Headed by Christopher Young and Tay Smith two African-American men poised to step into Hollywood with their eyes wide open and their roster of talent bursting.
Hooray for Hollywood
That screwy ballyhooey Hollywood
Where any office boy or young mechanic
Can be a panic
With just a good looking pan
And any barmaid
Can be a star maid
If she dances with or without a fan
Hooray for Hollywood
Where you’re terrific if you’re even good
Lyricist Richard A. Whiting wrote the lyrics to the song Horray for Hollywood which, even after all these years, provides a glimpse into how it all works. Hollywood is run from the top-to-the-bottom by White men and has been since the first talent agency on record—started in
1898 by William Morris who was born Zelman Moses, a German-Jewish immigrant to the US.
The more things change the more things stay the same? According to the annual Annenberg Inclusion Initiative which is the leading think tank in the world studying diversity and inclusion in entertainment through original research and sponsored projects, the answer, each year, is yes.
But a new decade brings new hope that things can change, for the better, for Black and Brown talent trying to smash open Hollywood’s proverbial “closed gates.”
At the epicenter of the Hollywood money churning machine are talent agencies, the places that can make opportunities materialize like a Houdini magic trick.
According to a recent Goggle search, 150 talent agencies are operating in California with the top agencies being listed as William Morris Endeavor (WME), Creative Artists Agency (CAA), International Creative Management (ICM), United Talent Agency (UTA), Paradigm Talent Agency, The Gersh Agency, Agency for the Performing Arts (APA), Innovative Artists, Abrams Artists Agency, and Don Buchwald & Associates.
Stepping into Hollywood with an expansion of their Atlanta, GA talent boutique agency is BYBS run by Tay Smith and Christopher Young two African-American men fondly known in Atlanta’s circle as Smith & Young.
Their boutique firm—BYBS has caught the attention of the industry with their working roster including some of the hottest cutting-edge entertainers in the business.
BYBS’s roster includes producers, directors, actors, actresses and social media which includes notables such as veteran actor T.C. Carson (“Last Call”); daughter of Lil’ Wayne and Toya Wright, Reginae Carter (BET’s “Secrets of the Salon”); David Busby (BET’s “The Bobby Brown Story”); Amelia Young (Marvel’s “Venom”); twins Tristan Timmons and Tyler Timmons (“Black Panther”); child actor, Trayce Malachi (Fox’s “STAR”) and social media influencer/actor Desi Banks. Shows booked include “Atlanta,” “Black Lightening,” “Ozark,” “The Resident,” and “Homeland.”
For Christopher Young, a native of Trenton, NJ, he has two decades under his belt. He is credited with discovering and developing Grammy Award-winning artist, Johnta’ Austin as well as mega-producer Garrett Hamler, better known as Sean Garrett. Johnta’ Austin has written songs for Mariah Carey, Mary J Blige, and Aaliyah, while Garrett is famed for producing more than fifteen number-one singles in the first seven years of his start at producing music. Young has served as general manager for NBA star Tyrone Hill’s All Net Records and was a product manager and A&R executive at Pastor Creflo and Taffi Dollar’s Arrow Records. Young held his own as the head of his Tricycle Records label and his management firm, Triple Threat Management.
Tay Smith also has a background in music having founded and headed his own music production company, Yungsta Entertainment based in North Carolina. As a young teen, he ran a staff of producers, artists, and writers. Quickly gaining traction with lead recording artist T-LyriQ, Tay’s Yungsta Entertainment became the talk of the city, positioning him as the “P-Diddy” of his town. Upon taking a trip to uncover the booming music scene of Atlanta, Smith kept hearing about Young and his legend. Making it his goal to meet Young, he finally tracked him down and established a mentor/business advisor relationship. The business arrangement proved fruitful and lead to deeper inroads in the music world.
Here is what Tay Smith head of the theatrical division and co-owner of the boutique talent agency BYBS had to share about opening their Los Angeles office.
LOS ANGELES SENTINEL: Mr. Smith would you describe BYBS, which you run, with your partner Christopher Young, as a boutique talent agency?
TAY SMITH: Yes. BYBS is definitely a boutique agency. We opened the Atlanta office in 2017 and this year  the Los Angeles office.
LAS: Opening a new talent agency in Los Angeles is risky or is it brave?
TS: (laughing) It’s risky, brave and it’s necessary.
LAS: How did BYBS begin?
TS: I’ve known my partner Chris [Young] for fifteen years. We were both involved in the music business for years. We worked together there successfully and we took that positive experience and started managing actors and then from there we had the opportunity to get in together and work at a talent agency in the SE part of Atlanta. After three and a half years of training, we left that agency and formed our own — BYBS — and we’ve been booking talent ever since.
LAS: Is BYBS a black talent agency?
TS: (laughing). No. BYBS is a boutique talent agency looking to represent talented people who want to work in television, film and new media. Do we have a lot of working Black talent? Yes, yes we do. Do we want more gifted Black talent at BYBS, yes, of course, we do. Is BYBS run by two African-American men, yes. But we are not a Black talent agency. We are a boutique talent agency looking for gifted talent of all across the board.
LAS: Understood. You know that Hollywood is run by White males and it’s competitive, bloody and raw like gladiators in the ring. Let’s get it straight, Charles King is a unicorn in Hollywood.
TS: (laughing) … a unicorn….
LAS: Brother King made it happen but he was a unicorn. Much respect to Charles King but when he started—again—he was a unicorn.
TS: (laughing) I know. He paved the way for a lot of us and we really paid attention. We paid attention to what he was doing. We have not physically met him yet. We’ve spoken with Mr. King on the phone and had email correspondence with his company, Macro, for other reasons but have yet to physically meet him.
LAS: Charles King is amazing. I’ve known him for a long time. He was kind then and he’s kind now —and still a unicorn.
TS: Looking back at Mr. King’s history. What he did. When he did it and how he did it was very inspirational. My partner, Chris [Young] always makes the joke that Mr. King is a mentor from afar.
LAS: Describe what you are looking for at the Los Angeles BYBS offices?
TS: Talent. People who are passionate about their craft and willing to work smart and hard to make opportunities turn into work. As agents, we pride ourselves on staying innovative and fluid.
LAS: Why did you think now was the time for BYBS’s LA office?
TS: With the explosion of the internet and social media, change occurs daily and rapidly, so staying cutting edge with industry trends is crucial. Our clients are multidimensional with the talent they bring to our table and BYSB prides itself with being multifunctional at meeting their needs. In short: BYSB-LA is ready.
Check out BYSB Talent Agency at . Keep up with their talented roster bookings across social media at ( and on ( ).
Reach the individual agents: Christopher Young at on Instagram at and on Twitter at ; and Tay Smith on Instagram at @ and on Twitter at @.