Yandy Smith says she’s going to continue to “talk about it, scream about it, shout about it, show up and get involved”
Love & Hip Hop star Yandy Smith goes beyond being a powerful woman on-screen.
The 36-year-old took her strong voice off-screen to Saraland, Alabama, last weekend to protest the arrest of Chikesia Clemons, a black woman who was threatened and knocked down by three white male police officers in an Alabama Waffle House in April.
Smith was always taught to be proud of who she is and to stand up against violence from a young age, she tells PEOPLE. Today, she hopes to send the same message to her two children, Omere Harris, 5, and Skylar, 3.
“I want my children to understand that we can absolutely teach about the injustices, but to really be change agents against these injustices you have to get out there and move with the people,” Smith says.
When Smith saw the online video of Clemons, she was “mortified” but said that this was not the first time she’s seen violence like this. After hearing from longtime friend and activist Tamika D. Mallory about the protest in Alabama, Smith was eager to be a part of it.
“I’m out there. Just tell me when and where,” Smith says.
The protest in Saraland brought together over 200 people, mostly locals, to fight for Clemons’ civil rights, Mallory tells PEOPLE.
“It was a powerful moment walking arm-in-arm with so many people who want to see change and that want to stand up for Chikesia. …It felt good to be supported by everyone there that stood up for the cause,” Smith adds
Smith explains that when taking the Waffle House during the protest, she was confronted with aggression. Nonetheless, Smith took this opportunity to stand her ground.
“You’re not going to move me,” Smith said during the march. “You guys have to understand that I’m not going anywhere, nor are people that look like me. You can call us all the names you want, you can say what you want to say, but we’re going to continue to excel, to stand here, be in your face and we’re going to be doing amazing things.”
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Smith says she’s going to continue to “talk about it, scream about it, shout about it, show up and get involved” and she urges everybody else to do the same.
“Follow people that are actively in this state because they need our support, they need our help, and they need us out there on the front lines with them,” Smith says.