Director Yolande Geralds Discusses Trey Songz Video Collaborations
Women are often belittled for playing scantily clad darlings in music videos — gyrating against vehicles and sitting amongst piles of money. Put a woman behind the camera and the scene plays out rather differently. Director Yolande Geralds draws a definitive line between classy and trashy, namely in the handful of videos she’s directed for R&B crooner Trey Songz.
Yolande, who formed the video production company Frame By Frame Inc., in 2008, alongside business partner Shanta Conic, created the visuals for five songs off Trey’s third studio album, ‘Ready‘ — ‘One Love,’ ‘Yo Side of the Bed,’ ‘Say Aah,’ ‘Neighbors Know My Name’ and ‘I Invented Sex.’ Some of the works have yet to hit television screens, but the latter did, causing quite a stir for its tasteful yet overtly sexual content.
“Compared to the other videos, ‘I Invented Sex’ was more about [Trey’s] body,” Yolande tells The BoomBox. The Louisiana native, a former Vice President of video production at Atlantic Records, zeroed in on the video’s provocative bedroom scene as a way of catering to the singer’s fan base. “We know what the viewers want to see and we know who his fans are,” she continues, “And we also know he’s a charismatic ladies man. That’s why when it came to [using] ice, it was more about, ‘What would people do at home?’ or ‘What would they like to see?’ In doing that, it was like, ‘Ok, this could get steamy.’ Everything is done very methodically.”
While fans are still enthralled with the black and white images of that artwork, Yolande has been busily prepping the release of Trey’s latest video, ‘Neighbors Know My Name’ — a “portraity piece” that she reveals will highlight even more skin. Shot earlier this month in a downtown Los Angeles loft, the clip features Trey Songz showing his leading lady — played by Sports Illustrated model Jessica White — what life is like being with a celebrated singer. Photos from the set have already hit the Internet, raising questions of who will make the video’s final cut. Teairra Mari, Young Money’s Shanell and former Danity Kane member D. Woods were among those behind the scenes.
The director won’t reveal the cameos or exact details of the shoot, but she guarantees that viewers are in for a surprise. Where ice was a big factor in ‘I Invented Sex,’ the object in the spotlight here is part of the food pyramid. ‘It’s definitely in beverage form and it’s not alcohol,” says Yolande. “The women who have been in this position will be like, ‘Yeah I understand it,’ or we’re going to have a lot of men going out and trying this.’
During the 12 hours it took to film the song’s visuals, an unlikely guest was present to watch Trey’s every interaction. “His mom was on set,” Yolande admits. “I think that is one of the reasons why he is so charismatic and why he’s liked by so many women, because of his mom. She’s a very intricate part of his career and of who he is as a man.”
Currently, Yolande is editing the ‘Neighbors Know My Name’ video, set for release in the coming weeks. Since launching Frame By Frame Inc. less than two years ago, she and Shanta Conic have scored more than 40 videos and received a straight-to-DVD movie deal, which is of the family film variety. While her work as of late has been more of the PG-13 kind, Yolande is confident in her versatility. “I’m going to give [a client] exactly what [they] want and what [they] need,” she discloses. “But I’m going to put a different spin on it so it doesn’t necessarily come across like everything else.”