When “Love & Hip Hop New York” star Yandy Smith decided to take in a young girl in need of a home she not only became responsible for her physical well-being, she became responsible for shaping her sense of identity and building her confidence as well. Fortunately, she already had plenty of practice. She sat down with Madame Noire to talk natural hair, body image, and making sure each of her, now three, children are flexin’ in their complexion.
“We live in neighborhood that is predominantly Asian so my son is the only little brown boy in his class and so is my daughter. So I am constantly reinforcing how amazing their curls are, how amazing their texture, and their skin complexions are” says Smith.
While she makes sure to affirm the value of her children’s physical beauty inside her home she can’t control every influence they’re exposed to including children ignorant to the realities of their natural curls.
“My son he came home and he said ‘Mommy they were telling me that my hair smells funny in school’, and I’m like ‘Honey that is the most natural beautiful scent from God that we put in your hair and it’s called hair grease. You gon’ love it and they’re gonna love it cause we gon’ put more on so they can get used to that smell.”
She’s often seen on Instagram washing her children’s hair and testing out new products on them while cooing to them about how adorable they are. She’s careful not to share the brands she’s using on them with her audience until they have been properly vetted to make sure that she’s only recommending what she would use on her children again to other parents. She says “I cannot promote anything that I cannot stand behind.”
Something else she is promoting is inner beauty. The Yelle skincare founder been hosting her EGL P.U.D. (Partners Uplifting our Daughters) events for quite a while but taking on the task of rasing a teengager has added a fervor to her efforts. “I was having a conversation with Infinity the other night and she was telling me how there are kids in her high school that are going to get surgery or take these pills to get a bigger booty or bigger breasts and I’m like ‘Oh my gosh these girls! We really, really need to help them understand self care and that beauty is on the inside and I think that’s a longer process than just a one day workshop.”
Her children have gravitated to the inner beauty of her family’s latest addition.“I havent had to tell them anything since she walked in the door, they have fallen in love with her. They love her spirit! They love that she hangs out with them and she takes the time to care for them, so they’re already like ‘Mommy can she be our auntie? Mommy can she stay forever?”
She continued saying that young women were beautiful, “no matter what their shape is, no matter what you know their hair looks like, no matter what their skin complexion is like, pimples or no pimples, rashes, eczema, whatever beauty really starts on the inside.”