Yandy and Rich Dollaz: Love And Hip-Hop New York's Entrepreneurs

Although these two can't be any more different, one thing that both Yandy Smith and Rich Dollaz can agree on is getting money together. The two have come together to start their own label, Lenox Ave Records and are embarking on a nationwide tour to scout for new talent. Vixen caught up with them and they dished on what they seek when looking for new talent, old friends, and the perfect woman for Richie. Peep the interview below to find out:

On qualities they look for in new talent:

Yandy: In this day and age its not just about talent, its about the full package, people want to believe in your culture, they want to believe in your movement, the way we feel when you walk in a room. Of course talent is first, talent is very, very important but you also have to be a viable act to sell, you have to look the role, you have to be able to carry a brand, we want you to be a brand ambassador, so its not just about your talent anymore, its about the complete package.

Rich: Yeah [laughs]. You gotta be everything, you gotta take advantage of everything around you and be relevant and make people buy in to who you are and what you're doing, its not just about records anymore.

On their new label:

Yandy: Rich may be many things, but one thing he is great at is finding talent and cultivating that talent. He can take someone who can't sing and and make a great record and that alone was enough for me to see ok I want to be in business with him, and I'm really good at connecting the dots, and I have a lot of relationships in this business. I can walk in to pretty much record label and be respected as a player in the game so I felt with my behind the scenes and Rich's forefront with the music, that was a great combination.

Artists they wish they could have got their hands on:

Yandy: Drake. Lil Wayne. Nicki Minaj.

Rich: Nicki Minaj. You know what's crazy, artists come and go so quickly but I actually had the opportunity to sit with Rich Homie Quan about three years ago, and it never really panned out, and now I turn on the radio and the kid's everywhere getting 25 grand a night so yea I think I missed out on that.

Yandy: Let me tell you who came in me and Mona's office., he was a little boy with his mom and Scooter Braun, Justin Beiber. Before he got the records, before he put out a song, he was a YouTube sensation. He came into our office, Mona til this day swears up and down he was not looking for a manager that Scooter just brought him over to say 'Oh hey look at my new act," but I really believe he came over because he wanted us to manage him and we just dropped the ball on it. Imagine if I managed Justin Beiber right now, you know what my life would be?

Reality stars they relate to the most:

Rich: With different reality shows everyone comes from a different place, a different region, I'm not from Atlanta so I don't my story is like anybody's down there. The person I most relate to is Rich Dollaz. I don't know that there's another one of him.

Yandy: I might be tooting my own horn a little bit but I like Nene a lot, I like that she was able to use reality TV as a platform to do so many other things, she started from the bottom and now she's definitely on top, so if I was going to say anybody I would say her.


Yandy on raising her son without Mendeecees:

Yandy: It's harder, I don't know what its like not to raise your child on your own because its kinda what I've done since I've had him. Mendeecees left us when he was six months old so I've been doing it for awhile, its all I know. It taught me time management, it taught me how to prioritize better because he's my priority and everything falls in line after that. Its definitely been an experience but I'm so thankful for it, I'm so thankful that I get to get all the hugs and the sloppy wet smooches so I don't have to share that with his dad right now.

Advice Yandy gives other women in her situation:

Yandy: Stay strong. Soak up all the love you can from your child and know that its not something that was given to you that you can't handle. Everyday I have to remind myself that I was put in this situation because I can do it. Knowing that I can do it and there's no one else that can do it like me makes me feel like I gotta be great at it. If you see something I'm doing and you feel like you admire that take notes.

Things Yandy can't leave the house without:

Yandy: I love MAC lipgloss, I love my lips to pop. I love my Everything Girls Love accessories, they accessorize every outfit!

Favorite piece of fashion right now:

YS by Simply Intricate which happens to be my clothing line, you can check it out on my Instagram.

rich dollazOn Rich's relationship with Olivia:

Rich: We have a good relationship, I think Liv is a great talent, we're still working together in a different capacity right now, if it's things that come across my desk and I think she's good for them I'll forward them off and hope that she can win but I'm not managing Olivia anymore.

On Rich's friendship with K. Michelle:

Rich: We actually didn't get along previously, I was real good friends with Memphitz, and I think that was a little bit weird, but I've known K for years. I knew K when she was signed at Jive, but now we're friends again and its cool.I don't think we've ever not been friends I just think that there was some miscommunications, but it's good now.

On Erica Mena's coverup tattoo:

No reaction. I had been hearing about that tattoo getting covered up about four months previously to seeing it on Black Ink. The deal was either I got a tattoo or she was getting her tattoo covered up, and we all know I was getting a tattoo so she was definitely getting hers covered up.

On Rich being single:

Rich: I'm absolutely single.

Yandy: Single with five girlfriends! [laughs]

On their ideal mate:

Rich: I like beautiful women. I don't have a specific thing where you can be like, "oh that's Richie's type."

Yandy: She doesn't have to speak English, she doesn't have to have a job, she doesn't have to have all teeth, toes, one foot is fine, and even seven toes on one foot.

Rich: That's fine too. A pretty face and that's it. If Yandy thinks she's alright, I love her. She has to have all her teeth or a good dental plan where she's got some nice dentures.

Yandy: He doesn't' mind if she doesn't have all her teeth, he told me that before. [laughs]

Rich: I just like beautiful women. Latin women. Black women. European women. I just like women, just make sure everyone knows that I like women.

On what to expect from them this season:

Yandy: You'll see me really being a mom, you'll see me navigating through different businesses, you'll also see me being the same old me where I'm kinda the same voice in crazy situations. I always end up in the midst of someone else's crazy situation. You'll also see me trying to balance being a career mom, just trying to be great at both. Rich and I are getting ready to go on a national tour, trying to find talent for our label, and we're looking for the full package.

Rich: The new label, I started a modeling agency as well, its gonna be some ups and downs, some plate throwing, some arguments, some glasses throwing, you know the regular Richie Dollaz s**t. I'm a little bit cleaner this year, I'm not as bad as last year.

Photo Credit: ballertalert.com

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Aaliyah during TNT Presents - A Gift of Song - New York - January 1, 1997 in New York City, New York, United States.

Fans Rally For Aaliyah's Discography To Be Released On Streaming Platforms

As another day passes without Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms, fans are looking for answers.

Over the weekend, the hashtag #FreeAaliyahMusic appeared on Twitter in light of song battles between Swizz Beats vs. Timbaland and Ne-Yo vs. Johnta Austin. The latter opponents played their collaborations with the late singer, proving Baby Girl's dynamic relevancy in the age of modern R&B. As songs like "I Don't Wanna" and "Come Over" picked up plays on YouTube, the hashtag pointed out the tragedy of her songs not existing on platforms like Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music.

Aaliyah's only album on multiple platforms is her 1994 debut, Age Ain't Nothing But A Number. Other albums like the platinum-selling One in A Million and Aaliyah are being held in a vault of sorts along with other unmixed vocals by her uncle and founder of Blackground Records, Barry Hankerson.

Hankerson has built up a mysterious yet haunting aura over the years due to his refusal to release Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms. Reasons are unknown but Stephen Witt's 2016 investigation revealed business deals like the shift in distribution from  Jive Records to Atlantic helped Hankerson take ownership of the singer's masters. The deal was made in 1996 when Blackground featured artists like Aaliyah, Toni Braxton, R. Kelly, then-production duo Timbaland and Magoo as well as Missy Elliott.

Sadly, Aaliyah's music isn't the only recordings lost in the shuffle. Recordings from Timbaland and Toni Braxton have been hidden from the world with both taking legal action against the label over the years. There's also JoJo, who had to break from the label after they refused to release her third album. The singer recently re-recorded her first two albums.

With Aaliyah's music getting the attention it deserves, Johnta Austin discussed the singer's impact on R&B today. "It was amazing, she was incredible from top to bottom," he told OkayPlayer of working with the singer on "Come Over" and "I Don't Wanna." "I don't think Aaliyah gets the vocal credit that she deserves. When she was on it, she had the riffs, she had everything."

Earlier this year, an account impersonating Hankerson claimed her music would arrive on streaming platforms January 16, on what would've been her 41st birthday. A docuseries called the Aaliyah Diaries was also promoted for a release on Netflix.

Of course, it was far from the truth. Fans can enjoy selected videos and songs on YouTube, but it's clear they want more.


Aaliyah’s music is the landmark for a lot of your favs not only was she ahead of her time with her futuristic sounds she also was a fashion Icon dancer and phenomenal actress . The future generations need be exposed to her artistry and pay homage .#FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/LxZfxcqRgF

— Black Clover (@la_alchemist) March 29, 2020

Her first #1 solely based on AirPlay! She was the first ! #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/BHlANZjCGZ

— (@hodeciii) March 29, 2020

Makes no sense for someone still so influential to be hidden. Many try to emulate her. On Spotifys This is Aaliyah playlist, theres some great tracks not on her main Spotify #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/vLqLTVxqO9

— Blackity Black⁷ (@ClaudBuzzzz) March 29, 2020

Aaliyah is trending once again. She deserves endless flowers. This is true impact y’all. Her voice, her sound, her music...She’s been gone for 2 decades and y’all see the love for her is even stronger! We miss you baby girl! #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/ALDcT0ZQxR

— A A L I Y A H (@forbbygrlaali) March 30, 2020

Aaliyah said she wanted to be remembered for her music and yet most of it is not on streaming services #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/zwk0AWMCoE

— RJR (@MyNewEssence96) March 29, 2020

aaliyah’s gems like more than a woman deserve to be in streaming sites #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/mM2GWEg1pe

— k (@grandexrocky) March 30, 2020

I saw #FreeAaliyahMusic and IMMEDIATELY jumped into action! I can’t express how betrayed I felt when we were supposed to have all her music on Spotify by her birthday. Her discography is deeply underestimated and we need to make it right for our babygirl!pic.twitter.com/GfxBeJxUY1

— jerrica✨ (@jerricaofficial) March 29, 2020

Before Megan The Stallion drove the boat...

Aaliyah rocked the boat...

#FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/iXNwssD3sY

— Al’Bei (@_albei) March 29, 2020

i think we should have that conversation #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/cGl269tuTr

— AALIYAH LEGION (@AaliyahLegion) April 1, 2020

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Singers Adrienne Bailon (L) and Kiely Williams of the 'Cheetah Girls' pose for photos around Mercedes Benz Fashion Week held at Smashbox Studios on October 18, 2007 in Culver City, California.
Katy Winn/Getty Images for IMG

Kiely Williams Explains Fallout With Adrienne Bailon Houghton And Alleged Fight With Raven-Symonè

Our current isolated way of life has given some plenty of time for reflection like Kiely Williams of the former girl group 3LW and The Cheetah Girls (ask your kids). The tales of both successful groups have been told time after time by fans in YouTube documentaries and members of each collective but Williams has decided to share her side of the story.

Williams hopped on Live Monday (March 30) where she discussed her former friendship with The Real co-host Adrienne Bailon Houghton and the infamous chicken throwing fight with actress/singer Naturi Naughton. The mother of one didn't pinpoint exactly why she fell out with Houghton but did point out how she wouldn't be interested in appearing on her talk show.

"I don't think Adrienne wants to have live TV with me," Williams said. "'Cause she's gon' have to say, 'Yes Kiely, I did pretend to be your best friend. Now, I am not.' You were either lying then or you're lying now. You either were my best friend and now you're just not claiming me or you were pretending [to be my best friend."

The two remained friends after Naughton was kicked out of 3LW, the platinum-selling group known for 2000s pop hits like "No More (Baby I'ma Do Right)" and "Playas Gon' Play." Williams and Houghton were eventually picked to be apart of The Cheetah Girls with then-Disney darling Raven-Symonè and dancer Sabrina Bryan.

Williams went on to discuss her fight with Naughton, which she denies had anything to do with her skin color. With her mother near, Williams claimed Naughton called her a b***h, leading to the fight. While she didn't clear up the chicken throwing, she stated how she was "going for her neck" and was holding food and her baby sister in the process.

Apologies aren't on the horizon either. “I don’t feel like I have anything to make amends for, especially as it relates to Adrienne,” Kiely said. “As far as Naturi goes, if there was ever a reason to apologize, all of that has kind of been overshadowed by the literal lies and really ugly stuff that she said about my mom and my sister. So, no. Not interested in that. I’m sorry.”

Moving onto The Cheetah Girls, Williams also denied claims she got into fights with Raven-Symonè on the set of The Cheetah Girls films and never outed her as a teen. The rumor about Symonè and Williams was reportedly started by Symonè's former co-star Orlando Brown.

Symonè has often shared positive memories about The Cheetah Girls and their reign but did imply during an episode of The View how co-star Lynn Whitfield kept her from losing her cool on set.

On a lighter note, Symonè, Houghton and Naughton have kept in contact with Naughton and Houghton putting their differences aside during an appearance on The Real. 

Symonè and Houghton also reunited at the Women's March in Los Angeles in January. During Bailon's performance at the event, the two briefly performed the Cheetah Girls' classic, "Together We Can."

Willaims also shared some stories about the making of the group's hits. Check out her Live below.

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Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Kelis Announces ‘Cooked With Cannabis’ Show Will Premiere On Netflix

Kelis is taking her chef talents to Netflix. The musician will host a food competition show titled Cooked With Cannabis that’ll premiere on the very-fitting April 20 (4/20). According to NME, the show will span six episodes and be co-hosted by chef Leather Storrs.

Describing the opportunity as a “dream come true” since she’s a major supporter of the streaming service, Kelis took to Instagram to share how cannabis and cooking is one of her many creative passions. “As a chef, I was intrigued by the food and as an everyday person, I was interested in how powerful this topic is in today’s society,” the mother-of-two writes. “In this country, many things have been used systemically to oppress groups of people, but this is so culturally important for us to learn and grow together.”

Each episode will place three chefs against each other as they craft three-course meals with cannabis as the central ingredient. Each episode’s winner takes home $10,000. Guests will play an integral role in who takes home the cash prize. Too $hort, and El-P are just a few of this season's guests.


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I'm really excited to announce my new show, Cooked with Cannabis on @Netflix!! Anyone that knows me, knows how much I love my Netflix, so this is a dream come true. Interestingly, this was one of those things that I didn't go looking for, it kind of came to me. As a chef, I was intrigued by the food and as an everyday person, I was interested in how powerful this topic is in today's society. In this country, many things have been used systematically to oppress groups of people, but this is so culturally important for us to learn and grow together. I hope you all will tune in, it's definitely going to be a good time! We launch on 4/20! XO, Kelis

A post shared by Kelis (@kelis) on Mar 18, 2020 at 7:57am PDT

In a previous Lenny Letter profile, Kelis shared she comes from a line of culinary influences beginning with her mother who owned a catering service. In 2008, the “Milkshake” singer sought to refine her cooking skills by enrolling in the Le Cordon Bleu school. Receiving a certificate as a trained saucier, the New York native put her expertise to the test during pop-up restaurants in her native city, created a hot sauce line, and co-owns a sustainable farm in Quindio, Colombia.

“Food is revolutionary because it is the one and only international language. It’s the most human thing you can partake in,” she said in an interview with Bon Appetit. “We are the only species that cooks.”

This isn’t Kelis’ first foray into the reality-cooking television world. In 2014, she partnered with the Cooking Channel for Saucy and Sweet and published the "My Life on a Plate" cookbook a year later.

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