Tasha Smith: For Better or Worse

The star of Tyler Perry's 'For Better or Worse' series confronts those "angry black woman" accusations

Comedy on set: Smith with on-screen husband, Michael Jai White (Image: TBS)

Some men believe Angela’s hubby Marcus (Michael Jai White) must be a punk to tolerate her antics. Do you agree?

Marcus ain’t no punk! He’s just a bigger person and understands why Angela is the way that she is. Every man out there don’t take no junk. Think about it: when a man chooses to love [any woman] and understand her past and history, they give a lot of grace. The women who are in the relationship might suffer from abandonment issues because they might have grown up without a father, and if a man says, “I’m going to choose to love this woman [despite those issues],” then he’s going to be patient and kind. I think people are too quick to judge Angela and Marcus and don’t realize how much they love and understand one another—flaws and all.

Much like Angela, you speak truth and have been very candid about your past with using drugs and stripping. Do you think people have judged you about your past?

I think people have judged me and thought that I’m too transparent and I shouldn’t put all of my personal business out there. But for me, I’m free! There was a time when I had so much shame because of the things I’d done and been through. But to be able to have transparency without fear of anyone trying to hold that over my head, because we all know that people will try to do that if they believe it can destroy you. Can’t nobody tell your business like you, so I told it myself and I’m free.

We’ve enjoyed witnessing your growth on the silver screen. When you think about your career trajectory and personal brand, where do you see yourself in five years?

I gotta tell you, my husband, Keith Douglas [author of The Power to Get Wealth: No Money Required], and I launched SPI (Speaking Bureau Institute) to create opportunities for entertainers, singers and athletes to do motivational speaking. Between my film and TV background and my husband’s gospel music background, we felt there was a need to service all kinds of urban talent and give them a voice at conferences, colleges and other events. As a motivational speaker, I don’t believe enough Black talent is sought for these opportunities. Not that it’s only African-American talent, but we are focused on creating that voice in that space. Also, I just launched my own [unisex] fragrance called Us at justtasha.com, made from organic oil no heavy metals. We’ve already sold a few thousand dollars worth and it will be in some specialty stores. I’m excited we have body butter and body wash and this is something that my husband and I did on our own.

What is the best money advice you’ve ever received?

Best money advice was to save! Take an extra 10 percent and put it away. It’s not always about having a lot of money, but we are responsible. If we can go to the mall, then we can save.

What is the best business advice you’d give anyone?

I say this as a celebrity entertainer, we have to protect our brand. We have to choose our alliances carefully. People will try to be vultures, and if you have a brand of integrity and character, the wrong person can contaminate it if you don’t screen everybody who tries to approach you with a proposition. I believe this can apply to anyone who is starting a business or brand. Some people just want you just for your connections or simply just because you have something they don’t have. I’ve learned some hard lessons being introduced to the wrong people, and I’m still learning.

What is the one thing folks would be surprised to learn about Tasha Smith?

That I’m in bed by 9 pm! (Laughs) I swear I’m so corny. After I eat, I get ol’ school Black. You can catch me in the bed either eating some Twizzlers, watching my favorite TBS show For Better or Worse or just snoring!

How do you wish to be remembered?

That she loved God, people and tried to be a good person who helped and inspired many.

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