Q&A: Yandy Smith Talks New Label, Dealing With Mendeecees Being Locked Up And Jim Jones
Named one of Billboard Magazine’s Top 30 Executives under 30, there isn’t much Yandy Smith hasn’t achieved in her career. She has worked alongside some of the greats including LL Cool J, Missy Elliott and 50 Cent during her tenure in the music biz and is now about to embark on a new record label venture with fellow Love and Hip Hop NY cast member Rich Dollaz named Lenox Avenue Records.
The mother/ mogul started as one of the producers of Love and Hip Hop but joined the cast in season two as Jim Jones’ manager. The two have since parted ways after a fallout by the season’s end. After the season four premiere of LHHNY made waves on Monday (Oct. 28), Yandy faces a new set of challenges: dealing with her fiancé Mendeecees Harris being held in custody under conspiracy charges and raising Mendeecees’ son Mendeecees Jr and their new baby Omere. VIBE caught up with her at the official screening to get the low-down on her burgeoning label, baby daddy issues and more.—Megan Saad
VIBE: You and Rich Dollaz are starting your own record label. Was this something that had been in the pipeline for a long time or was it a spur of the moment thing?
Yandy: Well I’ve been wanting to do a label for a very long time. When I had a baby I realized that the whole sitting in the studio, or going to the club getting DJs to play my records just wasn’t going to be my thing. I knew that was Rich’s thing. He can find a great record, goes to the clubs and promotes music. Rich can knock on the DJs’ doors because he knows all of them; he’s done radio for years. So Rich has become the ying to my yang with this label. I can sit in an office and I can close the deals. I can make sure our bottom lines and our income is being generated. I’m great at that, so I think it was the perfect combination.
Last season everyone was shocked when Mendeecees was taken into custody straight after your engagement and new baby. What has been the hardest part about him being away for so long?
I think the hardest thing is him missing everything. He’s missing Omere’s birthday, he missed little Mendeecee’s birthday; even him seeing little steps that the kids are taking. But then also, I just miss my best friend. I speak to him on the phone all the time, I see him every other week but actually having him there to go through raising the boys and just doing the things we like to do.
In this episode we saw that little Mendeecees overheard you guys talking about his dad being in jail. How do you plan to break it to Omere when the time comes?
Hopefully I won’t have to break it to Omere. Hopefully his dad will be home before that even happens.
A lot of women wouldn’t stick around if they found out their man was about to get twenty years in jail. Are you prepared to stay in that worst case scenario?
The thing is when I said that, I was kind of speaking out of place. That was something that I was reading and listening to the blogs and trying to do research to find out conspiracy charges, you know, what are the time frames? But that’s absolutely not the case. I’ve gotten a lot more information now and hopefully he’ll be home soon.
Are you still in contact with Jim Jones?
No. I’m not, not at all.
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