Exploring Johannesburg

Posted by Yvette Gayle on

It's that time of year again where we pack up the kids and head to a new destination. This year we are spending 2 weeks in Johannesburg South Africa. And while we have passed through the city in the past, this trip will be about exploring the city in it's entirety. So look out Johannesburg - The Gayle's are on their way!




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Think Globally

Posted by Yvette Gayle on


“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” Nelson Mandela

When I was growing up, my mom loved to play the radio and my father loved to dance. Being the youngest of three and the only girl, I often had the privilege of riding my dad’s toes while he glided across the dance floor. In high school, my intro to hip-hop came via my two older brothers. It was Doug E. Fresh & The Get Fresh Crew’s “The Show” that had me meticulously writing down all the rhymes in order to rap them in the mirror. Even though mainstream media (which I knew nothing about at the time) thought the tune was comedic, it was the dopest thing I had ever heard.

In college I studied political science with the intent of becoming a judge, but it was a summer internship at Sony Music that changed the trajectory of my journey. I was fortunate enough to join the Columbia Records publicity department upon graduation. As an assistant, I cut my teeth on classic albums like Illmatic by Nas (1994), and The Score by The Fugees (1996) and worked with diverse artists in the R&B and jazz genres.

My first international breath was taken when I travelled with The Fugees to Haiti to put on a humanitarian concert, and shoot the cover of The Source Magazine (1996). It was here that I first grasped the concept that music is universal. It crosses borders, political divisions and can unite people across different continents. While in Port-au-Prince, Wyclef and I visited an orphanage where he played the guitar and the children were captivated by the music. This is where my heart first became committed to adoption. In 2011 my husband and I adopted our daughter Sitota from Ethiopia. She and my son Mekhi inspired me to launch my home fragrance company, The Sitota Collection, where my candle fragrances are reminiscent of my global travels. Retail in the States was harder for me to crack as a budding entrepreneur, however I was able to solidify my brand early on with retail in Nigeria.

During our travels to Africa in the early 2000s, my husband and I realized that there was a distinct business opportunity on the Continent. Interest was high and access to North American content was low. We set out to bridge that gap and make connections across the diaspora. We created a television series, “O Access,” that aired on DSTV for five years and became the number one entertainment show in South Africa. We curated shows that highlighted the biggest and the brightest artists in our culture. We brought festivals like T.D. Jakes’ Mega Festival to South Africa, curated music documentaries with MTV and VEVO, launched products and signed artists to major labels.

At Africa Creative Agency, we urge the industry to not look at Africa as a continent that is simply in need but as a continent that can bring you greater exposure and incredible returns on your investment. By all means I still believe humanitarian efforts are very important. In 2012, I was working with 50 Cent when he partnered with the United Nations World Food Program and donated sales from his Street King Energy drink to feed hungry children. We also helped to build a school in the Democratic Republic of Congo and many of those children have gone on to go to universities in North America. I’m super proud of that initiative. But Africa is also the continent where we can expand our brands and do profitable business. The times are certainly changing and over the past five years we’ve seen more and more success stories in Africa. We try to connect individuals to collaborate, partner and expand their business. Whether it was bringing NE-YO to Kenya to connect on a partnership with Coke Studios or consulting Time Warner Inc. and Essence magazine to bring the Essence Music Festival to Durban, South Africa, we encourage the industry to look beyond our borders and not only “Think Globally,” but specifically “Think Africa.”

I realize that this is a work in progress. There are a lot of people who still view Africa as a poor, starving Third World country and that is largely because of the media’s images and how the continent is portrayed. Some feel the media should take the lead in changing this perception but I feel that it’s our responsibility to change our own thinking.

In March of this year Kevin Hart brought his “What Now” tour to South Africa and made history by having the largest comedy show turn out in the country. He was totally surprised by the reception he received. “I travel the world and I tell jokes and I’ve gotten to the point where I feel that anyone anywhere can appreciate my style of comedy,“ he said, “but today [in South Africa] blew me away.” More than ever, the time is now to expand our thinking, expand our brands and take advantage of the global opportunities that will help our culture grow, prosper and remain rich.

It’s time to play big. Think Globally; Think Africa.

Yvette Davis Gayle is a veteran entertainment publicist and currently serves as Vice President of Publicity at Interscope Geffen A&M Records. She is also Executive Vice President of Communications for Africa Creative Agency and founder of The Sitota Collection. She’s a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children. Gayle’s essay, “Think Globally,” is part of the Living Legends Foundation’s series on “The State of Black Music and Beyond.”


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Posted by Yvette Gayle on

 Do you realize that washing your face is one of the most important rituals you can have? I know I’m all too guilty to arrive home late in the evening and not successfully remove all of my makeup. As much as we try to minimize the oil we put on our face, you may be surprised to hear about the OIL CLEANSING METHOD. Oil actually helps to lubricate, heal, moisturize and protect your skin. Contrary to popular belief oil does not cause acne. Bacteria, dirt and hormones are the main culprits.

Many times we splurge on all these expensive facial products that strip the oil from our skin, thinking we are doing the right thing. This often times causes our body to produce more oil. And this over production causes our pores to get clogged and trapped with dirt and bacteria. 

So here is some information that I have learned about this particular skin care and cleansing method. The basic concept is that the oil used to massage your skin will dissolve the oil that had hardened with impurities and are now trapped in your pores. The steam will open your pores and allow the oil to be easily removed.

Oils like Castor, Jojoba, Grapeseed, Evening Prim-Rose and Avocado Oil have so many wonderful benefits for your skin. 

I must admit that I am intrigued by all the research I’ve been doing about skin care these days and  I have to say I’m truly excited about all that I’m learning. 

Here’s to sharing more after I complete my skin care course. 

Now go treat the skin you’re in!


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Posted by Yvette Gayle on

Keep Calm And Light A Candle: Our Favorite New Home Essential



Take a trip with us. It’s not going to take long and you won’t have to spend more than $50. Our new obsession has motivated the explorer in us.

Los Angeles-based candle company, The Sitota Collection is a perfect blend of luxury and affordability offering four signature scents inspired by places throughout the world. “My world is a global landscape,” said Yvette Davis Gayle, founder of the company.

As a music executive who help launch the careers of Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent and Keri Hilson, this endeavor is one filled with passion. “I create luxury products to recall my most precious memories. My luxurious candle fragrances highlight my very personal experiences, including a remarkable journey that led me to my daughter Sitota.”

The company is named after her adopted daughter Sitota, meaning “gift” in Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia. What make the candles the perfect gift is the extreme detail put into each one. Made from recyclable glass, soy wax and lead-free wicks, the hand-poured candles are infused with essential oils and premium fragrances.

Our favorite scent is “Havana” that blends tobacco, leather, amber and musk. But you may fancy “Coco Noir,” “Blue Nile,” or “Aigyptos.

Shop the complete collection (and fall in love) by going here.

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Traveling With Kids This Summer

Posted by Yvette Gayle on


School is out this week for some and it's a time when families head out for their summer vacations. Airports are filled with tiny passengers excited to be on the go. While their excitement grows, often parents anxiety increases especially if their children are new to flying. 

At age 3 my son received his first flying wings from American Airlines. I remember being a nervous first time mom flying with an infant for the first time. Previously I had just been a professional woman who flew several times a month for work. I have to admit. I would breathe heavily when I was seated near children hoping that my quiet plane trip wouldn’t be disturbed.

Today, 10 years later I am a seasoned mom (and business women) who travels with her family often.


Here are some tips for your little frequent flyers.

  1.  Print your boarding passes at home. Skip the electronic mobile boarding  passes as you may not have your hands free at boarding time
  2.  Take advantage of pre-boarding that's available for families with small  children 
  3.  Explain the security obstacle course to your kids ahead of time. 
  4.  Fill their tummies before the trip. Hungry children make cranky passengers.
  5.  I am a proponent of limiting screen time, however when flying long distance I pack the iPad, iPod, and DVD player to have a plethora of movies, games and music to entertain my little ones.
  6.  After years of traveling I have learned to pack extra clothes to carry on board.  Spills are inevitable so be prepared and expect it.
  7.  Healthy snacks and chocolate make my kids smile. They like to have munchies available for whenever they want a snack.
  8. If your little ones have trouble with the altitude decline, carry gum or gummies and that will help.
  9.  Although they may run you back and forth to the bathroom, keep them hydrated and they will feel the effects of jet lag a little less.
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