When it comes to the entertainment industry, Nia Long thinks stars should stick to what they know.
"If you’re a singer, not an actress, you should sing. If you’re a rapper, you should rap," she told Pride magazine recently. Translation: if you aren’t an actor by trade, you best leave it to the pros.
Nia was asked what she thought about Obsessed, starring Beyoncé and Idris Elba, but she declined to comment because she hadn’t seen the movie. Although she did say that she feels casting has become has become more a question of prospective audience size as opposed to ability.
"It’s just not about how talented you are anymore. It’s about, ‘How much box-office revenue will this person generate,’” she commented. “When you see certain people—we won’t name names—they just don’t have the skill, and no one in their team has said, ‘You need acting classes.’"
All that being said, Nia thinks there are some exceptions to the rule.
"If you take time to develop your craft, God bless you. Jamie Foxx is an example of both [actor and singer]," she said.
The actress, who rarely takes on roles that make Black women cringe, also lamented about the quality of parts that are available to brown-skinned actresses now.
"If you were able to take all the Black actresses and the choices we’ve made collectively, it’s a pure reflection of what you see on film,” said Nia. “People need to work, but the content? The opportunities for Black actresses are more widespread today, but the quality has suffered.”
– Sonya Eskridge