The “Brains” Behind Love and Hip Hop

Regardless if we love the show or not, we can’t deny the success of the Love and Hip Hop franchise. Love and Hip Hop is VH1’s highest rated reality tv show series. So how did it all begin? Can we really learn something about success from listening to the “brains” behind what some call “ratchet” television?


Michellene Barrett (Left) Yandy Smith (right)

I had the opportunity to meet Yandy Smith who is currently a part of the Love and HipHop NY cast. In past seasons of Love and Hip Hop, Yandy was always portrayed as a hard-working businesswoman who managed major artists in Hip Hop such as Jim Jones. At this Black women At Work event hosted by the #SheWokeCommittee at St. Francis College, I was surprised to learn about the significant role Yandy Smith played in launching Love and Hip Hop.

Yandy Smith’s journey to success was filled with No’s, disappointments and failures like so many of us. Yandy shared how she really wanted to work at Violater Management after graduating from Howard University with a business management degree. At the time Hip Hop artists such as Busta Rhymes, 50 Cent, Missy Elliot, LlCoolJ and Sean Combs were signed to Violater Management. Day after day, Yandy would go to the Violater Management office in Manhattan asking for a job and every day she would be turned away. She heard the word NO over and over again but that did not stop her from¬†going back to the office every day. Finally, one day the co-founder of Violater Management, Mona Scott-Young saw Yandy and asked her what she wanted. When she told her she wanted a job, Mona offered her an internship which consisted of mostly serving coffee and drinks. Yandy was eager to accept the job and saw it as an opportunity to enter the music business. Eventually Yandy worked her way up to becoming the executive assistant to Mona. Working closely with Mona, Yandy was able to develop a better understanding of management and soon began to manage the artist Jim Jones. She later left Violater Management and joined Warner Music Group/Atlantic Records as a consultant.


Mona Scott-Young

Things were going well for Yandy. She was living her dream of managing a major Hip Hop artist. She even orchestrated a reality show deal with Vh1. The reality show would feature her artist Jim Jones and it would be titled, “Keeping Up With The Joneses.” Once the taping of the reality show started, her artist decided that it would be too much for him to have cameras filming him 24 hours a day. Yandy was very disappointed because she was going to lose a lot of money from this failure. Yandy Smith still had a close relationship with Mona Scott so she called her and told her about the dilemma. Mona Scott was actually trying to pitch a reality show idea to WeTv and they were not interested. So Yandy Smith and Mona Scott decided to collaborate and create the reality tv show Love and Hip Hop with Vh1.

Words of Wisdom from Yandy Smith on Success:

“My failure led to my greatest success.”

“Build relationships with people who are smarter than you.”

“Offer your product for free.” (When you start a business to get exposure)

Do you agree with Yandy Smith’s quotes on success? Would you do whatever it takes to get your dream job like Yandy?

Blog post written by Michellene Barrett Some Rights Reserved.


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