diggs, Sanaa Lathan, Terrence Howard and Melissa De Sousa — have returned for the forthcoming Peacock series The Best Man: The Final Chapters, premiering Dec. 22.

As we previously reported, Udoka -- hired as the Celtics HC last year -- was shelved for the entire 2022-23 season in September ... after having an inappropriate relationship with a female staff, violating team policy.

Long -- who got engaged to Udoka in 2015 and has an 11-year-old son with the coach -- hasn't spoken publicly about the scandal until recently doing an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

"I think the most heartbreaking thing about all of this was seeing my son’s face," the actress said, "when the Boston Celtics organization decided to make a very private situation public.
"It was devastating, and it still is."

The "Friday" actress -- who did not discuss her relationship status with Udoka -- also called out the Celtics for not reaching out when they revealed the personal details of the scandal.

"If you're in the business of protecting women — I’m sorry, no one from the Celtics organization has even called to see if I’m OK, to see if my children are OK. It’s very disappointing.”

In spite of that, Long said she had "a tribe of women and men" instead ... protecting and comforting her through this difficult time.

Plus, Long is looking forward to directing her first film ... and it's a love story

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