Get to know Prominent HBCU Mixer, Yandy Smith

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Yandy Smith

Yandy Smith is the EX-Manager of rapper Juelz Santana and Jim Jones, and an entertainment powerhouse with years invested in the industry. She got her start as Executive Assistant to Mona Scott-Young at the multi-media conglomerate Violator Management. During this time, Yandy worked on several projects in the music, TV and film world, working with artists on Violator’s client roster such as 50 Cent, Missy Elliott, and LL Cool J, to name a few.

Yandy began managing the career of rapper Jim Jones and soon left Violator to focus on her client’s rising career. Through this journey, she became a consultant at Warner Music Group/Atlantic Records and was responsible for closing a joint venture deal for Jones with Columbia Records.

In 2008, Yandy gained recognition as one of Billboard magazine‘s Top 30 Executives under 30 and rejoined Scott-Young at Monami Entertainment, where she holds the title of talent manager.
These days, Yandy adds yet another dimension to her career. She makes a natural transition from entertainment to fashion as part owner of the popular new lifestyle brand, Everything Girls Love, for which she also holds the title of President and Brand Manager.She is also a graduate of Howard University, Washington, D.C.

source: Wikipedia

On why she chose to attend a HBCU, Howard University and how it helped her get into the industry:
“I read about it, one of my best friends was going there, [and] I got a scholarship. So I felt ‘what better place to be than in DC?’ They had a great business program. And I really wanted to go to a HBCU……With Howard, unlike some other schools, you’re in the middle of the city. If you want to party full time, you can party full time. If you want to work full time and if you want to be a great student, you can do that as well. So that’s what I did. I partied full time at Howard, I did very well academically, and then I also worked. I had a full time job; I was a waitress and a bartender at ‘Phillips’, and I also worked at ‘Up Against the Wall’. So I did everything, completely, while I was there. So coming out of school, and going right into interning at Violator. We got in at 9 and I didn’t leave, sometimes, until 1 in the morning. And then I was working at a club. It was like no sleep. And Howard taught me that. Can I say, academically, I learned everything that I’m using? Am I using calculus? No. Am I using a whole lot of grammar? No. Am I using the social studies stuff that I learned? No, not particularly. But I think it just helped me to be well rounded because I did so much in school.”
On if a degree is necessary to work or break into the industry:
“No, not at all. There are so many people that work in the music industry that have no degrees, that don’t even have high school diplomas. And they’re executives, they’re VP’s, they’re Presidents, they’re Head A&R’s. I think music is more creative and really about the hustle and going out there and knowing how to get a job. If you don’t hustle you don’t eat in this business. And you don’t necessarily learn that with a degree.”
On what you need, outside of college, in order to make it in this industry:
“Internships are like the key to the world in music and TV. I think when you intern you get a wide spectrum of experience, especially if you don’t intern in a concentrated department. Like I was the intern to the President of the company, so we did a little bit of marketing; a little bit of legal contract stuff; we were day-to-day with the artists. And I learned a lot. At Violator I was working with some of the top artists of the time, so I was able to meet a lot of people, go to a lot of countries, and do a lot of things as an intern. And I think that’s really important when you want to break into this business.”
On what it’s like to work for and with Mona Scott-Young:
“It’s intense. She plays no games and she’s very goal-oriented and focused. When she has something that she wants to get done, it needs to be done to the T, or ‘yo ass is grass.’ She really taught me to pay attention to detail, cross my T’s, dot all my i’s, and then double check and make sure I did it. It was very hard working for her. People always say she goes through assistants the quickest, and I think I was one of her longest assistants because she don’t play. She will cut you off in a quick heartbeat of a second if you’re not right.”
On why she created, Everything Girls Love:
“Everything Girls Love is turning into a lifestyle brand right now. Originally it started out as a jewelry and accessory line. As of recently, we’ve also added a lip gloss line, lounge wear that you’ll see on the web site soon, and we’ve also started a magazine line that has everything from fashion tips to health tips, to romance tips. And we really want to make it the one-stop shop for women, where you can go for ‘what should I wear,’ ‘what should I do if I want to hang out with my girls,’ ‘what should I wear if I want to hang out with my man,’ ‘what should I cook for my first date,’ those kinds of things that all of us women need tips on sometimes.”
On what her career is, outside of “Love & Hip-Hop”:
“Well, I’m a manager, first and foremost. I manage artists. I helped develop the careers of several artists. And that’s my main passion and focus. Also I love working with young women and volunteering. I have an organization I work with called Socks for Tots. We go into domestic violence shelters and really help the women. Everybody needs socks. So we call it ‘Socks for Tots’ because the most minor things that people overlook are the most needed sometimes. We go in and we help these women by just encouraging them and building a teen-spirit for them to be on their own team and be confident in themselves. We give them resume tips, career building skills and that kind of thing.”
On how she met Erica Mena, who was introduced on last week’s episode of “Love & Hip-Hop”:
“They’ll [the producers] say ‘hey we have this new girl, she’s been looking for you for management.’ Then they’ll say, ‘we have this lunch set up, we want you and Erica to come to the lunch.’ And you might not know what this lunch is. And that’s what happened with us. I got there and they were like ‘Okay, you and Erica are walking in.’ We didn’t know who we were walking in with, or what the situation was. It was an hour long dinner and for 45 minutes of it she was saying, ‘I researched you, I know you went to Howard, I know how good of a manager you are, I know you worked with this artist.’ Then I said, ‘oh you want to transition to singing from modeling, that’s great. I have a girlfriend who wants to do the same thing. Her name is Kimbella’ She’s like, ‘oh I know Kimbella. I’m here she’s there, and we’re just completely different.’ And I’m like, ‘Well on paper, ya’ll seem the same to me, so how do you compare?’ She’s like, ‘well I don’t compare myself to nobody.’ I’m like ‘Okay, I’m cool with that.’ And the very next day it seems like I’m taking her to a damn lunch. And I was like ‘I look crazy.’ So that kind of stuff I’m irked by. I look foolish… No [I did not invite Erica to the lunch with Kimbella]. Everything is very situational. It’s not scripted but it’s situational.”
On the fight between Kimbella and Erica:
“I was actually surprised. That scene went on a lot longer than what you guys saw. She was going in for a while. Then I actually said, ‘You’re not going to be sitting here going in on my friend like this. Hold on… I ain’t for the drama, I’m outta here.’ Then we all went our separate ways, then we had to come back into the scene and pick up where we left off. I’m like ‘While this girl is going in on my friend, ya’ll got me sitting there with the stupid face.’ So Monday night I was aggravated. I’m always aggravated when I watch this damn show.”
On her reply to people who say she’s a trouble maker or instigator:
“You see 10 minutes of a 24 hour day mushed together. Every episode takes two weeks to make, almost. They show what’s going to be compelling. How compelling would it have been if Kim would have taken Emily to the side, in the bathroom, and told her, ‘Not around the cameras.’ Would you guys have tuned in for 3.9 million views? People have to start thinking outside the box… Now was that fight something that looked good? Of course not. But I didn’t throw a punch. What you guys also didn’t see is that Emily invited me and Kim to a party, at my jewelry party. They never said what the party was, they never said what it was for. We went not knowing what the hell we were walking into. We didn’t know this was like an Emancipation party, an ‘I’m Leaving Fab’ party. Kim intended to tell her anyway was, just so she wasn’t walk around being phony. Emily would have found out regardless. What you also don’t see is that Emily said, ‘Kim, I saw your number in his phone before, I’ve seen pictures in his phone, of you.’ But they cut that out too. There’s a lot that goes into these shows. And if I didn’t throw a punch, or I didn’t say, ‘yo, you should beat her up,’ then how can you say I orchestrated something? How could I have known Chrissy would take offense to that ? It had nothing to do with her.”
On if she and cast-mate Chrissy, had issues before filming and what their issues really are:
“ No [the tension between me and Chrissy was not there before the show started]. I don’t know what [the issue is]… and quite frankly, I don’t care. It’s odd. I’ve been around for 8 years and I never had an issue with Chrissy or Jim.”
On why she gave Chrissy the book about how to be a good daughter-In-law:
“On the ride to Atlantic City, which you guys don’t see, Chrissy and I talked the whole time about her relationship with Jim and her issues with Mama Jones. And in that conversation, I said, “Chrissy, you can’t change Mama Jones, but maybe you can change something about you. You have to calm down, stop being rude. Just listen to her, care a little more, that is his mother… ‘ It was about 30 or 40 minutes of us talking about Mama Jones. So the next time I met with her, I thought it was a kind gesture. Like, “you want to get married, so here’s a book on how to be a great daughter in law. [This issue with Chrissy] is all very recent, since the show.”
On what Chrissy does (professionally) for a living:
“Exactly. You tell me. Maybe you know…”
On if she’d ever manage cast-mate, Somaya:
“Somaya is a hustler and she goes hard for hers. I’m not mad at her hustle. She has a tequila line, she has a shoe line, she does shows, why wouldn’t I [manage her]? She’s making money. It might not be necessarily because of her great talent. And I’m not disrespecting her talent, I think she’s fine. But she has her own liquor and her own shoes. She’s doing much more than some of the artists I manage. So if I wanted to manage her, so what, what’s the problem?”
On if she and Kimbella plan to do a spin-off show: [Editor’s note: I heard that the two were in talks of doing some sort of spin-off and that the idea was pitched to Mona Scott-Young.]
“Girl you know we can’t talk about that kind of stuff. I will [talk to you about it when I can speak on it].”
On what’s next for her:
“I have no idea, no clue. I never would have thought I’d be where I am today. The sky is the limit.”

Yandy Smith, who is currently the president of Monami Entertainment, alongside founder, Mona Scott Young, and manager of Jim Jones, is transitioning from behind the camera to the front of the lens as the sixth cast member of Love & Hip Hop 2. Check out snippets from VIBE Vixen’s exclusive interview where she opens up about her career, beef on Love & Hip-Hop and more.

On Working With Jim Jones

I met Jim on a private jet. Russell Simmons was going to Detroit for a hip-hop summit, and I was doctored in. I was an ambassador for Dr. Ben Chavis to help get young people to vote. Jim happened to be the person I was sitting next to on the jet, and we started talking about how he wanted to break into the hip-hop world as far as being an artist goes but he had been managing The Diplomats and he was trying to put an album out. This was right when Pro-Tools just came out, and he was talking about the system and the possible addition of a booth at home. We exchanged information, and I let him know I worked at this managing firm and I let him know I was down to help him. I gave him my number, but I didn’t know that would lead to a call everyday about needing DVDs or help elsewhere. It got to a point where I told him, ‘You’re going to need to pay me, if you want me to do this at my job.’ That’s how the ball really got rolling. I was helping Mona out with the clients at Violator, but I was also doing work for Jim during or after work as well.

Joining the Show

Originally, the show came about through an idea I pitched to VH1 called Keeping up with the Joneses about Jim. We shot a pilot for it, and it was great. VH1 wanted to see more, but, after a while, there were issues going on within the camp which didn’t allow for Jim to give what the network wanted. Stack Bundles got killed and Max B got arrested. When you’re taping a show, it’s not just the cameras are on you, you have to be at certain places at certain times to follow up with various storylines. At that point, Jim had too much going on in his life. I went to Mona for help because I didn’t want to lose the show at VH1. She had another show she was pitching to another network about the women behind the men in hip-hop. So I asked her if she work Jim, Chrissy and Jim’s mother into the mix. She came up with the idea of finding women who were in the hip-hop industry and sprinkle them around Jim so he’s not that overwhelmed and it could be a great show.

Kimbella dating Fab

As far as the Fab situation, everyone has a past. There was a time when we all have been single and, I don’t think that should matter if we were single. It wasn’t even worth bringing up. Even if [Kimbella] did date [Fab], that’s not a bad thing. He’s a good-looking dude. I don’t see the hurt or harm, especially if she didn’t know he had a prior situation. As far as if someone attacking her, that would be hard for any friend to see or deal with, and of course you’d want to protect your friend. I’m just a peacemaker all around. I hate drama, cattiness and foolishness, so being in the middle of it, I’m like, Oh my gosh. I have to stop this. I have to make this right. That’s the part where I get caught up in the show.


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