“I have watched a lot of men get rich off of the films that I’ve done and I was being paid peanuts,” the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and “Boyz n the Hood” actress told The Associated Press at a recent event for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
“When I requested or wanted more, I was considered difficult, outspoken, entitled, and all of the things that should not be used to describe a woman who has earned her space, her place and delivers,” the 47-year-old said. “And that just doesn’t apply to me, that’s for everyone.”
When I requested or wanted more, I was considered difficult, outspoken, entitled. Nia Long
Long, who recently starred in “NCIS: Los Angeles” and “Roxanne Roxanne,” added that she’s seen somewhat of a cultural shift surrounding gender equality in just the last year.
“I think we are talking about it,” Long said. “Women are more inclined to have those in-the-kitchen conversations with one another where we can just talk freely about all the things that we’ve been shamed [for].”
The actress has never held her tongue on issues of sexism and racism. During a 2016 interview with Larry King, Long reflected on the trials and tribulations of being a black woman over 40 in Hollywood.
“I think it’s an old conversation. I think it’s a topic that hasn’t changed,” Long told King when he asked for her thoughts on sexism and racism in the entertainment industry. “I think it saddens me that we aren’t in a place where we can just make good art, and we aren’t in a place where I can be cast as the leading woman and my description does not have to say African-American or Black.”
She continued: “I’m 45. I’m black. And I’m a woman. So those are three really hard things to deal with ... I work really hard to get sometimes crumbs. I feel blessed and lucky to have the career that I have. But there are times that I’ve been beat up in this business. It hasn’t just been roses and fairytales. It’s been a tough road.”
Watch part of Long’s AP interview below, which includes comments from producer Lena Waithe and actress Laura Linney.