Over the past weekend, Nia Long and Omar Epps became a trending topic.
With the much buzzed-about, critically-maligned suspense thriller “A Fatal Affair,” two of Black Hollywood’s most beloved actors reunited for the first time since 1999's “In Too Deep.”
Unlike the Michael Rymer-helmed crime thriller – which followed Epps as an undercover cop and Long as his supportive girlfriend – Epps now plays a deranged college buddy whose infatuation takes a dark turn when his advances are spurned in the Peter Sullivan movie, which launched on Netflix July 16.
Though the plotlines vary, both films have much more in common than starring two of the 1990s biggest heartthrobs.
“A Fatal Affair” and “In Too Deep” were led by Black casts, dealt with Black subject matter and were written by Black writers. Both movies were also directed by white men.
This is a factor not lost on Long, who believes that should change.
According to the actress, who is also listed as a producer on the movie, “A Deadly Affair” wasn’t initially proposed as a Black-led feature.
After Netflix greenlit it and once Long was attached to star, a Black screenwriter, Rasheeda Garner, was hired to revamp the script.
“I understand and respect our director, who is a white man,” Long revealed to Insider. “He wanted to be respectful of my voice and I appreciate that. And that’s why he hired Rasheeda. So although it gave her an opportunity, I want more. I want more for her, I want more for myself, I want more for Black female writers and directors in this business to not be used to fix something but to be used to tell our stories in a really authentic way.”
“Rasheeda and I have since become friends and I think she’s a wonderful writer,” Long said of the budding writer and producer, who has a law degree from Pepperdine University. “The flipside of that is I hope and pray that she gets the opportunity to be in the forefront and not brought on because the lead of the film is Black.”
“She should be able to write and tell stories as an African-American woman in this industry,” she said.
Long, who garnered notices earlier this year for Apple+ TV’s biographical drama “The Banker,” didn’t mince words about the lack of diversity behind the scenes of so-called Black movies either.
“In all honesty, I was disappointed that there were maybe three people on the crew that were Black, but that really is the production company’s responsibility, not the network,” the Brooklyn native confided. “By the time I arrived, they were a happy family that had done several films together.”
“My next production will be different,” she vowed.
The “Love Jones” star pointed out that her displeasure of some of the aspects of the new movie is a problem she has with the industry at large.
"This isn't about 'Fatal Affair,' this is about a system," she clarified. "This is a systemic issue in Hollywood that has yet to be addressed in a fair way."
She desires for more of her peers to act too.
“I can’t be the only girl holding the torch,” Long said. “I’ve burned my fingers a lot standing up for what I believe in. Being outspoken. I will be the first person to say I want everyone to have a good time, this isn’t me being self-serving, this is about how can we all push forward and be better?”