Why Is Angela Yee Forced To Bear The Sins Of The Breakfast Club?

·3 min read
Photo:  Paras Griffin (Getty Images)
Photo: Paras Griffin (Getty Images)

The cultural currency of The Breakfast Club is undeniable. Whether it was that infamously unhinged Ray J interview, Birdman demanding “respeck” or Soulja Boy flexing his comedic prowess when it came to addressing Drake, these antics will always be remembered as some of the most ridiculous moments in the history of Black radio.

So when one of the show’s hosts, Angela Yee, tweeted out that The Breakfast Club as we know it is “officially over,” Black Twitter was immediately sent into a frenzy. Because some speculated about the meaning of the message, Yee made it clear that she’s leaving the position (one that she’s had for over a decade) to launch her own show.

Read more

“Way Up with Angela Yee” will air sometime in the fall as a nationally syndicated daily program. Unfortunately, quite a few people took the announcement as an opportunity to disparage Yee’s contributions to The Breakfast Club.

Why is she the one constantly bearing the sins of that show?

Whether it was fans criticizing her “lack of personality” or calling her complicit when Charlamagne Tha God routinely disrespected Black women, Yee has somehow been blamed whenever the platform went terribly left. She is wholly aware of this fact (her Twitter bio reads: “I’d rather be hated than a hater”) but the visceral nature of the disdain lobbed at her is asinine.

Yee’s resume speaks for itself. While studying English and Photography in college, she worked both as RZA’s assistant and launched a freelance career as a writer. Yee then went on to work as a media and marketing consultant before linking up with Eminem’s Sirius XM station Shade 45. There, she hosted Lip Service (which is now a podcast) and The Morning After Show with Angela Yee.

Her interviews caught the attention of iHeartRadio in 2010, which then recruited her for The Breakfast Club. The show became nationally syndicated three years later, and was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2020. Yee is also the first person to serve as a New York Public Library Ambassador. Despite her credentials and impressive philanthropic work, people insist on downplaying her contributions to the radio world—especially when it comes to the representation of Black women.

During her time alongside Charlamagne and DJ Envy, Yee got roped—then scapegoated—into their lowly shenanigans. Somehow it was her fault that accused rapist Russell Simmons was a guest on the show, that she didn’t defend Black women like Lil Mama, Mo’Nique and Azealia Banks when Charlamagne maligned them, that she doesn’t have a “powerful” voice compared to her on-air counterparts.

As we all know, misogyny has been a staple in radio—especially urban radio—since its inception. As a woman, Yee has dealt with disrespect over the years by a number of guests on The Breakfast Show, ranging from Gucci Mane to Rick Ross to even her own co-host. Because she is a Black woman, the vitriol is that much more potent. This is not to say that Yee hasn’t participated in some of the drama, but the backlash she has received has been infuriating and disproportionate.

Hopefully her new endeavor will serve as a clean slate where she is actually appreciated and valued.