Will Smith’s career hasn’t been easy, and Nia Long is certainly proud of how he’s navigated the pressure.
Long, 52, who previously starred opposite Smith, 54, on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” as his girlfriend and fiancée Beulah “Lisa” Wilkes, praised her former co-star in an interview with Yahoo Friday.
“I will always love him. He’s had an incredible career, and he’s carried a burden for many years to try to represent what perfection looks like,” the “You People” actress said. “Or what achievement looks like.”
When they starred in the 1990s sitcom, Long said there wasn’t as much room for actors “to be human.” Celebrity culture has since changed. “I think he’s now able to be human,” she added.
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Smith has had a controversial year after slapping Chris Rock on stage at the 2022 Oscars. After the incident, Smith resigned from the Academy and later apologized for his actions to the public and to Rock. The slap occurred after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who has an autoimmune disorder (alopecia areata) that causes hair loss.
Long did not directly address the incident during her interview, but she did sympathize with the need to have a release from public pressure.
“We all have our moments in life where we need to reconcile things that we suppress. And I think — it’s hard growing up in this business and being front and center every day, all day,” she said.
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Nia Long appears on ‘The Daily Show,’ clarifies ‘Black famous’ remarks
Long has been making her rounds while promoting Netflix film “You People,” the movie “Missing” and the series “The Best Man: The Final Chapters” on Peacock. In an interview with Buzzfeed last month, she said that films with predominantly Black casts are usually given the label of “Black movies” rather than by the actual genre. Additionally, she said only referring to some stars as “Blackfamous” can “hold us back.”
“When I use the word ‘Black,’ I don’t use it as a way to separate ourselves from anyone — 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, adding that her projects are for “everyone” to enjoy.
Long appeared on “The Daily Show” with guest host Wanda Sykes on Wednesday, who asked the actress to clear up what she meant.
“What I mean by that is, if we continue to practice this idea of separatism, we continue to divide,” she explained. “And I will always and forever hold my fist up because I understand the experience, but I also believe that the more we understand about one another, and the more accepting we are of one another, this thing called art should be representative of all of us.”
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Story Credit: usatoday.com