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‘I Don’t Think Taye Diggs Wants to Relive That Slap’: Nia Long Dishes on ‘The Best Man’ Series and Being ‘Nervous’ to Work with Patti LaBelle on New Campaign

Actress Nia Long looked sexy and sassy in Old Spice’s new “Men Have Skin Too” ad, starring actors Deon Cole and his commercial wife, Gabrielle Dennis. Long plays a therapist helping the couple understand their shared love for Old Spice products, which smells good on men and women.

Long spoke with Atlanta Black Star about working with Old Spice for the first time, her ageless beauty and returning to “The Best Man” franchise. The mother of two filmed the commercial after returning from a month-long trip in Jamaica, where she celebrated her 50th birthday with family and friends.

Nia Long
Nia Long plays a therapist in the new Old Spice ad with Deon Cole and Gabrielle Dennis. Photo: Old Spice

“Honestly, it was perfect, it was where I needed to be, where I wanted to be, and I go to the same place all the time,” Long said. “It wasn’t the turn-up party that you would assume I would have had for my birthday, but I don’t really need that. I really just wanted my kids to be out of the house and to just run on the beach and be free and careful.”

She added, “This campaign is very fitting for me because I’m all about the hydration, all about the skin care, all about smelling fresh and presenting yourself well as you start your day. Now, I’m not responsible for what you look like when you get home though; that’s for sure.”

Old Spice’s “Men Have Skin Too” campaign also features the legendary Miss Patti LaBelle, who plays Dennis’ mother. Long said she was “nervous” filming next to the singer and chef from which she borrows her Thanksgiving mac and cheese recipe. 

“I’ve met Patti many times over the years. But to be able to be in the same campaign with her was such a treat and I just love her so much,” Long expressed. “She’s just everyone’s mom. The minute you hug her, you just don’t want to ever leave because it just always felt so safe. She’s just so real and gorgeous. This woman never ages.”

Long is also a gorgeous woman who never ages and reminds us of her beauty with viral photos on Instagram. The “Love Jones” star uses hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and exercise, and drinks water to maintain her radiant skin, but she gives the most credit to her family genes.

“I have to thank my grandmother and my grandfather. They’re West Indian from Trinidad, Barbados and Grenada,” she shared. “My whole family’s from the islands on my mother’s side, and I think genetically we just have good skin. So I’m thankful for that.”

Long said her “interesting childhood” began in Brooklyn, New York, and included summers in Barbados or Trinidad. The 50-year-old appreciates her “hippie” mother for introducing her to different lifestyles, including vegetarianism, which she implements with her children.

“I think the best thing that we can do for our children, no matter what is give them the gift of travel. Because when you travel, you are seeing life from a different culture and perspective,” Long said. “You learn things and you take a little bit of this and you take a little bit of that and you implement those things into your own life. And that’s how you find that balance.”

For Long, balance involves making time for her fiancé, Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka, their 9-year-old son, Kez, and Long’s 20-year-old son, Maasai Dorsey Jr., from a previous relationship. Bleacher Report spotted Long cheering on her husband courtside at Madison Square Garden Wednesday night, Oct. 20, during his head coaching debut against the New York Knicks.

New York, New York – June 15: Nia Long and Kez Sunday Udoka attend the Brooklyn Nets versus Milwaukee Bucks game at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on June 15, 2021. (Photo by James Devaney/Getty Images)

Soon, Long will return to work starring as Jordan in “The Best Man” series at Peacock. The cast from the 1999 film and 2013’s “The Best Man Holiday,” including Morris Chestnut, Monica Calhoun, Terrance Howard, Sanaa Lathan and Melissa DeSousa, also will reprise their roles.

“I think the fans want to see where these characters are and where they’re going and who’s with who,” Long shared. “The great thing about a series is…the moments are longer. There’s more story to tell. There’s more story and character development over the course of the time of the series.”

She added, “I’m really excited because we got everyone to come on board to do this last chapter. And we’ve all been doing our own thing, but I’m looking forward to working in New York City and getting back together with the cast, but we haven’t seen any scripts yet. It’s still very early, but we’re all talking and communicating, so I know it’s going to be a good time.”

Many hope “The Best Man” series will revisit some of the film’s iconic scenes, including the improved slap scene between Long’s character Jordan and Taye Diggs’ character, Harper. Instead of dealing with Jordan’s raging hormones, Jordan ended up slapping Diggs in the face. Because of it, Diggs previously said he would never work with her again in a 2018 episode of “Unsung Hollywood.”

“Oh gosh, I don’t think Taye Diggs wants to relive that slap thing. According to him, I slapped him really hard,” Long said. “I don’t think I did, but he didn’t move his head. It’s supposed to be a TV slap. You move your head, you don’t actually feel the impact. That’s a battle we’ve been going through for years, so we’ll definitely have to have that conversation.” 

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