*In September, Nia Long got on the wrong side of Black Twitter when she posted a photo with the hashtag #AllLivesMatter, a term adopted mostly by folks attempting to counter or diffuse the #BlackLivesMatter movement that sprang out of protests against the killing of unarmed African Americans.
Long snapped a selfie while sporting a t-shirt that spelled “innocence” by using the names of wrongly-convicted individuals. The tee is from The Innocence Project, a non-profit legal organization dedicated to exonerating wrongly-convicted people through the use of DNA testing.
“Now is the time for criminal justice!” Nia wrote in the caption. “Join me in helping @innocence fight wrongful convictions. #AllLivesMatter #reform.”
Within minutes, scores of fans pounced on her #AllLivesMatter hashtag, accusing the actress of selling out and belittling her own race. The folks at Bossip.com posted screenshots from the backlash.
We caught up with Long after a recent TCA panel for her upcoming ABC series “Uncle Buck,” and the actress explained that one of her girlfriends is a lawyer for The Innocence Project. “I do some work with them,” she said, explaining the context of her post.
In using the #AllLivesMatter hashtag, Long said she was referring to people who are incarcerated for crimes they didn’t commit: “I’m thinking in general lives, meaning everyone. And it’s like a hashtag just changes the whole trajectory of your popularity on social media!”
“At the end of the day, I don’t care who you are,” she continued. “If you’re in jail for something you did not do, you should be exonerated. At the end of the day, we are all human beings. So yes, all lives do matter. And it’s not a disrespect, and it’s not a campaign. It’s just what I think.”
Below, Nia said she tried to explain to folks that she used #AllLivesMatter to address wrongful convictions, and wrongful convictions only.
Long stars with Mike Epps and James Lesure in ABC’s upcoming sitcom “Uncle Buck.”
Watch the trailer below: