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Nia Long shot to stardom in the early 1990s. From her role in the iconic 1991 film Boyz n the Hood, to her work on the revolutionary TV show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the talented beauty has been a source of inspiration for both women and men alike for decades.

Away from film, the multitalented actress, 47, has also long been one of hip hop music’s most referenced women. From Kanye West’s “Touch The Sky” to Nas’ “Oochie Wally,” Long has been one of rap’s most cherished stars. Even newer artists like J. Cole and Dave East have a love for her prowess and aren’t afraid to throw it in their lyrics.

Now, Long is sitting down with TV One for the upcoming episode of Uncensored to tell her story, including everything from dealing with racism while growing up in Iowa to her rise in Hollywood. Throughout the episode, Long praises her mother, Talita (who also makes an appearance), for inspiring her to pursue her dreams and find success. In fact, she credits her mother as being the motivating factor behind her career.

“She gave me the permission to always be who I am, and that to me at nine years old is a beautiful thing,” she says of her incredible relationship with her mother. “I was a member of The Brownies, and all the little blonde girls had their cute little pageboy haircuts and there I was with my big, beautiful Afro.”

Long also remembers how her life seemingly changed in a blink of an eye thanks to the aforementioned Boyz n the Hood, a film that took the world of entertainment by storm despite its humble beginnings.

“I remember when the film was nominated for an Academy Award. I was like, ‘What does this mean? Well I guess it’s a good thing.’ It just felt so far removed from my reality because I was still living in South Central LA.” Long recounted of her breakout role in the film: “I was like the it girl at that time…I had one guy, my doorbell rings at four o’clock in the morning, and there’s this beautiful box of diamond earrings that were brought in on a private jet, delivered in the middle of the night. That was so overwhelming for me. I was like, ‘Now I’m a little famous.’”

Uncensored also highlights the actress’s relationship with comedy legend Chris Rock, the lessons she learned from Will Smith, and why she believes she and Jada Pinkett-Smith opened the door for Black actresses everywhere.

Check out an all new episode of Uncensored on TV One this Sunday at 10/9C.

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