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August 3, 2015

I Just Want to Be Held and Spun Around: On Black Life, Death, Love and Exhaustion

Charleston Mourning Joe Raedle via Getty Images

Fearing for your life every time you walk outside, every time you get behind the wheel, every time you see a police officer, every time you breathe, is exhausting. Living in a world in which your blackness and woman-ness makes you less than human -- a hypersexual, angry or subservient caricature, the constant target of catcalling, rape and assault -- is exhausting.

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The Best Man -- 10 Years Later

Then & Now: 'The Best Man'
On Oct. 22, 1999, a new film hit theaters introducing a new director, Malcolm D. Lee, to the scene and bolstering the careers of actors Taye Diggs, Nia Long, Morris Chestnut, Harold Perrineau, Terrence Howard, and Sanaa Lathan, among others.. Opening at #1, the award winning film is still considered a favorite among black movie goers and one of the best romantic comedies ever. We take a look at the movie's notables Then & Now..

The Best Man -- 10 Years Later

Malcolm Lee
In his directorial debut, Malcolm D. Lee hit a home run with 'The Best Man.' Co-produced by his cousin Spike Lee's production company, 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks, the film landed at number one at the box office during its opening weekend. Since then, the Brooklyn native has gone on to direct other films such as 'Undercover Brother,' 'Roll Bounce,' 'Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins' and 'Soul Men,' featuring the late Bernie Mac and Samuel L. Jackson. Lee also directed an episode of 'Everybody Hates Chris.'

The Best Man -- 10 Years Later

Nia Long
Nia Long was a veteran of TV and film by the time she played Jordan Armstrong in 'The Best Man.' Having started her acting career on the now-canceled soap opera 'The Guiding Light,' the Brooklyn native starred in films such as 'Friday,' 'Love Jones,' 'Soul Food,' 'Big Momma's House,' 'Big Momma's House 2' and 'Are We There Yet?' with Ice Cube. Long has also made TV appearances in 'Boston Legal' and 'Third Watch,' where she played officer Sasha Monroe for three seasons. She was most recently seen in the Chris Rock documentary film 'Good Hair.'

The Best Man -- 10 Years Later

Taye Diggs
Prior to making his film debut in 1998 playing a young Jamaican stud wooing Angela Bassett in 'How Stella Got Her Groove Back,' Taye Diggs got his big break originating the role of the nasty landlord Benny in Jonathan Larson's Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway musical 'Rent' in 1996. In 1999, audiences saw the New York native step up his acting status with lead roles in 'The Wood' as well as 'The Best Man,' which featured him as the titled character Harper Stewart. Diggs would also team up with Sanaa Lathan in the romantic film 'Brown Sugar' (their third film together). After two unsuccessful TV series, 'Kevin Hill' and 'Day Break,' Diggs has found a happy home as part of the ensemble of 'Private Practice.' He will be seen next in the horror film 'Dead of Night' with Brandon Routh.

The Best Man -- 10 Years Later

Melissa De Sousa
A veteran of many independent films and television shows such 'Moesha' and 'The Wayans Bros.,' De Sousa's biggest role to date has been as Shelby, the possessive girlfriend of Harold Perrineau's character, in 'Best Man.' The New York native had a role in the ensemble film '30 Years to Life' and starred alongside Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker in the 'Second Time Around.'

The Best Man -- 10 Years Later

Morris Chestnut
After making his debut in John Singleton's 'Boyz n the Hood' in 1991, Morris Chestnut was saddled with smaller roles in 'The Inkwell,' 'Under Siege 2: Dark Territory' and 'G. I. Jane' before his role as groom-to-be Lance Sullivan in 'Best Man' brought him some new attention. From there, the Cerritos, Calif., native landed lead roles in 'The Brothers,' 'Two Can Play That Game' and 'Half Past Dead.' Early in 2008, Chestnut starred in 'Not Easily Broken' with Taraji P. Henson and will be featured in the sci-fi TV series 'V,' which is set to air in 2009 on ABC.

The Best Man -- 10 Years Later

Terrence Howard
Before jump-starting his acting career with his role as Quentin Spivey in 'The Best Man,' Howard had been featured in numerous films such as 'The Jacksons: An American Dream,' 'Dead Presidents,' 'Mr. Holland's Opus' and 'The Players Club.' His role in 'Best Man' garnered him an NAACP Image Award for outstanding supporting actor in a motion picture. The Chicago native was part of the Oscar-winning film 'Crash' in 2004 before being nominated for an Academy Award for best actor for his role as Djay in 'Hustle & Flow' in 2005. Although replaced by Don Cheadle as Lt. Col James Rhodes in 2008's 'Iron Man,' Howard is still landing premier roles. He'll be heard in the animated film 'The Princess and the Frog,' opposite Anika Noni Rose and Oprah Winfrey.

The Best Man -- 10 Years Later

Victoria Dillard
Prior to playing Anita, the boss of Nia Long's character in 'The Best Man,' Victoria Dillard's movie credits included 'Deep Cover,' 'Murder in Mississippi,' 'The Glass Shield' and 'Out of Sync' with LL Cool J. The New York native also played the wife of Denzel Washington's character in the 1991 movie 'Ricochet.' Since playing Janelle Cooper in ABC's 'Spin City' for three seasons before leaving in 2000, Dillard has done guest appearance on TV shows such as 'Law and Order' and 'Law and Order: Criminal Intent.'

The Best Man -- 10 Years Later

Regina Hall
Regina Hall played the role of a stripper named Candy in 'The Best Man,' which was her first film. Since then, this Washington, D.C., native has gone to do numerous movies, including playing the role of Brenda Meeks in the comedy-horror spoof 'Scary Movie' and three of its sequels. She was recently on the big screen playing Jamie Foxx's wife in 'Law Abiding Citizen.' Her next film is the remake of 'Death at a Funeral' with Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence.

The Best Man -- 10 Years Later

Harold Perrineau Jr.
As part of the ensemble group that starred in HBO's acclaimed series 'Oz,' Perrineau was amazing as the wheelchair-bound prisoner Augustus Hill, which he played from 1997-2003. When cast in 'Best Man,' the Brooklyn native grew dreadlocks to play Julian Murch. He kept the locks for his role as Link in the 'Matrix' sequels. Perrineau returned to the TV in 2004 in the Emmy Award drama 'Lost,' playing Michael Dawson, until 2008. He was last seen in the short-lived TV series 'The Unusuals.'

The Best Man -- 10 Years Later

Tagged as: Regina Hall, Terrence Howard, TerrenceHoward
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