Nia Long and Larenz tate presenting awardNia Long is like that one fierce and fabulous girlfriend who you both love and hate, yet secretly worship. Outspoken, composed, fashionable, and classy , Nia is one of the few actresses who dares to challenge Hollywood’s perception of black women.

As her body of work will testify, Nia has never been one to lower herself to the lowest common denominator of shameless coonery we are witness to on the big and small screen. Whether she’s the sweet girl next door or the accomplished corporate executive, Nia always imbues her characters with intelligence and dignity.

In her newest film, Mooz-lum, Nia presents a fresh perspective to Muslim women in America with her role as Safiyah. To commemorate Nia’s 20 plus years in the biz, The Urban Daily has compiled a list of our favorite Nia Long movie roles…..

Nina Moseley (Love Jones)–Beautiful, literate, and sexy, photographer Nina Moseley was the poster girl for the modern, educated black woman. Set against a gritty urban Chicago landscape, the romance and poetry of Love Jones appealed to both bohos and buppies alike.

Jordan Armstrong (The Best Man)–As Lance (Morris Chestnut) described Jordan ‘She’s the best girlfriend you never had.‘ Jordan was unapologetically ambitious when it came to her career and getting her freak on with her old college crush Harper (Taye Diggs). While The Best Man will be remembered for having one of the naughtiest bachelor parties on screen, the sight of Nia Long in a barely there purple teddy was the real money shot.

Debbie (Friday)–Cute and angelic, Debbie was the object of Craig’s (Ice Cube) affections. Don’t let the smooth taste fool you though–Debbie didn’t think twice about standing up to neighborhood bully Deebo when he disrespected her crack-head sister, Felicia. Debbie made the case that good girls actually finish first.

Safiyah (Mooz-lum)–In this touching coming of age story, Nia plays a loving Muslim mother who works to navigate her son Tariq (Evan Ross )through the Muslim and secular world. With Nia in the role, audiences will be forced to re-evaluate their preconceptions about Muslim women.

Bird (Soul Food)–as the baby of the formidable Joseph sisters the movie opens with the wedding of Bird to her sexy, but unemployed ex-con hubby, Lem (Mekhi Phifer). While asking your ex-boyfriend to hire your husband obviously isn’t the brightest idea in the marriage playbook, there was no denying Bird was madly in love with Lem, and would ‘ride or die’ to the end for her baby boo.

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