Smokey D. Fontaine (born 1972) is an American writer, music critic and editor. As of 2006[update] he is editor-in-chief of Giant magazine. Sincs 2007, he also has been Chief Content Officer of Interactive One, a digital network.
Fontaine's parents are African-American Jewish actress Pat Hartley (who appeared in several Andy Warhol films as well as Rainbow Bridge and Absolute Beginners) and British documentary filmmaker Dick Fontaine (maker of the 1984 BBC documentary Beat This: A Hip-Hop History, in which the young Fontaine can briefly be seen sitting next to DJ Kool Herc). Growing up on Manhattan's Upper West Side around the corner from Rock Steady Park, home of the breakdancing pioneers Rock Steady Crew, Fontaine did some DJ'ing himself while attending Bronx High School of Science.
After two years teaching in Baltimore, Maryland, as part of the Teach for America program, he returned to New York City, interned for VIBE, and began writing on the side for British hip hop magazine True, soon renamed as Trace, where he eventually became an editor and hired away his own previous editor at VIBE, Scott Poulson-Bryant.
While at True/Trace he befriended Sean "Puffy" Combs. His editor-in-chief thought the relationship was too close, and that Combs was using him. "We were certainly being hustled," said Fontaine later, "but in all hustles, there has to be a counter-hustle." Fontaine thought that their "little magazine with no money and no marketing" stood to "ride [Combs'] coattails"; the editor-in-chief disagreed; Fontaine soon left to become features editor for The Source.
An assignment to write a cover story on rapper DMX resulted in his spending two years as part of DMX's posse, getting 350 hours of "interviews" with him, which he shaped into E.A.R.L.: The Autobiography of DMX.
In 2001, Fontaine hooked up with Damon Dash (rapper Jay-Z's manager); Dash financed the magazine America, with Fontaine running the show. The magazine first appeared in spring 2004. Fontaine left in 2006 after a falling out with Dash; he left to become editor-in-chief of Giant, starting with the August 2006 issue.
- Larry Getlen, "A Better Vibe", Wesleyan (Wesleyan University alumni magazine), Issue IV 2006, p. 28–32.
- Smokey Fontaine at the Internet Movie Database