Latoya Jane


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 Rodney. Though she excelled as a musical artist, 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 found 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 LaToya 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.

Through LaToya’s courageousness and creative talents, 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, and I feel that 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 3, and 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 in prison

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 2 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. The TRACIE app gives Canadian people of color the evidence and support that they need to create change.

TRACIE stands for Tracking Racism and Collecting Information in Education. TRACIE 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, and also a film-maker.

3 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 sit 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

TRACIE (Tracking Racism and Collecting Information in Education) is an innovative tool to support Black students facing racist bullying.

The soft launch of the much awaited app was  part of the Black To The Future event  held during Black History Month in 3 different locations across Toronto, with funding support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, and community support from the Delta Family Resource Centre.

Latoya Jane and Micheal Carlon at the TRACIE APP Launch – Toronto Library, Parkdale Branch – 14th of Feburary

Influencers, Latoya Jane and Micheal Carlon were key facilitators at the launch, as they shared their lived experiences with bullying, injustice and racism.

TRACIE is the brainchild of True Daley, a community organizer, advocate, educator and media personality . True is also a community worker and  co-founder of the landmark D.I.V.A. (Diversity in Visual and Audio Arts) Program, where she provided media literacy and arts programming to BIPOC youth in high-needs communities between 2008-2011.

True’s work as a journalist has been featured in ByBlacks.com and CBC Parents. She has worked with youth in conflict with the law in Rexdale and the Jane and Finch neighborhoods for over a decade. She is also an award-winning creative in film, music, and technology.

TRACIE APP Founder- True Daley at the Toronto Library Launch- Image: Esther Ijewere

Speaking on the inspiration behind the TRACIE app soft launch, here is what the multi-disciplinary advocate and visual storyteller had to say;

“The inspiration behind the soft launch is an opportunity to introduce children, youth, students and community members, to a new advocacy tool and to get some feedback about some of their experiences so that we can design the app in a way that is most effective for the experiences that they’re having and we can match their needs.

We also wanted some feedback on the interface, the features, and  the possibility of being able to use this app in a practical sense.

We wanted to gain their confidence that it would be a positive and supportive tool for them.  We also wanted to tap into the experiences and get those personal accounts; the breadth of experiences that children and youth are having and that adults are still healing from over generations from being in this education system and navigating it as a Black person.

TRACIE APP team at the third soft launch. Venue: Toronto Library , Albert Campbell branch, Scarborough. Image: Esther Ijewere

The soft launch was just our way to let people know that there is help on the way, that the app is being developed and that we are considering their needs, and utilizing this innovative tool  to support our community and to start to really have impact in ways that the policies within the school boards have not.

Based on a series of events over decades within the school board and school boards across Canada, we’ve noticed that anything that’s been put in place has not been effective, but it’s all been just talk, and the harm has been continuing from generation to generation.

It was just announced that $100 million in funding from the federal government is going towards supporting Black youth with their mental health.

True Daley and Adi Yemane | Image: Esther Ijewere

Aside from typical family issues, I’m sure alot of the challenges are rooted in navigating and being educated in these racist settings. So as grassroots community advocate, I had to find a more practical, sustainable way to support families because I realized that those of us who are doing this work on the front lines can get burnt out really quickly, and that’s just counterproductive for everyone.”

The TRACIE App will be launched in 2024, but the TRACIE team will continue rolling out programmes to educate and sensitize the community periodically, and improving the app .To get involved and know more about the TRACIE app, head on to www.tracieapp.com, email: info@tracieapp.com and follow @tracieapp and @truedaley.

More photos from the soft launch

Recording Artist and Motivational Speaker; Latoya Jane
Leah Yemane

True Daley and Latoya Jane at the TRACIE Launch
True Daley and Latoya Jane at the TRACIE Launch