Music/talent manager Yandy Smith is NOT your average reality show girl from around the way. She’s a business woman and about her money. Yes, I like her. In my eyes, she is dope and I respect what she does. She graduated from Howard University, interned at Violator before leaving to manage Jim Jones full-time. In a recent interview with Necole BITCHIE, Smith talked about her college and Violator days, meeting Jim Jones on a private jet, the way she was represented on Love & Hip-Hop and if her boyfriend robbed Jim Jones in Harlem. Below are some excerpts:
Yandy, you came out the Violator Management camp. Exactly how long have you been in the industry?
I got an internship with Violator in 2004, right out of college at Howard. Then I turned that into a position there.
When and where did you meet Jim Jones?
I met Jim in 2005 on a private jet chartered by Russell Simmons. They were flying us to Detroit for the Hip Hop summit to register young voters and Jim and I sat next to one another. He kept telling me that he managed this group The Diplomats and I told him to hit me up if he needed any help. He started calling me every day and eventually I was like ‘You’re going to have to pay me for this.” So I became his official manager and left Violator in 2005.
On the show you’re definitely portrayed as a woman about her business. Were you always that way? Or was there a situation that brought that out of you?
You know what, when I went to Howard, I got a scholarship the first two years. But my mother made me pay for the last two years. So that really taught me to be about my business. Yeah, being social was great and I did that too but I definitely learned quickly that I had to handle mine. And when school was over, I brought that same mindset to Violator Management. I knew I had to hurry up and find a job so I could pay back my student loans. So I came in on my business.
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NEXT PAGE YANDY SMITH TALKS WHAT SHE LOOK FOR IN CLIENTS, THE WAY SHE WAS REPRESENTED ON THE SHOW AND IF HER BOYFRIEND ROBBED JIM JONES IN HARLEM
How do you determine whom you take on as a client?
You know what, management is a life thing. It’s not a 9-5 thing. I’ve had Missy, Busta, whomever calling me in the middle of the night and you have to be there to be on your job. So when I look at a potential client I look for two things. First, they must have something and it’s not always just talent. You might not think Jim is the best rapper but he’s got this hustler’s spirit that makes you want to work with him. So it’s not always about the most talented because (and this is second), I have to believe in you. If you’ve got this hustler’s drive where you’re constantly looking for a way to make money, that’s something I can believe in and if I believe in you, I’ll go hard for you.
Let’s talk about that. Are you happy with the way you’ve been represented?
(Groans) See, here’s the thing: most people don’t realize how this really works. If the producers contact me and say there’s a woman named Erica Mena interested in meeting with me about management, I don’t know what an Erica Mena is. But I took the meeting and all the sudden its made to look like I’m starting something. Or if Emily invites me along with the rest of the girls to her party, I don’t know what type of party it is until I get there. And really I didn’t come with Kimbella. The camera just shows us walking up to the house together, so now it looks like I’ve brought Kimbella and I didn’t.
So you’ve finished filming and I know you’ve got a big episode coming up and you can’t tell us too much. So let me ask you this, are you at peace with how the situation ended with you and Jim?
I’m at peace. Absolutely. You know what? The show brought a lot of things to light. I’m quick to brother out somebody. I’m super quick to call a dude my brother – and part of that comes from being a woman in this industry. Calling someone my brother lets other people know there’s nothing going on and it sends a message to that dude that there’s a line he shouldn’t cross with me. But Jim? Jim was deeper than my brother. In a lot of ways I think of Jim as my first-born. He really was my very first project. We were broke together and then got reach together.
So where is that relationship now?
I will always love Mama Jones. Mama Jones and I used to talk for hours about all sorts of things – not just Jim – so I will always have a relationship with her.
What about Jim?
I’ll just say this: Jim will always be a very important factor in my career history. Like I said, he was there in the beginning, so my appreciation for that will always be there.
There was a rumor that your boyfriend beat Jim up?
Who said I have a boyfriend?
I’ve done my homework.
Well depending on where you did your homework, you might’ve gotten that I’m a lesbian, or that I’m involved with a married man who paid for my college degree…So I’m just wondering.
Do you have a boyfriend?
(Laughs) Yes, I have a boo.
Did he beat up Jim Jones?
I don’t know. I wasn’t there. I heard Jim say it was a botched robbery in Harlem.
Did your boyfriend attempt to rob Jim Jones, in Harlem?
No. My boyfriend definitely doesn’t need to rob anyone.
Read the entire story over at NecoleBITCHIE