March 20, 2014
By Kam Williams
LAWT Contributing Writer
Stunningly-attractive leading lady Nia Long returned to the big screen last fall in the highly-anticipated sequel The Best Man Holiday where she reunited with original cast mates Taye Diggs, Terrence Howard, Morris Chestnut and Harold Perrineau. Early last year, she joined the all-star cast of Showtime’s “House of Lies” alongside Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell.
Nia made her film debut in Boyz n The Hood, a poignant picture portraying social problems in inner-city Los Angeles. She subsequently starred in Friday opposite Ice Cube and Chris Tucker, as well as Love Jones, which won the prestigious Audience Award at Sundance. Nia’s notable film roles also include “Soul Food,” “Alfie,” “The Best Man,” “Are We There Yet?”, “Big Momma’s House” 1 and 2, “Stigmata,” “The Broken Hearts Club” and “Made In America.”
Nia’s portrayal of Officer Sasha Monroe on the hit crime drama “Third Watch” netted her a couple of NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actress in a Drama series. Her other TV accomplishments include “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “Boston Legal,” “Judging Amy,” and “Big Shots.”
In addition to her film and television work, Nia’s passion lies in serving her community. With her family roots firmly planted in Trinidad, Long’s long term goals are to connect women in the US to those of the island and to mentor young girls to regain their self-esteem.
Additionally, she lends her support to Black Girls Rock, an organization that promotes the arts for young women of color and encourages dialogue on the ways women of color are portrayed in the media. And in 2012, she was named an official surrogate to the Barack Obama reelection campaign.
Here, Nia talks about co-starring as May in “The Single Moms Club” opposite her son Massai, as well as Amy Smart, Zulay Henao, Tyler Perry, Terry Crews, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Cocoa Brown.
LAWT: Hi Nia, thanks so much for the time.
Nia Long: Of course, Kam. How are you?
LAWT: Great! And you?
NL: I’m good!
LAWT: What interested you in The Single Moms Club?
NL: The title alone. I think it’s a world we haven’t explored on film.
LAWT: Editor/Legist Patricia Turnier asks: How was it having your son, Massai, play your son, and what acting advice did you give him?
NL: I actually sent him to my acting coach, Betty Bridges.
LAWT: Todd’s mom. [Todd Bridges of the TV show Different Strokes]
NL: Yes. She worked with him for several days. And then, my own mom recorded him on her iPhone. It was one of those situations where I didn’t want to be a part of process, because I felt it was important for him to go through the process and earn it. So, we sent the video over to Tyler. When we didn’t hear back after a couple of days, I was like, “Omigosh! What if he doesn’t get this job? How am I going to break the news to him?“ Fortunately, Tyler thought he was great and he did get the job. At the end of the day, I was really happy with the outcome of the scenes. Working opposite him was such a gift, and something I’ll have on film forever. I don’t know whether a star was born, but I’m sure it was an experience that can only help benefit his development as a young man.
LAWT: Director Rel Dowdell says: In the movie there’s a poignant scene where your character, May, has the chance to say disparaging things about her son’s father to her son, but doesn’t. Did that scene have any special resonance with you, since your real-life son was playing your son?
NL: Well, my son’s dad is committed, and involved, and amazing. We’re actually really good friends. But I think it’s dangerous to speak negatively to the child about your ex or the absent parent, because, believe it or not, they learn very quickly who the other parent is. And it’s important that they develop their own attitudes and opinions about that other parent based on their experiences, not based on what someone has said about them.
LAWT: Harriet Pakula-Teweles asks: What would you say is the overall message of The Single Moms Club?
NL: Try to find fellowship… And try to find sisterhood… And try to find that village that can help you support your journey and your kids and your experiences.
LAWT: Patricia says: You have been in the entertainment industry for decades. I’ve followed your career since Boyz n the Hood. What is the secret to your longevity?
NL: Probably my last name. [Chuckles] No, I feel it’s that I don’t ever give up on myself, and I’d rather run a marathon than a sprint. Personally, I think I’m a slow learner who’s getting better every year, every moment, every project.
LAWT: Editor Lisa Loving asks: What is the most surprising thing you’d like people to know about you?
NL: That I’m really, really silly and slightly clumsy. I had to re-teach myself how to walk in high heels after the birth of Kez. [Chuckles]
LAWT: Environmental activist Grace Sinden asks: Do you have a dream role you would like to play?
NL: I would love a good drama, maybe a period piece.
LAWT: The Harriet Pakula-Teweles question: With so many classic films being redone, is there a remake you’d like to star in?
NL: I’ve never really thought about that. I think classic films are classic for a reason. It’s always sketchy to redo one, especially if you’re trying to make it contemporary. That’s really just not the way to go. [LOL]
LAWT: Eddie Cibrian, who played your love interest in The Best Man Holiday, is also in The Single Moms Club. Did it feel weird that your characters weren’t romantically-linked this time around?
NL: No, I never actually saw him on set, because we didn’t have any scenes together. But it was sort of funny seeing him in the film. I was like, “Omigosh! I totally forgot!”
LAWT: The Sanaa Lathan question: What excites you?
NL: I know this sounds shallow, but a good pair of new shoes really gets me going.
LAWT: What do you want that you don’t have yet?
NL: That question’s so loaded! [Laughs] I’d say more choices, more options, more opportunities that force me to grow as an artist and challenge me to grow in a way that I haven’t as of yet.
LAWT: Will we ever get to see a Love Jones sequel?
NL: I have no idea. There have been a lot of rumors, and some bad versions of scripts. I don’t know what’s going to happen. All I do know is that unless it’s right, we won’t do it.
LAWT: The Kerry Washington question: If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
NL: Definitely a cat.
LAWT: The Melissa Harris-Perry question: How did your first big heartbreak impact who you are as a person?
NL: [Breathes deeply, sighs and reflects] That was a big heartbreak, and I wasn’t that young either. I would say that I learned that the heartbreak wasn’t as much about me as the fact that he wasn’t right with himself. I see where his life has taken him, and realize that the handwriting was on the wall. There were things that I had blamed myself for, but it was really more about his choices, his needs and his journey as a person. His desire for too much of everything made it a challenging relationship.
LAWT: The Anthony Anderson question: If you could have a superpower, which one would you choose?
NL: I would love to have the ability to see inside everyone’s heart before I heard them speak or even saw their faces.
LAWT: You’ll be playing a lawyer on The Divide, a dramatic TV series debuting this summer. Have you started shooting the first season yet?
NL: We have been shooting in cold Toronto. We only have one more episode to go. I’ve been working with Tony Goldwyn, Richard LaGravenese and an amazing group of actors. I play a strong, successful mom.
LAWT: What’s the show about?
NL: All of us have moments in our lives when we have to choose between what we know is right and what we feel obligated to do. I think that’s the theme of the show. What is your divide? What are the things you struggle with?
LAWT: The Viola Davis question: What’s the biggest difference between who you are at home as opposed to the person we see on the red carpet?
NL: At home, it’s all about my babies and no makeup. On the red carpet, it’s: Am I standing up straight?
To see a trailer for The Single Moms Club, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQNOvfixtpo.
March 13, 2014
Beware of financial pitfalls that you’ve set for yourself. Strengthen all your relationships by understanding motivations of others. Spend time at home. Enjoy what you already have. Soul Affirmation: Often it’s not what I say but the way I say it that gets the message across.
Lucky Numbers: 4, 6, 47
Don’t expect to win every battle, especially with your lover. This week winning is losing. Backing down is winning. Shyness produces a bold result. It’s easy to collect that long-standing debt. Soul Affirmation: I keep money on my mind this week.
Lucky Numbers: 18, 25, 39
Possibilities of hearing good news about home are greatly expanded. Savor the news rather than thinking about other annoyances. Travel is on the horizon. Plan the trip this week. Soul Affirmation: Jewelry reflects the beauty of my feelings about myself.
Lucky Numbers: 26, 44, 52
Feather the nest. Stock up on stuff for the long haul. Cement relationships. A friend needs your support. Enjoy giving it. You will receive good news about a pal. Soul Affirmation: Cheerfully handling what comes at me is the test of who I am.
Lucky Numbers: 13, 22, 31
Be cautious and conservative with money. You are extremely witty this week. Allow others to enjoy your good humor. Your leadership skills are very high, and others will follow. Soul Affirmation: Luck is my best friend this week.
Lucky Numbers: 14, 20, 44
This is a good time for you to seek agreement on a plan that involves a relative. Take the time to remind your lover how much you care. Get a little sentimental if you have to. Don’t be too critical of that softer side of your personality. Soul Affirmation: Self confidence is the key to my success this week.
Lucky Numbers: 2, 9, 19
You’ve made your point. Now wait. Wait for the feedback about the impact it had on the people around you. Be careful of those who don’t celebrate with you. They feel the impact and are resisting the positive effects. Soul Affirmation: Before goodness can come I must expect goodness.
Lucky Numbers: 5, 16, 23
Be sharp! All of your needs will be met in indirect ways. Gifts will come from unexpected sources. They will be carefully packaged to go unnoticed. Unwrap everything and look inside. There will be empty boxes, but there will also be a prize in an unanticipated situation. Soul Affirmation: I look for the good in all that comes to me this week.
Lucky Numbers: 3, 10, 41
Push. Now is a good time to push. Your energy is higher than ever. Someone might get offended, but you can’t please everyone. Hire a pro for something that you planned to do yourself, especially if a expertise is involved. Soul Affirmation: Success is mine because I feel successful.
Lucky Numbers: 5, 7, 12
Review your “to do” list again. You may need to slow down to discover something that you didn’t realize while you were in the flow of events. Your lover is going to be a little difficult to understand. Soul Affirmation: To live is to love
Lucky Numbers: 5, 16, 23
Back off if an argument arises. You’re probably the one who is too busy. Forgiving yourself is often harder than getting someone else to forgive you. Go easy on yourself Soul Affirmation: Two hats fit well on my big head.
Lucky Numbers: 3, 20, 32
Make a special effort to spend all week with your lover, husband or wife. Your sense of the importance of relationships is keen and this is a good time to strengthen your passionate partnership. Take your lover to a party. Devote attention. Soul Affirmation: Change is my middle name.
Lucky Numbers: 12, 51, 52
LAWT News Service
Ernest L. Thomas, star of 70s classic comedy sitcom “What’s Happening” was the honored guest at an intimate viewing of TV One Network’s “Unsung” series which featured Thomas. The event was held Wednesday, March 12- 6:30pm-9:30pm at Stir LA Restaurant & Lounge in Sherman Oaks. Known best for his big smile that lights up a room, his infectious laugh and his iconic roles as Raj from “What’s Happening” and “What’s Happening Now,” Mr. Omar in “Everybody Hates Chris” and his role in “Malcolm X”, but Ernest is so much more than just a comedic actor.
Ernest writes screenplays, has sold a script to Sony Pictures and has written a book in collaboration with his mother entitled “Conversations with My Mother: Food for the Mind, Body and Soul”. He also manages new talent and is producing several shows currently in development with his production company, Bravokid Entertainment.
Up and coming singer, Crystal Chavis has been invited by the UCLA Athletic Club to sing the national anthem at a home baseball game (UCLA v. Washington State) on Saturday, March 22 at 2:00 p.m. The first pitch was at the Jackie Robinson Stadium in Los Angeles. General Admission tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children and can be purchased by calling (310) 825-2946 or online at www.uclabruins.com.
Chavis, an 18-year old senior at City Honors College Preparatory High School in Inglewood, is quickly gaining notoriety as “someone to watch.” While she shines on stage, she also has a captive audience from Los Angeles to New York. She has reached over 100,000 views on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdPrtRPBxR8), has a growing fan base on all social networks, was recently invited to audition for ABC TV’s “The Voice,” and has been invited to perform and compete at several large events throughout Los Angeles including “Taste of Soul,” “Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival,” “West Hollywood Book Fair,” and the “Leimert Park Book Fair.”
“My dream is to one day perform ‘America the Beautiful’ at the Super Bowl,” she said.
Chavis developed a passion for singing at a young age and has been training with her vocal coach, Joyce Hudgies for over two years. In January, 2013 she sang the national anthem at the Los Angeles Staples Center for the Lakers v. Utah Jazz game before a crowd of over 20,000.
For additional information visit www.crystalchavismusic.com.
March 06, 2014
Beware of financial pitfalls that you’ve set for yourself. Strengthen all your relationships by understanding motivations of others. Spend time at home. Enjoy what you already have. Soul Affirmation: Often it’s not what I say but the way I say it that gets the message across. Lucky Numbers: 4, 6, 47
Back off if an argument arises. You’re probably the one who is too busy. Forgiving yourself is often harder than getting someone else to forgive you. Go easy on yourself. Soul Affirmation: Two hats fit well on my big head.
Lucky Numbers: 3, 20, 32
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