If you don’t know who Yandy Smith is, get familiar. This boss Vixen is definitely a woman to be watched! Currently the president of Monami Entertainment, alongside founder, Mona Scott Young, Yandy is transitioning from behind the camera to the front of the lens as the sixth cast member of Love & Hip Hop. This November, the Harlem, New York native (and Howard University alum) is a well-respected force in the music industry. Having worked with artists such as 50 Cent, Missy Elliot and Busta Rhymes under Violator Entertainment, this proverbial peacemaker is the manager of Jim Jones and the glue which holds the Dipset crew together. Ready to show the world she’s more than just Jim Jones’ manager, will she convince viewers it takes more brains than beauty to make it in hip-hop? Check out VIBE Vixen’s exclusive interview with Yandy Smith as she opens up about her personality, Love & Hip-Hop Debut, Everything Girls Love brand and more!
How did you originally get involved with the music industry?
When I graduated from Howard [University], I thought I was going to get into Entertainment Law, but then I got an internship with Violator Management, just to see what it was all about. I fell in love with hip-hop, as cliché as that sounds, and I opted not to pursue my law degree and go full speed ahead into management.
One of your main clients happens to be Jim Jones, your castmate Chrissy’s significant other. When did your business relationship begin?
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.
Now, how did you get onboard for Love & Hip Hop?
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.
Did you face any difficult moments being the new girl?
I never felt like the new girl because I fit in with any and everybody. I’m comfortable in own skin, so if you say, ‘No, we don’t know you,’ I’m still like, ‘Okay, cool.’ So being new didn’t bother me at all. I got reacquainted with Olivia. We used to manage her at Violator when she was in the group, and I never got the chance to peel back the layers to get to know who she really was a person. Working closely with her now on the show, she’s a beautiful person, driven and focused on coming out and being a superstar. I think she’ll make it.