Latoya Jane: You have to be tough, disciplined to be in the music industry

A courageous woman is someone who exhibits bravery, determination and resilience in the face of adversity or challenges. She is someone who stands up for what she believes in, even in the face of opposition and is willing to take risks to achieve her goals.

A courageous woman is someone who exhibits bravery, determination and resilience in the face of adversity or challenges. She is someone who stands up for what she believes in, even in the face of opposition and is willing to take risks to achieve her goals. These words clearly describe LaToya Rodney, a woman who turned her pain into purpose against all odds, and who stands up and speaks out against injustice. Professionally known by her stage name LaToya Jane, she is a Canadian singer, rapper, songwriter, and professional dancer. Born in the rough neighborhood of Jane & Finch, in the Toronto area, music has always been a form of therapy for LaToya. Though she excelled as a musical artiste, the trials and tribulations of her surrounding environment soon caught up with her.Submerged by all the negativity encompassing her, LaToya was incarcerated for 18 months in a women’s facility in Toronto. It was while imprisoned that she discovered herself, her direction, and her purpose.

In 2014, LaToya won the award for Best Director at the Commffest Film Festival for Creature, a documentary about her time as a gang member in Toronto. The film’s impact helped her become a prominent voice for at-risk youth. She worked as a mentor for boys and girls throughout the city and served as a keynote speaker at various events within Ontario. Over the years, she has evolved and uses her experiences to motivate, educate, inspire, and deter young people from the gang life she endured.

After a short hiatus from music, LaToya is currently working on an EP. Her latest work reflects on the struggles, pain, betrayals, and sacrifices that she has experienced in life while still having faith to stay mentally strong.

In this interview with ESTHER IJEWERE, Latoya shares her inspiring story, how she is using her platform to create change and inspire other women, and her role as an Influencer for TRACIE App.

Childhood Influence
I began my younger days as a fighter since junior kindergarten. I feel it prepared me to be the advocate that I am today, because through all the things that I do, I am, fighting for what I believe in 

Why I Pitched My Tent In The Music Industry
My dad started writing me lyrics and teaching me how to DJ at age three. Even when he was in jail, he would teach me how to sing and DJ, so I always practiced growing up. But when I went to jail, the guards and the girls would encourage me to do it when I got out 

What I Learned From My 18 Months Of Incarceration
I was on the wrong path in life. I went in for very serious charges, and what it taught me was that there was more to life than having no freedom, but I had to lose to gain.

My Toronto Film School Experience And Its Impact On My Career
Toronto Film School was a life changer for me. Since I was a little girl, my family always told me to act or do stand-up comedy and I thought so too. So, when I went there, I learned a lot of the techniques to act and I was the top student in my class. But I never knew how competitive it was, which was annoying. Like one day, someone hid my monologue so that I screwed up, but I still aced it.

My Latest EP And Journey In The Entertainment Industry
I released an EP at the end of 2018 and while I opened up for GZA from WU-TANG CLAN in Miami, I got into a bad accident on the highway. I never really got to promote that album, because I got into two more accidents in 2020, causing me to get a brain injury each; it deprived me of a lot of things until this day. But by the grace of God, I pulled it together to tell my story to inspire people to never give up no matter the circumstances.I also just got signed to a record label, which makes my journey a lot easier in the music industry. You have to be tough and disciplined to be in this industry and I’m on the right track. 

My Thoughts About The TRACIE App
It’s great; it’s the perfect tool for young black people to finally have a professional defense mechanism, and I am glad to be one of the influencers for the App. The TRACIE app is a new and improved way to address racist incidents. It gives Canadian people of colour the evidence and support that they need to create change.

TRACIE stands for Tracking Racism and Collecting Information in Education. The app is a useful tool to help students inform their principal, school, parent, guardian, or caring adult if they experience physical or verbal harm.

Challenges Of My Work
I have to ignore a lot, whether it’s family or friends. I no longer talk to or just plain haters that are upset at my change. It used to be hard, but it got a lot easier. 

Other projects
 I’m a motivational speaker, which I do internationally. I’m also a filmmaker.

Three Women Who Inspire Me And Why
Lauryn Hill: She taps into her pain when she sings.
My Aunty Janet: Her strength makes her the rock of our family
Mother Mary: Never sold out Joseph or Jesus 

What We Can Do Better As A Society To Support Vulnerable Women
We need to do more story sharing and testimonials, because having strong examples, sitting before them, letting them know they reached where they are today through hard dedication, focus, and learning from their mistakes will motivate them to do better as well. 

How I Am Using My Platform To #Embraceequity
  I am sharing some motivation of course!! 

How I Juggle My Role As A Mom, Wife, And Motivational Speaker
God, the love, support, and motivation from my husband, my children and my focus 

Being A Woman Of Rubies
Being wise with myself, loving myself, and now spoiling myself.


More Stories On Guardian