By Angela Byrd
The reality TV show Love and Hip-hop is becoming favorite amongst women and on VH1 . In its second season the show that takes a behind the scenes look at women who do business in hip-hop and who love men in hip hop. This season one of the creators of the show Yandy Smith decided to join the cast and open up her life to the world.
A Howard University alumni ,Yandy has managed the careers of some hip-hop most notables Missy Elliot , Busta Ryhmes , and Jim Jones along with partner Mona Scott Young. The morning after the second episode premiered we caught up with Ms.Smith to talk to her about her come-up, the show, being a female mogul, her relationship with clients, love and hip hop.
What was the first hip hop record that you fall in love with and what was the first time you knew this what you wanted to do?
Well, I was a late bloomer on the hip hop side of the world because I went to an all white private school. I was the only black girl in the school, so my music taste is a little different from a normal black girl from Harlem in the projects. But I say the first time I fell in love with hip-hop was the Biggie and Tupac era. I was like ‘Oh My God’ this music makes me want to dance , this makes me laugh, and they got catchy lines. I think that was the first time and that was kind of late , I was already in middle school and high school.
Now you’re a HU alumni how did going to college help you get your foot in the door ?
It was really persistent for me to get into the music industry . I am a Howard University alumni but in music what I come to find ,a lot of the stuff I learned in college, I haven’t had to apply it. I was a business management major, with business management I had to take finance , accountant , and business law. All those different things added a little salt to who I am but we have lawyers that cover our contract.I have accountant to handle my money .I have a financial advisor to handle my finances. Your really spoiled in music because you have someone to pretty much handle everything ,that’s a experts in their field
Was it easy to break into the field ?
2 months after I graduated , I moved back to New York , a friend of mine had a meeting at Violator and I went with him, I was just sitting in the the receptionist area, while I was sitting there, I saw artists come in and out , everybody was laughing, talking loud, music playing. I was like is this a job or is this a hangout. At that time, I wanted to get into entertainment law, so I thought maybe GOD brought me here for a reason. I was just persistent, I got the number to the receptionist and I would call her everyday, then I found out Mona’s assistant number and I called her everyday. Every time I was in Manhattan I would stop by the office to act like I was saying hi to the receptionist. Every time I went or every time I called I asked if they needed help. I did that for about 3 weeks and finally they gave me a job- well, internship- I would necessary call that a job.
Love and Hip-Hop is heating up. You’re one of the creators of the show along with Mona Scott Young?
In a recent interview with Black Enterprise, you said you joined to show a different view of women in the entertainment industry. Is there a void of acknowledging female moguls? Why do you think men have been so dominant?
I think its just a model of the world not only in hip-hop but in the world as it stands. Women have taken the backseat for so long. Now you’ll see a shift in the music business , you see a lot of women holding their Senior V.P. position, president positions, just like in the corporate world you see a shift happening as well. I think within time like with anything else. Its just like when it was a switch in slavery days and you started to see black people come into office.Everything takes time. It takes time for people to realize that. Roles like I’m playing on the show and other women that play in real life. I think these are the types of things that society,young women even men need to see cause it shows that we are here , we’re coming through and you better make room or we will push our way through
You also said you joined for branding reasons. There are a lot of drama already on the show. How do you protect your brand on reality TV?
You can only control what you do. I can’t control what anybody else does and what anybody else says but as you’ll see on the show I maintain a level of professionalism, you know to the best of my ability. I am huma , so it might be a time were your like wait a minute you slipped up there because I am human, but for the most part I felt like it let me promote my business, it let me show that I’m a good manager and I have new jewelry line called ” Everything Girls Love” so they let me wear my jewelry all day, every day and let me look good doing it. So people are like “Who is she? She dress nice and she talk well.” I felt like it was important to be a trendsetter and standout.
In the last episode, You made it clear it was about the money . Is it really about the money?
Well, you know that’s a lot of editing as well. Absolutely not because I wouldn’t be with Jim if it was only about the money. You know Jim is an artist were you have so much outside non-income generating stuff that you have to do.There is so much damage control that goes in to managing an artist like Jim. Like handling his son’s birthday, talking to his mom, talking to Chrissy all the time, bailing someone out of jail whether its him or his entourage. Those things you don’t get paid for. I did it and I didn’t complain at all. What you don’t see in that scene, I’m not sure if they kept it or not, but I was like “Chrissy, come on, you know it ain’t about the money when it comes to Jim”. Now, you might be able to say that about a client I don’t necessary care about but with Jim you cant say that.
But at the end of the day if it is about the money what’s the problem. I don’t go to work to fraternize, I don’t go to work to party , I don’t go to work to have friends, I go to work cause that’s my job and I have a mortgage to pay. It’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just I made it personal with Jim, Chrissy and everybody because they became friends. But that’s not how it has to be.
Speaking of Chrissy, please tell me why you was dancing to the diss song by Mama Jones?
I’m into music and I like the beat. I love Nancy. I can do what I want to do. I’m grown.
Whats the relationship with Chrissy now?
You have to watch the show to see how it plays out.
How do you separate business from personal?
See I work so closely with my clients. You can’t help but to get personal because your so heavily involved If you have any care and concerns for people you begin to feel compassion, you fear what they fear,you being to feel like “Damn I want them to win” ,
I know the show keeps you busy , What are you working on or with?
I’m working very closely with Missy and Busta. I have group called In Results. I do a lot of stuff with the Diplomats as a whole. You know Missy is dropping a album, Busta just signed to Young Money so its a lot going on plus my jewelry line, which is my new endeavor.
Speaking of Busta and Missy, they are legends in the music game. What has it been like working them?
With Missy and Busta they have been there since the beginning with me- since I was an intern at Violator. They’re really like my big brother and sister. I was just on the phone with Busta couple of days ago and I was at Missy’s house last night preparing for a big meeting we have tomorrow. With them as much as I work with them, I am also fans of their creativity. I am fans of who they are as people. I am fans of their business. The way they handle themselves is the reason they’ve lasted so long. They are really about business. They changed the game in so many way as far as they music and identity. They never settled for the status quo. They always worked outside the box and that kind of stuff is what drives me to do what I do.
You have been apart of winning team , what does it take to push an artist like Missy and Busta? What does it take to have longevity?
Well see, you don’t …What’s really hard is is maintaining all the stuff that comes in for them, but there’s not much marketing that has to go into artist like that because there dope. Their music speaks for itself and people love them for the music and creativity. I think they have another 20 years. If there’s an artist that can rap until they are gray it’s Missy and Busta.
With all of the things you do , do you have time for love yourself ?
I probably don’t have as much time as most people. I try to make time for a personal life. I think its important to have that balance. I think for years I didn’t know how because I was just going. Now I’m getting older I see whats important in life. I’m starting to see family and a relationship is important, I never really cared much before.
3 things for you look for in love
- A man to be supportive.
- A man to be understanding especially of my life and career. I work with a lot of men, probably some girls dream and that can intimidated alot of men
- Loyalty. Loyalty to the fault and someone that will rock with me right, wrong and indifference
Where do you see yourself in five years?
You know everyone asks me that question and 2 years ago I never would have thought I would be in front of the camera. Ten years ago when I was prepping for law, I would have never thought I would be in music. So I can’t say were I’ll see myself in 5 years because I really believe sky’s the limit and I’ll be putting myself in limitations if I speak it, I’m a firm believer of speaking things into existence. I have no idea where this new life , will take me. I’m open as long as it doesn’t hurt my integrity or hurt my brand. I’m open.