Yandy Smith-Harris discusses activism, the election and her career

Yandy Smith-Harris discusses using her platform to empower social justice causes and more in conversation with Marc Lamont Hill.

Love and Hip Hop Star Yandy Smith-Harris sat down with theGrio host Marc Lamont Hill to discuss entrepreneurship and activism and using her platform to demand justice for Breonna Taylor.

Read More: Yandy Smith-Harris talks voting, activism on Students for Biden’s ‘On The Yard’ series

As summer protests continued, the popular reality TV star made news for not only protesting but going to jail while in the act. Alongside Real Housewives Of Atlanta star Porsha Williams and other demonstrators, Smith-Harris was arrested this summer for marching in Lousiville, Kentucky. As theGrio reported, Smith was horrified by the terrible conditions she and protesters endured while in custody.

“The bathroom is just completely disgusting, like feces on the toilet. Feces on the floor. You would think there was a puddle of water, but it was urine,” she said after being released.

During the Instagram Live conversation with Hill, the 40-year-old said the decision to not charge officers in Taylor’s violent death was “an egregious miscarriage of justice.” She also said Taylor’s mom stood with them during every protest.

It was disgraceful, to say the least, to be a Black woman and to realize that they felt like the wall was more important than her life,” Smith-Harris said. “It was the worst news that we could have heard. We put our bodies on the line. Every time we were out there protesting, every time we got locked up, her mom was there waiting for us. Her mom was on the front lines with us.”

Although Smith-Harris has made recent headlines connected to her fight for justice for Breonna Taylor, the entrepreneur detailed her beginnings with activism and protesting and finding purpose in social justice causes, dating back to the Trayvon Martin murder trial.

“At the time, my husband’s son, little Mendeecees, he loved wearing hoodies. That was his most favorite thing to wear. All I could think about is what if that were you. You had a hoodie on and some Skittles and you were going to the store for myself or your dad, and this was the outcome. I looked in his mom’s eyes and I felt like I can’t just sit by and this is OK. At the time I was on the show, and I thought I’ve never really felt like my place on TV was to be a superstar. I never felt famous. It hit me like, this is what I’m so I’m supposed to do – amplify the voices of these mothers. I’m supposed to amplify the voices of these marginalized communities. That’s why I’m here.”

On the 2020 presidential election where Democratic nominee vice president Joe Biden hopes to defeat current POTUS Donald Trump, Smith-Harris told Hill she’s hopeful for high voter turnout and favorable results this November.

Global Citizen Week: At What Cost?
Yandy Smith speaks onstage Global Citizen Week: At What Cost? at The Apollo Theater on September 23, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Global Citizen)

“I’m optimistic because that’s the only way I can be. I can’t sit here and feel doomed or like doomsday is coming because that will have me in a very depressed state. I feel like Black, white, young, old, understand that we need something different. If you haven’t been hit with the racial inequalities, you’ve been hit somewhere, somehow by this pandemic,” Smith-Harris said. “I think we’re going to see tremendous voter turnout more than ever.”

The conversation continued as Smith-Harris opened up about being featured on TV One’s Uncensored, an interview series that goes behind the scenes on celebrity life.

“I’ve done Uncensored for other people, and when they called me, [this time] they wanted me. I was like, okay, cool, who am I interviewing for today? They said me. I was in shock because it always has the A-list stars and celebrities. I was like, you want little me? I was truly humbled.”

Smith also discussed starting out in the music industry and her experience working with artists beyond the music.

“I never thought my life was that interesting. But it was fun to talk about my time, you know, starting with Missy Elliott and working with 50 [Cent] and Busta [Rhymes] and working in the industry for almost fifteen years now. It was great. Then transitioning from music to TV and talking about that and the people that have influenced my life and my career. It was great.”

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