Interview with Latonia Smith
Poet, event producer, and community builder based in Miami
From paint events to poetry nights Latonia Smith is bringing people together. She believes that the world would be a better place if we all came together, and her events are just a part of the actions that she facilitates towards making that happen. Her goals are for people to support and build each other up so that everyone can get a piece of the success pie.
A claims specialist by day Smith's real passion is writing. She's an international poet, the hostess of Hostess of Tazzsmatic Poetic Pleasures & Spit Don’t Swallow. As a child she wrote poems for her mothers as gifts. Her poem Something About That Man won a amateur poet contest and was published. We sat down to chat with her about her events, challenges, and favorite parts of what she does. Read the full interview below.
How did you get started?
A friend challenged me to face my fears. I was scared as hell but I did it and felt a high I couldn’t explain. That was the door opener to it all. Tazzsmatic was born from me pushing myself to open up and tap into my dark side. By opening that door I was able to find my niche in sexual poetry.
"Being able to put together an event where people can speak their words gives me joy."
What is your favorite part about what you do?
My favorite part is the day of the show. Not knowing who will pop up, what’s going to be said. The outcome of each person that hits the stage. Being able to put together an event where people can speak their words gives me joy. It gives me a feeling I can’t explain to help someone show there talent.
The best part of what I do is providing a stage for poets, singers, comedians, and spoken word rappers to come out and do what they love.
That's beautiful. Thank you for all that you do to help others! What are some memorable career moments?
One of my most memorable moments was publishing my book Cross Roads. Becoming an International Poet under Poetry World Wide was also a memorable moment and achievement. I was a honored to be a part of the group of people including Jessica L Crenshow, who took home the Bobby Jones awards on BET for poetry.
Shortly after that things started to develop quickly. I started hosting Tazzsmatic Poetic Pleasures, performing in other places like Sensual Erotic XXX Pression, getting invited to a perform at swingers club to perform, doing the The Sex Show in Tampa Bay After Dark. and doing the paint nights. I've had the opportunity to work with great promoters.
What are some challenges that you have faced and how have you overcome them?
One of the challenges I've overcome is having people not believe in me. People will tell you they got your back but they don’t. They try to kill your dreams. You have to remember that people will come and go and remember why you got started. My faith in God helps me stay on track with my vision. I don't allow people to knock me off my game.
I Having the mindset that no one has to do anything and that’s o.k. always stated action speaks louder than words. If it does not balance leave it alone.
I have encountered are small crowds, and I'm always grateful for those that come out and join is for the night. People can choose to go anywhere but I think they choose to come out and hang with us because the vibe we set up. From the talent to the DJ Hy Def from (Hit factor). Our goal is to come together and put together a grown and sexy event where there is no judgement. We are open to it all. We have great music and great talent which equals a great nigh. People always have fun, you never know what’s going to be said. It may be just what you need to hear.
You've gotten a chance to work with a lot of people, if you could collaborate or work with anyone who would it be?
I couldn’t pick! There are so many great talented poets out there and as a poet myself, I am a fan of them all. Every poets I meet I learn something from them or they give me words to help me. I couldn’t pick one. If I had my way it would be everyone I meet!
That's such a positive answer! Closing it out, what advice would you give to others?
The advice I would give to anyone is first make sure you get enjoyment from whatever it is that you do. What I do is not easy. It takes a lot of time and work. If you're a poet, write from the heart, be real to yourself and spit your truth. When things get hard challenge yourself to be the person you want to be. Don’t stop when it gets hard. Keep going and stay humble!
To learn more about Latonia or find out about her events follow her on Instagram.