Nia Long on ‘Huge Responsibility’ of Playing Katherine Jackson (Exclusive)

Nia Long is sharing some insight on her experience portraying Katherine Jackson — a woman whom she says “carried the weight of the world on her shoulders.”

The 53-year-old actress, who takes on the role of the Jackson family matriarch in the forthcoming Michael Jackson biopic Michael, spoke to PEOPLE about the project at the American Black Film Festival on Thursday, June 13.

“First of all, I love Antoine Fuqua,” Long said of the film’s director. “He has just taken this project to a place that is magical and wonderful.”

After noting that Michael’s nephew Jaafar Jackson — who leads the cast as the King of Pop — is “incredibly talented and beautiful,” Long shared that her costar Colman Domingo is “probably one of my favorite human beings on the planet.” In the film, Domingo, 54, will portray Jackson family patriarch Joe Jackson.

“It was a huge responsibility to represent a woman who is iconic, who has carried the weight of the world on her shoulders, who is still with us gracefully,” Long said of the film role. “And I am hoping that I delivered because one never knows. I just put in the work and tried to do my best. It was an opportunity of a lifetime.”

Nia Long attends ‘Money and Mindfulness: A Conversation with Nia Long’ during the 2024 American Black Film Festival on June 13, 2024.

Alekandra London/Getty


Long, who was announced as part of the cast at the top of the year, previously spoke about how Katherine — now 94 — is “an incredible pillar of strength and grace for the entire Jackson family.”

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“As a mother, she was selfless and endured forces beyond her control yet still managed to help build a legacy beyond measure. I am honored to bring her voice to the screen and share Michael Jackson’s story with audiences everywhere,” she said.

Michael is set to hit theaters on April 18, 2025.

Michael Jackson leaves the Santa Barbara County Courthouse with his mother Katherine Jackson in April 2005.

Justin Sullivan/Getty


Last month, Janet Jackson toasted her mom on what marked her 94th birthday, when she shared a heartwarming picture of the pair together. “The most beautiful woman I know is 94 today,” Janet wrote on Instagram. “God has blessed you in so many ways and may he continue to bless you even more each and every day.”

“I love you with every inch of my being. 😘😘😘,” she added.

Several stars also appeared in the post’s comment section, including Viola Davis, Busta Rhymes, Marlon Wayans and SZA. “Wowww how incredible God bless her !! ❤️ happy birthday,” SZA wrote.

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Tito Jackson also shared a post to recognize his mother’s special day. “Sending all my love to most wonderful woman on this planet,” he wrote. “Grateful for the joy and wisdom you both bring into my world.”

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