Self-described as an enigmatic, quiet, complicated loner, I first met this majestic Sistah in the Summer of 2000. Our husbands were working together on a show and amidst the usual sound check attendees (artist, engineer, lighting director, venue staff etc.) were wives, girlfriends and side chicks all accounted for! I couldn’t help but notice her beautiful face, flawless smile and fierce sense of fashion. While working on this piece she told me that when she first met me, I was dressed like Queen Latifah! I cracked up and then paused…wait a minute now! Did I look like “Cover Girl Latifah”, “Set It Off Latifah” or “Ladies First Latifah?!” She responded with laughter, “Definitely Ladies First!” Hilarious! Mark of a true fan!
She and I had so much fun reminiscing. Either way, it was a first impression and moment in time neither of us could ever get back! I greeted her that day with one of my famous and (highly acclaimed) “Ericka Anointed Bear Hugs” and then proceeded to engage her in probably the most conversation she had ever had, in all her natural born days.
Ok, ok… safe to say I talked the quiet girl’s ears off.
Fast forward to 2015. Not only has our connection blossomed over the years into friendship, it has survived the shade that can come with meeting other women. The industry that our husbands work in as entertainers, can be pretty challenging for their significant others. The first thing most fans tend to Google is whether or not the artist/musician is married and if so, what does their wife/girlfriend look like. This information is used to determine more often than not: 1– the type of woman he likes and 2– whether or not they feel she is worthy of winning his allegiance! If they do not approve, the comments are brutal. They slam her hair, nails, clothes, shoes, make up, teeth, weight and accessories worse than any red carpet critic and then seal it with the infamous question, “How did she pull him!”
It reminds me of this lovely gem I found online:
So I thought it be cool to use authenticitee as a space to celebrate other musician/industry wives from time to time! There is so much more to us than meets the eye! Very few get to know the real us and very few have pure motives in wanting to get to know us at all! Real talk.
Meet Eloria Smith
Tell us about yourself!
Well…I’m in my late thirties. I was born and raised in New York City and now reside on Long Island, NY with my husband, whose stage name is DJ DUMMY and our twin teenage sons. I am a full-time Visual Merchandiser. (10 points for whoever knows what that is, because not once have I ever not had to explain what it is I do). In my line of work, I am responsible for the aesthetics of a department store. Imagine walking into Macy’s and seeing all white walls. No logos or signs. No displays. No mannequins. No platforms. No giant posters or picture frames. No dangly stuff from the ceilings. Well, I’m the reason why you can’t (imagine that). I get to express my creative side by making your shopping experience visually impactful!
Awesomeness! And no…I can’t say I would’ve have known what a Visual Merchandiser was prior to meeting you. Sounds like a fun gig! After all these years, I am amazed at how different we are but how well we genuinely get along. I often describe myself as an extrovert with strong introvert tendencies, but you can be pretty withdrawn! Has this always been the case?
Yes, I am pretty quiet and I generally keep to myself. I am definitely a loner. Unfortunately, it is common (for those who don’t know me), to label me as mean. I get that much more often than not. Not that it’s much better but…I’d prefer the term ‘guarded’ as opposed to being called mean. Considering that I am very sensitive and very emotional, it’s an unfair assumption. I do admit that I can be pretty hard to penetrate, but once a connection is established, I am a pretty cool person to know. I am a good friend, who can be generous as needed and extremely loyal.
I can certainly attest to your being, generous, loyal and very cool! Tell me more about your gifts, talents, hobbies, business…
Being a full time mother of two teenagers should be enough to tell you about my gifts and talents lol! I can juggle like I graduated from Ringling Brothers University! My agility. My crisis management skills. My interpersonal skills with a collaborative approach. My ability to improvise, multitask, and coordinate conflicting schedules are a few of the gifts and talents I have been blessed with. Outside of the business of Visual Merchandising, I haven’t had much time for hobbies.
So let’s talk a little bit about your husband and married life. Can you introduce him to those who may not be familiar with his work?
Photo Credit: Jai Nima Idowu of JADO Images
If you have ever seen a J. Cole concert or a full stage show by Common (in the last 13-14 years) then you may be more familiar with his work than you think. He is the MD (Musical Director) who puts together those entire experiences. And if you’ve never been to one of his parties…well…then you’ve never really been to a party! If you’ve ever heard Right Now by Kim Hill, or I Love You In Every Way by Maimouna Yousef (aka Mumu Fresh), or the Fine China Remix by Chris Brown & Common, then you’ve heard his work as a producer. He is also the mastermind behind WVLM’s VusicLive.com the total online video/music station. It “ain’t your regular radio”.
Wow he is multi-talented and by far one of the most entertaining DJ’s to watch onstage! I’ve actually peeped him spin on his live internet video show. I love how he interacts with his audience! How’d you guys actually meet?
We met (verbally) through a family member via telephone at first but didn’t actually meet face to face until 5 months later!
Soooo was it love at first sight when you finally met?
No. We were teens and dated for 6 years before we got married.
And how long have you been married?
Standing the test of time! Were you prepared to be married to someone in the entertainment industry? If not, how did you adjust?
Sort of. I was prepared to marry a DJ because that’s who he was when we first met. What I…well neither one of us for that matter, were prepared for the capacity in which his career would reach. It didn’t take so much “adjusting” per se because it started early on. There was nothing ever to compare it to…it’s all I know.
Based on what you’ve shared so far I can only imagine how much traveling he does. How often is he on the road?
Photo Credit: Unknown
There is no set amount of time. If I had to combine all the time and average it out, I would say maybe 4-6 months or so out of the year. It varies. Sometimes he’s out for months at a time. Then there are times when he just goes out 2-3 days each week.
Wow! How has his schedule impacted your marriage?
The biggest impact is on the shifting of responsibility. When he’s away, there is an added stress of pulling my weight in addition to what he would be doing if he were home. It is never convenient to have to maneuver plans based upon last minute schedule changes – which is his constant. Married life is kind of like college. No matter what, it’s hard work. You can fool around if you want to – but it will catch up to you and you’ll have to get your s••• together, fast. It can be fun. Overwhelming at times and expensive. (…oh…wait…that’s the kids’ part. Never mind. That’s the grad school edition).
How has his line of work impacted your parenting?
I am not sure how to answer this question because our children are not really exposed to the industry side of his work. They know what their Dad does and they’ve even seen him at work. They are aware of the pros and cons. I would say my parenting includes educating them and reflecting the importance of shared responsibility between parents. Especially when one is often away from home. But as I stated before, I, as well as our sons have nothing to compare our lifestyle to because we don’t know anything else or any other way.
You mentioned pros and cons. What would you say are your favorite things about being married to someone in the industry? What about your pet peeves?
Favorite things? The perks of course. Free stuff! Who doesn’t like free stuff? Lol! Traveling and getting to meet people you would never meet under ordinary circumstances. Let me be clear, that is not limited to celebrities or those with major wealth. Just great people I would never had met! Pet Peeves? The constant schedule changes. It is very hard to plan things with your family and in your personal life. When nothing is ever concrete until the actual time it occurs…or doesn’t occur. Another Pet Peeve would be the lack of respect for marriage or any serious relationship (but that’s a whole ‘nother blog).
Oh yes Ma’am…roger that! You covered a lot! I really appreciate your keeping it 100 because it’s not all glam and lights for sure. What inspires you?
I am inspired by beautiful, strong, intelligent women. My sons. My Mom. My cousin. My bestest girlfriend. I guess that’s more of “who” than “what” huh? I guess I’m inspired by creativity and seeing results.
If you could do anything differently, what would it be?
I would’ve allowed more time to pass before getting married and having children so soon after.
So is there any advice you can give to an engaged or newly married couple where one spouse is involved in the industry and the other is not?
If it is his/her passion, be supportive. Actively help them reach their goals. Communicate. Keep your individuality. Do not lose yourself.
YES! I was just talking about that a few weeks ago. Don’t lose yourself in the process! Is there anything else you’d like to share?
The Laundry List of Necessities for Being Married to Someone in the Industry:
- Security (meaning the opposite of having insecurities)
- Patience (yes I said it twice)
- A willingness to compromise and be flexible. (Be careful and make sure that compromise is for you and your partner. Not to be confused with compromising yourself for the industry)
Being married in the entertainment/music industry is like having a double major in engineering and physics with two minors in math and psychology. You got it coming at you from all directions and you can’t drop the ball on any of them, or else it will be a domino effect. But…
- It’s worth the experience.
- It’s gratifying in the long run when you look back and see ‘how in the world did we get through that?’
- It’s gratifying when you look back at the work you produced.
- It’s gratifying when you have something tangible to show for it.
- It’s gratifying when you know you are doing it with your best friend as your partner.
OH! Good stuff! Seasoned wisdom from someone who has been in the trenches, through thick and thin! I love it. Eloria thanks so much for taking time out your hectic schedule to be authentic here at authenticitee! You have blessed my space Momma! How can people get in touch with you?
EloriaSmith@yahoo.com or on Instagram: @EMPRESSSMITTY
And if someone were interested in booking your husband, how can he be reached?
Stellar! Thanks again!
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