Nia Long is outraged after an uncensored song featuring the N-word was played during a school program at her younger son’s school.
The “Love Jones” actress took to social media late Friday, June 9, to express her indignation, which garnered support from others who believe the racial slur should never be heard by children.
The 52-year-old asked her Twitter followers, “What is this world coming to?”
“I attended my son’s school for a dance recital, and a song was played featuring the N-word.” Long continued, adding, “Somebody has some explaining to do. I will not sit in silence. I will not tolerate perpetual gaslighting.”
Long’s 11-year-old son, Kez Sunday Udoka, attends a private middle school. Fans quickly hopped into her comment section, passionately siding with the Brooklyn native.
“But why ? Like that’s the first question,” said one person.
Another person wrote, “I would SPEAK out as well. Let’s put a stand to that!”
A third added, “She’s not wrong. I don’t blame her at all. She has every right to be mad. Any sane parent would be.”
Many asked Long for more details about what took place. One individual advised her to “delve a little deeper and question if this word has been used in the school prior to this incident (seems to be a familiarity here). The school environment is not exempt from racism.”
But not everyone agreed with Long’s public protest. A few questioned her complaining on social media instead of actually confronting the school board with an official complaint.
“Well? Did you actually say something to the school board or just complain about it on Twitter?” one person tweeted.
Another commented, “The directors or teachers should be held accountable for that. Who would pick a song like that for a dance recital. Instrumentals maybe.”
It’s unclear if Long has addressed officials at her son’s school. But many believe there’s a bigger issue in the sense that the N-word has been normalized so much in society and music that people forget the origins of where it came from.
“It’s amazing how many people see that as normal nowadays,” said one observer. “It’s weird. My parents and most of my friends’ parents growing up taught us that that word was the worst word in the world. I still don’t use it. Who are the folks who weren’t taught that?”
Another added, “I think overall, we are becoming more desensitized because of the popularity of that word in music. So ppl are feeling like it’s okay! However, there is no place for it in schools. There has to be tighter rules for things like that in schools.”
It appears that Long is considering the long-term effects of the messages her son directly or indirectly receives due to the painful history of the n-word.
“We know that as early as the 17th century, ‘negro’ evolved to ‘nigger’ as intentionally derogatory, and it has never been able to shed that baggage since then — even when Black people talk about appropriating and reappropriating it,” Neal A. Lester, dean of humanities and former chair of the English department at Arizona State University, said in an interview with Learning for Justice.
“The poison is still there,” Lester explained. “The word is inextricably linked with violence and brutality on Black psyches and derogatory aspersions cast on Black bodies. No degree of appropriating can rid it of that blood-soaked history.”
Fans, critics, and other parents went back and forth, sharing similar incidents that took place at schools of their own children or other establishments. Meanwhile, Long has pinned her tweet to the top of her Twitter account for all of her 1.2 million followers to see.
Another reason why the “Best Man” actress may be monitoring the messaging her son receives could be due to the recent dramatic changes in their family life.
Long has primary custody of her youngest son, Kez, whom she shares with her former partner, Houston Rockets basketball coach Ime Udoka. Over the past year, the young boy has been impacted by the dissolution of his parents’ relationship. They began dating in 2009 and got engaged in 2015.
In September 2022, the Boston Celtics suspended Udoka for a year as head coach after revealing he’d been having an affair with one of the women on staff at the franchise. The news of the impropriety made headlines and was plastered across the internet. Kez not only had to deal with the breakup inside his home but the way the scandal played out in public.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Long expressed that Kez “was not having an easy time” dealing with public scrutiny and drama.
“I think the most heartbreaking thing about all of this was seeing my son’s face when the Boston Celtics organization decided to make a very private situation public,” she previously stated. “It was devastating, and it still is.”
Because of the scandal and Long not feeling supported by the organization revealing sensitive information about their family, she, Kez, and her older son, Massai, 22, moved from Boston to Los Angeles into a new home. Udoka’s separation from the Celtics eventually was made permanent, and he was hired as head coach of the Rockets in April.