For all of the drama that Yandy Smith-Harris presently has on Season 10 of Love and Hip Hop New York, she seems very unbothered. When I sat down to chat with the 37-year-old TV personality and businesswoman, she’s not annoyed to have to talk about the co-stars she hasn’t been on good terms with, including former bestie Kimbella Vanderhee and longtime on-screen foe Chrissy Lampkin. She doesn’t mind speaking about her critics, who says she’s all bark in her confessionals but no bite in person. Since she helped to bring the show to fruition and joined it in 2011, it’s been par for the course of Yandy’s life. She can handle the heat from her co-stars and online detractors because off-screen, as she told me, she’s pretty at peace. Despite the incarceration of her husband, Mendeecees Harris, her family is good (he will be home soon by the way), her business moves are flourishing, and she’s finding great fulfillment in the community building and activism she does behind the scenes. We chatted with Yandy about all she happily has on her plate, bumping heads with Chrissy again, preparing for Mendeecees’s return, and why she’s completely over and done with trying to be a friend to Kimbella. Here’s what she had to say.
MadameNoire: How is Mendeecees doing and what is the status of his return home?
Yandy Smith-Harrs: Mendeecees is great! Mendeecees is wonderful. He is so ready to come home. We have been told a couple different times that it was time for him to come home, but officially, he will be here very soon. This time it’s for real.
Do you think before the end of 2020?
Oh, yes! Absolutely.
In the latest episode, you talked to your mother-in-law about being told that because he has been in prison, he may or may not be able to stay in the home with your daughter Infinity there, whom you adopted. Have you figured out how you’ll go about resolving that?
We have. It’s all figured out. There’s no law against it, he just needs a background check. As long as he doesn’t have any child abuse kind of issues then he’s fine, which he doesn’t. It’s fine. It’s worked out.
Have your kids been able to see their brothers — little Mendeecees and Aasim — and are things in a good place with the mothers of those boys now?
Yeah! So all of the holidays and birthdays they spend together. That’s how it’s supposed to be. These kids grew up together. Their father was adamant about them being raised together, so I think sometimes us women, we just get in our own way. I think that when the progress, development and love for your children are at the forefront of relationships, then you figure things out, and I think that’s exactly what we’ve been able to do.
That’s good. Maybe getting off of the show helped to —
Never should have come on the show. Sometimes I think people just feel like, it seems like especially with me because I have such a peaceful life, I have no drama, I really have no drama with friends, no drama with family, me and Mendeecees don’t have drama, that when people get on the show, for whatever reason it’s like, let’s turn up the heat! I’m like, we ain’t gotta turn up the heat! We don’t have to do it. So it’s always me like, no, we don’t have to do that! Stop. And I’m alone in that battle because people want to turn up the heat. I’m like, we ain’t had no problems before this show, so why now you want to act like we’ve got a problem? It’s ridiculous. And a lot of times, it comes off that way. It comes off as me looking confused like, word, we’ve got a problem? People be like, “You always seem confused.” Yeah! Because I be confused. Or sometimes, it’s instances where I didn’t even know the person and they get on the show and they have all this beef with me. I’m like, girl, I don’t even know you. Outside of that camera and that camera and that one, I’ve never seen you a day in my life. Why you got so much aggression? But that’s the thing. People think when they come on this show, they’ve got to turn up or show out for cameras. I’m just like, sis, you’ll be so much better being yourself. You don’t have to do all that, not for me. But I just act accordingly. If you hate me, hate me, hate me, I can’t just sit there but so much time acting like, you hate me? Really? You do? After a while it’s like, okay, we hate each other. Let’s move forward.
Speaking of people coming in and turning up, were you surprised that Chrissy was so hellbent on trying to stop your bag with her business partner, Greg?
I was so confused. I’m like, first of all, we grown grown. We not like 25 grown. We grown grown like, I have a whole family, I’m raising children, I’ve moved on, I’m eons replaced from where we were years ago. I’m just like, the truth of the matter is, if you look at the old seasons, her and I were good. We were great! She never had to wonder was I dealing with Jim. She never had to wonder if I was stealing money. She never had to worry about those things that managers go through with their clients that are real things. When I look back, the first issue was that I was defending Kim. At that time it was like, for her, hey, I’ve known you longer, you were closer to me than you were with this new person in the mix, how could you defend her? For me it was like, right is right and wrong is wrong. That stomp out should not have happened. I was on the side of what’s right. So that was our first issue. Then our next issue was me wanting her to apologize and me dancing to [Mama Jones’s] song, which you know, I dance to any and everything because I’m silly. At that time I was very, very close with the whole family. Mama Jones, that was like my mom. If I had an auntie, that would be my auntie. I was still close to Chrissy and I was still close to Jim. I didn’t know that that was a big deal, but it was not a big deal. There was no need for it to be a big deal. Even then she was like, you know, “You better watch how you do before I stop your bag with Jim.” And I was like, wait a minute, if you stop my bag with Jim, you’re going to be stopping his bag. I was his manager because I got him work, not because I was cute. He had me as his manager because I worked. I was helping to elevate him. I was just like, that makes no sense. So when my attitude was that, you stopping my bag is only going to stop his bag, it was like, “Who do you think you’re talking to?” I was like, uh…you. She had this mentality of, I was beneath her or I needed to bow down and show respect and I’m like, you walk in the door you’re going to get respect from me, but don’t disrespect me because of that.
It started from then, so when she did this recently, if you noticed, in the scene I’m like, “Did she ask him not to work with me?” And Jamila, who is my partner was like, “Yep.” I was like, oh yeah, this is the same ol’ Chrissy. It didn’t shock me because it was what she tried to do in the past. I don’t know if it’s how my relationship is set up with God, but it always catapults my career to something different. When I stopped working with Jim, at first I was like, oh my gosh because we were such a great team. But when I look back I’m like, I would never be where I am if I was still chasing that particular aspect of my career. Even now, I’m doing so much work with the city of Newark, with the mayor, the lots we have and what we’re building, it’s huge. I would never be able to focus on this if I was trying to work on a smaller level. So it’s always blessings when I shun away from something that she tells me “Uh uh, don’t.” So I really owe her a thank you. Thanks boo!
How did you feel then when people took offense to you saying her stopping your ability to feed your kids and not being bothered about it was because she doesn’t have kids?
It wasn’t something that I was trying to take a shot at, and I think most people understood that. Those people that are hypersensitive to that might not have. What I was saying was, okay, maybe you don’t understand. Me when I work, I’m not working for bags and shoes. I’m not working for the latest diamond chain. I’m working literally because Omere wants to take this basketball course, Sky wants this. I want to get the kids this tutor, I’m paying for private school. It’s nothing for me! Everything I do is so I can secure their future. When I said that to her, “All I want to do is take care of my children,” in essence, thank God for the other bags of money I have, but in essence, you’re still taking a bag away from my purpose, which is to feed my children. She don’t have to care about that, it’s not her business to care about how I’m feeding them, but I wanted to make sure she knew what she was doing. I could tell from her response that she didn’t get it. To say, “Well I feed adults,” you don’t get it. Adults is grown. They can take care of themselves. These are children. My children can’t work. If I can’t feed them, they can’t eat. So what I meant by that is, she might not understand that because like she said, she takes care of adults, she doesn’t have to take care of kids. Very different. Two totally different things. It wasn’t a jab at the fact that she doesn’t have children. Never, that’s not even my style to do that. It was definitely a she doesn’t get it, because if you got it, you wouldn’t respond like that. “I take care of grown folk.” What? If you’re grown you should be able to take care of yourself. That didn’t make no sense to me. So my green screen was reflective of what she said.
What do you think of people who say you’re a lot more confident or turned up when you do green screen than when you’re in the face of these people?
We do green screens after the scene so me going into the scenes, it’s always me wanting peace. I came into this season like, if she has to stay on her side and I stay on my side, great. But if our world’s collide, let’s be empowering. Let’s look at a way to empower people. Let’s show that we can come together and get this money together. I would never have a problem with breaking bread or sharing a bag. But by the end of the scene I’m like, dang, you still on this type of time? You still negative? You still, “Im a F you up!” In the midst of it, I’m trying to be cool like, is there a bridge that can be mended so that we can get past this and show two grown people can have had their differences but can come together? Even when I’m sitting down and I’m like, “Yo, listen, you doing that is not cool,” and you’re like, “It’s cool to me.” I’m like F it then. I can’t. There is no explaining to a person who has visors on like, this is the way I am and that’s it. So a lot of the time, by the time the scene is over, I’m just like, dag, you just don’t get it! You don’t get it. There’s still something in me that’s just like, maybe there’s a chance to just move past this. Maybe there’s a chance to mend this fence. Nope. It never works. You really just don’t want to see eye to eye. You want to hold on to this hatred and it’s for nothing because I didn’t do anything to you. So it’s that frustration by the time I get to the green screen and I’m thinking and I’m reflecting on what transpired in the scene, I’m like, yeah, this is my energy now because you already sealed the deal for me.
Hit the flip to see her thoughts on Kimbella’s behavior this season and more…