Yvette Noel-Schure, the legendary publicist, is President of Schure Media LLC, her publicity firm located in New York. Before venturing out on her own she was Vice President of Media at Columbia Records/Sony Music. When she began her career as a journalist, she was offered a job at Black Beat magazine where she learned to interview the likes of LL Cool J. Later she moved to Sony as a young publicist, where she met Destiny’s Child comprised of Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland, and Michelle Williams. Yvette and Beyoncé have become great friends and the rest is history.
Equally at home in the islands or New York City, the vivacious and hard working sat down with POSH at Scrub Island. We talked about all sorts of things from continuing the Power Brunch begun by POSH, makeup, perfumes, and even Yvette’s experience with a psychic medium that a friend arranged for her birthday. Relatives came through the medium, particularly her grandmother who strongly suggested that Yvette not eat cheese since it would not be good for her stomach; cheese was the most favorite thing for her to eat… she hasn’t eaten cheese in a year! We discussed Beyoncé’s Formation World Tour, the mesmerizing light show that ranks up there with Prince and Michael Jackson, followed by a series of questions that POSH asked her:
Q: What would you say you value the most from your Caribbean upbringing?
A: There are so many things that I value about my Caribbean upbringing but I would have to say three are lasting and I learned them all from my family, especially my grandparents. They stressed about working hard but also about working smart; knowing how to ask the right questions and counting on others to help in true team spirit based on our community spirit on the islands. I also learned to be kind to others everyday and all day, and the one that is the most important to me is to be honest at every juncture – stand by the truth and do everything from an honest place. Honesty and integrity are the basis of everything I do, coupled with patience, persistence and more patience.
Q: How often do you go home to Grenada and when you go what are some of the must dos for you?
A: I go to Grenada as often as possible, sometime two to three times a year and usually I don’t tell my family. I love just showing up on the island and shouting from the yard, “What you have on the fire for me and where’s the mango?” Now that JetBlue has direct flights from JFK to Point Salines, it becomes so easy. As soon as I get to Grenada, I have to go to Grand Anse Beach. There is no other beach in the world like it and the amazing thing is that it is hardly ever crowded. I must go to St. Matthew’s Catholic Church in Birch Grove, where I grew up, and I absolutely cannot get home without a visit to the market in Grenville in St. Andrews. We call it La-bay and it is where I learned about people, about free enterprise, about the importance of eating natural foods and about the pride and prudent nature of Grenadian women. “Be circumspect with yourself.” I still hear those voices in my ears. You try so hard not to shame your people, when you hear that warning in your ears.
Q: What does country pride mean to you?
A: Country pride means that you are proud of your heritage. That the things your learned not only stay with you but they manage to serve you correctly. That your heart skips a beat when you see your flag, hear your music play or eat food, you know was cooked with love and devotion. I am Grenadian first and foremost and everyday I live I want everyone to know it.
Q: I know your mom is extremely dear to you. What would you say is one of the greatest lessons she ever taught you that you apply to this day?
A: When I lost my mommy in May of 2016, part of me went with her. I was broken in many pieces. I remember just rolling up into a ball and inserting myself into a corner of my sofa for 24 hours. My eyes were puffy and red when I finally uncurled my body, stood up straight and decided to be her daughter again. My mother taught me strength and resilience and most of all she taught me to love. I had to get up and start loving my family and loving myself again so I could live and be her legacy.
Q: What led you to a career in media and PR?
A: As a little girl, I was fascinated by words. I would write on everything I could find and always made lists. I also loved talking to people and asking lots of questions. The best of it all though, was that I loved reading the scripture out loud in church. Almost every Sunday it was my job to read during second mass. That made me curious about words that people read everyday in the newspapers and so I started delivering the Express Newspaper, which was actually printed in Trinidad. On my paper run I would take a red pen and edit the paper, fixing punctuation and grammar, before delivering the papers to the neighbors. When I arrived in New York as a 14-year-old, I knew I wanted to be a journalist and I studied journalism in college with a minor in public relations. But the hard news world of journalism was not for me and I quickly switched to music journalism. It was during this time, I was offered the position of publicist at Columbia Records. All I requested was a Mariah Carey album and the head of the media department said I had tons of passion and offered me the job. Thank God I at least took some classes in public relations at City College, but it was a learning curve I was not prepared for. It took me a minute to get my footing but I ended up spending seventeen years at Columbia Records, working with some of the most amazing and successful artists, including Destiny’s Child and John Legend. No one could have told me this is what I would end of doing as a career and I love every second of it, even the most challenging times have truly been the best lessons.
Q: What does a typical day in your office entail?
A: There are no typical days. Not one resembles another and I am grateful for that. I have never said I’m bored with my job. I have literally been on two coasts in one day and travelled between three countries in Europe in one day. This is primarily about music but I get to handle press for events as small as a listening party for ten people or as huge as a festival or world tour. And now, more than ever I am involved with some incredible philanthropic initiatives that will change people’s lives in Haiti, Brazil and parts of Africa. These are projects that speak to my heart and encourage love and kindness. Everything my grandparents and parents taught me on that little Spice Island such a long time ago, has come to fruition. I am so grateful for this crazy career that keeps me hopping, hopeful and happy.
Q: What do you love most about what you do?
A: The best part of the job is that I get to play a small part in making people happy. What I do brings joy to others. It gives them correct information on art and culture they love and it engages them in a beautiful escape that speaks to their creativity and sense of adventure. And what I don’t take for granted is that I get to help artists be the biggest dreamers. They are the change agents and to sit among them is quite the ride.
Q: Given where you are in your career – what would you say to a young Caribbean woman now trying to make it in her career?
A: Here is what I have to say: It is all possible with hard work, smart work, dedication and passion. You can dream a bigger dream. The possibilities are as wide as your see it, as big as you hope and as real as you make it.
It is no wonder that this intriguing woman can be held up to all of us as a force for good. She is encouraging, brave, and is a real asset to all women trying to achieve their dreams. She has dreamed big and we at POSH applaud her success.
credits: Photography by Ricki Richardson @rickirichardsonphotography