*Business woman and “Love & Hip Hop” star Yandy Smith recently produced “Life, Love, Soul,” a Noel Calloway film about a 17-year-old student left to cope with the sudden death of his mother (played by reality star Tami Roman) and reuniting with his estranged father. From heart break, teen pregnancy and abandonment, the story unveils the hidden tragedies behind social epidemics.
Starring Robbie Tate-Brickle, Chad Coleman, and Terri Vaughn, the film received rave reviews since its debut earlier this month.
Yandy shared with EURweb.com about her involvement as well as her personal reflections of the story. While the new season of “Love & Hip Hop” gears up for another premiere, the reality star is still pushing forward and living life to the fullest.
Check out her commentary on business, motherhood and Mendeecees below.
Why did you decide to get involved with the movie?
Noel Calloway, the director, and I go way back to high school. We were good friends then. He reached out to me about six years ago to come on board with the project. At that time my career was going crazy and I was all over the place, I was on the road. So I couldn’t get as involved as I wanted to. He sent the script. I read over the script and I absolutely fell in love with it. When I got back in town, I reached back out to him and asked how could I be a part of it. I got involved about two years ago. It’s been an ongoing relationship ever since then. The message of the story hit home and definitely wanted to be a part of it.
How relevant is this movie in the wake of the Trayvon Martin verdict?
Anything that shows our Black families in a positive way is always a beautiful story. And I think there are so many conversations that this movie sparks, in reference to family, in reference to fatherless homes, in reference to young people starting their families, I think that this is something that needs to be out there and something that I want to support because there are so many different situations and conversations that movies like this evoke. And even in the wake of Trayvon Martin situation I think this is something that ties right into that.
Personally, how has this movie and message impacted you?
I’m a big believer in family and fatherhood and men should be raised with and by their fathers, if their mom’s are not around. I think there was that story that the father’s role is so very important, even if it’s not something that’s traditional, even if it’s not something that is conventional in the thinking that the father’s may have because they’ve been so disconnected from…. In the movie, the father was so disconnected to how his (son’s) mother was raising him, however, just that bond was so important. By the end of the movie they come full circle. It might not be some of his ideals that he followed, but just his strength and his commitment, you could see that Roosevelt takes that from his dad. I think that it’s important. In families we won’t all get along; we won’t all agree, but if you stick through it and you fight for those relationships, they will happen.
If you could speak to all the single mothers around the world, what would you say to them about fathers?
I would say that sometimes, we as women, especially women of color, feel we can do it all, we are everything to everyone. But sometimes, I feel like if we can take a step back and think about the role these fathers have on their children, we’ll realize that we do need them. Of course we can do a lot, right now, not by choice, I am a single mother. Now I’m playing the role of mom and dad, however I understand that this does not take away from what his father can do because there are certain conversations I would never be able to have. There are some things that I would never be able to physically show my son just because I’m not a man. Sometimes, some of us single mothers get kind of big headed and want to be able to (say) ‘I did it on my own’ and some of us do a very good job. But I still think that does not take away from what a father brings to the situation, especially for our young men and boys. Even to our young girls, even to our young women. I grew up and I was very close to my father, he wasn’t in the house with us though. But there are so many things that my dad told me growing up that I still take heed to. It was something, conversations that my father needed to have with me. My father was a victim of addiction so that was the main reason he wasn’t in my household, but even with that addiction, there are so many that my father taught me that to this day are very important to me and resonate with me.
Is this the first movie you’ve produced?
What advise do you have for other women who want to expand their business empire?
I would say get out there and take risks. That was the biggest thing for me. I was at Violator Management when I graduated college and I was presented the opportunity to manage my own client and leave Violator at the time. When I was there, I was managing some of the top clients like 50, you name them and they were making noise in the industry, Violator had them. When I took that step out on faith, it was the best decision I ever made. That first month or so was hard and I was scared, but once you have no other choice but to win, you make it happen. And that’s what I did.
Was becoming involved with Love & Hip Hop a business decision?
Oh yeah. It was a branding move more than anything else. I wanted to be an entrepreneur and create opportunities for myself as well as other women. So I felt like what better way to make your brand larger and also to brand your brand. These reality shows are like commercials. They play seven days a week, three times a day. I’m getting a free commercial 21 times a week and getting paid from it.
Has Love & Hip Hop helped with brand you, despite the negativity and drama?
Yeah, absolutely. I think that you control your own destiny. A lot of people like to blame things on editing, which I won’t say they don’t edit things out. They absolutely do. But they can’t edit something you didn’t say. They can’t edit something you didn’t do. I think it’s very important to put forth in every situation, what you want to be seen. You know going into this they take bits and pieces of what you have going on. So in everything you do, try to put your best foot forward. And if you do that, you can only but help your brand. It’s really a big commercial for me and that’s what I use it for.
What’s life like with Mendeecees gone?
Mendeecees is still very very involved with me and the children and we’re still together. Right now he is awaiting a bail hearing, an arraignment hearing. He hasn’t gotten any further information yet about anything. So it’s just been a waiting process with that situation.
Can you speak to being there for your man while he’s incarcerated?
I just feel like when you love someone, you stick by their side no matter what they’re going through, when things are great. You’re there when things are not so great. You should be there for them if you love them. Even if I wanted to go somewhere else or move on, I do love him. So I’m going to support as much as I can and do my very best to get him home to his boys.
What new projects are you working on?
I just recently became a brand ambassador for Myx Fusions, which is Nicki Minaj and Mona Scott Young’s new Moscato. Sip Sexy. So I’m really excited about that. August 27th, we’re re-releasing “Life, Love, Soul” it’ll be in Wal Mart, as well as on all of the movie outlets like Netflix, and that kind of thing. Also, for “Love & Hip Hop” we start airing our fourth season on October 7th.