Exclusive: Angela Yee Talks Succeeding In Entrepreneurship, Her Ongoing Partnership With #CÎROCStands And More!
What do you do when you’ve achieved your wildest dreams and beyond? Well, you keep raising the bar – just ask radio personality, entrepreneur, and television host Angela Yee!
Yee began her career interning for MTV, TVT Records, and Wu-Tang Management. And moved into the world of internet start-ups when she realized her knack for marketing. Yee eventually acquired a position at SiriusXM Satellite Radio. And after a chance audition, landed herself a spot on the airwaves. After years of building a rapport with her listeners, Yee was offered an on-air position at – what at the time was – the “underdog station” in radio’s number one market: New York City’s Power 105.1.
Since joining her co-hosts Charlemagne Tha God and DJ Envy on ‘The Breakfast Club’ twelve years ago, the trio have broken barriers solidifying the show in over 100 markets. And even reaching a listenership of eight million per month. In 2020, the trio were nominated for an NAACP Image Award in the category of Outstanding News/Information (Series or Special). And in August of 2020, the group was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame as the “most-listened-to Hip-Hop and R&B morning show in America.”
But even with such success in the radio world, Yee proves to also have other dreams to check off her to-do list. The 46-year old is the co-founder of Drink Fresh Juice, operates three brick-and-mortar businesses (Coffee Uplifts People, Juices For Life BK, and Private Label). And also avidly invests in real estate.
21Ninety sat down for an exclusive interview with Angela Yee who revealed her next business venture, how initiatives like #CÎROCStands has empowered her to go further in her journey as an entrepreneur. As well as what else is in store for her as she embarks on this new journey with ‘Way Up With Angela.’
Jadriena Solomon: To start, please tell us about your ongoing partnership with #CÎROCStands and why was it so important for you to consistently lend your voice to this initiative over the years?
Angela Yee: The CÎROC team is like family – this is the third iteration that I am partnering with Sean “Diddy” Combs and the CÎROC team on. I’m excited to be back with them and lend my voice to support their initiatives and celebrate the Black owned businesses that are blazing their own trails. This year I’m hosting the #CÎROCStands for Black Businesses panel discussion at the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival as we celebrate the rich roots of excellence that run deep in the community’s culture and amplify the stories of success and joy that thrive there. We have an amazing panel of entrepreneurs including actress Regina Hall that I hope guests feel inspired by in the end.
JS: #CÎROCStands strives to “celebrate the powerful voices and people within the Black community that are depicting excellence and igniting change.” As an entrepreneur yourself, why is it so important to have initiatives like this?
AY: It’s very important for entrepreneurs to have the opportunity to share their stories and learn from others in the game. I appreciate initiatives like #CÎROCStands that continue to honor their commitment to celebrate Black excellence year round and provide a platform for their voices to be heard.
JS: Why do you feel it’s also important to highlight entrepreneurs and show them that their efforts and strides are recognized and commended?
AY: Being an entrepreneur can be lonely and you can feel discouraged with all the ups and downs that happen as you strive toward building a successful business. Sometimes the support that helps push you and your business is recognition, which can lead to more exposure. I always take it as a sign that I must be doing something right whenever my business gets commended.
JS: You’re someone who has always been extremely transparent in your journey of entrepreneurship, business, and investments. Since dealing with the pandemic in 2020 to now with rising inflation, what advice or tips have you learned that helped you sustain yourself financially and push forward successfully with your businesses?
AY: Team meetings are important, ideas are important, and even consulting with someone who has knowledge but is not involved with your business can give you a different lens and boost your creativity. We should always be thinking about ways to expand and evolve and rarely does that happen when we isolate ourselves. I’m a huge fan of collaborations.
Also, go through your network and see how you can work with other businesses in a way that is mutually beneficial. And lastly, always make sure you are looking for grants, fundraising opportunities, or other ways to raise capital because the dollars are out there for the taking. You just have to find it.
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JS: Angela Yee Day is coming up on August 27th. The day is a commemoration of your Caribbean roots, as well as an ode to the neighborhood of East Flatbush where you grew up. What do you find yourself most excited about as you wait each year for this day to approach or is it still a very surreal feeling?
AY: I love seeing everyone come out with their families, and the excitement for the performances and free activities. This year we are also collaborating with The Social Justice Fund for their #YouBelongHere campaign and they are donating to community organizations throughout Brooklyn. The excitement [for the event] really does come from the Caribbean artists as well – I love dancehall and soca!
JS: You’re also launching StellarFi this year which strives to help consumers build their credit with every bill that they pay. Can you tell us more about the program and what inspired its creation?
AY: StellarFi is a platform that really empowers people by improving their credit score dramatically by doing what you already do: paying bills. It helps you pay your bills on time and things like your rent, streaming services, gym membership, etc. – which normally don’t get reported to the three main credit bureaus – will get reported.
I struggled with bad credit for over a decade and I know how it can cause you to feel hopeless about being able to one day own a home or even rent an apartment without a cosigner. And one of my favorite parts is that once you join you also get free one-on-one credit counseling from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.
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JS: Lastly, what upcoming projects should we also be on the lookout for from you this year?
AY: I just announced my new syndicated daily show ‘Way Up with Angela Yee’ so that will be my main focus. I’m purchasing more real estate and pushing my philanthropic efforts even more now that I have my own platform. I’ll also be expanding my coffee company, Coffee Uplifts People. As well as my pressed juices, Drink Fresh Juice. And [working on] some more live shows for my podcast ‘Lip Service.’