The Breakfast Club is one of the most influential platforms in the hip-hop culture thanks to the three hosts DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Charlemagne Tha God.
The platform has also been home to some of the most memorable moments in Hip-Hop history, whether it’s the Birdman moment (“put some respeck on my name”), Dame Dash discussing the importance of being your own boss, or the show acting as an outlet for promoting releases like Tiffany Haddish‘s The Last Black Unicorn.’ Other moments include interviews with Minister Farrakhan, the late Dick Gregory, and the list goes on.
We here at RESPECT. decided to flip the script and sit down with Angela Yee to discuss some of her passions. For example, she is an avid reader and has a book club: her book recommendations can be found here. She has an ownership stake in the juice bar entitled Juices For Life in the heart of Brooklyn, New York, and Yee is the creator of the popular Lip Service podcast.
Finally, she drops some knowledge about what it takes to be successful at anything you want to do.
“One of the keys to success is to listen more than you talk.”
RESPECT.: You are a co-owner of a juice bar called “Juices For Life” with Styles P and your Breakfast Club co-host DJ Envy. Can you tell us how the concept of the restaurant presented itself and why as a collective it was essential to promote a healthy lifestyle in the entertainment business?
I am always trying to come up with different ways to be healthier; we see things around us, it is a priority of ours. If it is not a priority, it should be, and it is interesting because for some like myself who have been doing morning radio for thirteen years. When I was at Sirius XM my mornings started at 8 am which was not as bad, but now I must be to work at 5 am. So, part of me being able to maintain myself is to make sure I eat correctly and full disclosure I never get enough sleep. I do not want to be that person that is rundown, unhealthy, and something happens to me because I was not taking care of myself. So, every morning I make sure I have enough energy to last throughout the day, I do not drink coffee, I am not a breakfast person, and I cannot eat very much because I become tired. We have to be up early for work, and Envy would enjoy donuts, sodas, and I was watching all of these events happening. I remember when we first started the show at one-point Charlemagne passed out on the floor and had to be hospitalized.
There is just a variety of things that can happen if you are not taking care of yourself. That is when I decided that I would start juicing, at first, I was not very educated on the subject, and I would go to juice bars to find more information. A lot of these places serve products that are not fresh, add sugars, and other ingredients that you are not aware of as customers. Style P and Jadakiss were doing ‘Juices For Life,’ and I was impressed by it. I have been studying it for awhile, and I confided in DJ Killa Touch who is Jadakiss’s DJ. I wanted to set up a meeting to talk with Styles about starting a juice bar, and DJ Killa Touch set up the meeting. When Styles and I finally spoke on the phone, he made it clear that he did not want just to open a juice bar because he has been approached on several other occasions. He wants to educate people on being healthier, and we are not doing it for money. We genuinely care about people more than anything else. I thought it would be a great idea to open the juice bar in Brooklyn and Bed Stuy New York.
I want people to know it is cool to be healthy and just because something is great for you does not mean it taste bad. Also, I want people to know just because you want to be healthy does not say the items you consume are expensive. The juice bar allows people in the community to come in and share stories about their weight loss, and other inspiring stories. Finally, I decided to put a library in juice bar because I want people to feel proud that we have this in the neighborhood.
RESPECT.: Growing up some of your hobbies were reading, and writing. Have you thought about writing a book in the future?
I am trying to figure out what direction I want to explore because I have three different book ideas, but I tend to write 50 pages then go back and say I do not like this anymore. I have a book club called ‘Angela Yee Book Club’ featured on simonandschusterpublishing.com. The club and a couple of other individuals have been inquiring about when the book might be finished, but I feel when the time is right I’ll be able to just focus on finishing it. I will tell you this though the next big project for me will be to release a book.
RESPECT.: You have your book club, are there any books that you are currently reading that you would like to share?
The Last Black Unicorn Book by Tiffany Haddish, Parental Discretion Is Advised by Gerrick D Kennedy, Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff & Holter Graham, and I am currently reading U-God’s book My Journey into the Wu-Tang.
RESPECT.: You had the opportunity to interview some of the biggest names in the industry. If you can name two to three of your favorite ones which would they be and why?
50 Cent is always an entertaining interview because he will take the conversation in the direction that he wants to make you go around in circles during the discussion. There are a lot of interviews that I enjoyed, for example, Tiffany Haddish where a lot of people did not know much about her, and she shared her story. I like when we can have interviews with individuals before they are well known or people that the public might not want. Then when they come in for an interview, they have the chance to change perspectives. I also enjoyed my conversation with Eminem because I know a lot of people have not had the opportunity to interview him.“One of the keys to success is to listen more than you talk.”
RESPECT.: You had the opportunity to interview Former First Lady Hillary Clinton. Where do you rank that amongst the rest of your life achievements?
I put being able to interview Hillary Clinton up there with having the opportunity to speak with Minister Louis Farrakhan. First of all, I would rather have her in office than Donald Trump, but the whole experience of it was so surreal. The Secret Service must sweep the room, and you have to go through a background check if you want to interview Hillary Clinton. The one thing I appreciated is that she had a lot of women of color and involved in her campaign made sure things would happen. I will say this though helping people of color was on her list of priorities.
RESPECT.: What would you consider your dream interview?
I wish we could think of interviewing Prince when he was living because he is my favorite artists of all-time. We met him once as he was headed to a different station. He said hello and kept it moving, that would have been my dream interview. I have seen Purple Rain like a million times and Under the Cherry Moon.
RESPECT.: You recently spoke with Eatwithkofi.com about a television deal surrounding “Lip Service.” Can you give us an update on that and will it be a part of Revolt TV or a streaming platform?
Initially, we signed a deal with BET, but there were a lot of different executives coming in an out. The deal fell apart, it was supposed to be a BET situation. We shot the pilot with 50 Cent and did another one with Plies and then it never happened. We have some different offers on the table, but we are looking to see what the right situation is for us. The process at BET made me realize that I need to stick to my vision of what I want the platform to be. If something you want to develop and sale just got a situation is beautiful, but it is something that you are looking to keep control you must be selective about where you land that partnership.
RESPECT.: You have a very recognizable name and face in the entertainment industry. Can you tell us the last time you were denied access to an event as a member of the media?
I can’t tell you that. First of all, it takes a lot for me to drag myself out somewhere if I do not have to be there. If I do have to be at an event, I make sure everything is scheduled ahead of time. If I RSVP to be somewhere and do not hear anything back, I will not even go because I do not want to deal with the hassle of going through all that and not be able to get in. There are times when I travel out of town where people do not even recognize me. That’s fine with me. I do not have a significant ego, but I will say my friends will use the I’m with Angela Yee card when we are out and the last thing I want is for someone to say who is she. So, I like to keep a low profile.
RESPECT.: You are a big advocate of internships since this is how you got your start in the Entertainment industry. When you’re looking for interns what are some of the traits that are important to you?
We do not select our interns, that is part of IHeartRadio’s responsibilities. I was just at York College of Pennsylvania and students asked me about internships. I encouraged them to submit their resume and say I referred them. I will say what separates excellent interns from all the rest is you must work hard and not wait for people to tell you to want to do. You must take the initiative, and it is not always about bringing in food in the morning. I would like for you to come up with ideas and even if we do not use those ideas I am happy with you trying to bring something to the table. That is something we want you to do because we might be comfortable with what we’re doing, but it is always nice to have a fresh set of eyes. Those are the type of individuals I am looking for as well as those wanting to tag along to different events to learn things. This shows you are willing to go above and beyond what is in the job description.
RESPECT.: Are there any other business interest outside of entertainment that you are looking to pursue?
One business venture I am looking to enter is the restaurant business. I know it is a tough business, but with the partners that I have in mind, I feel we can make it work. When I was younger in college, I had a vision that I would own a lounge and restaurant, now I am in a position to do both. I think that the difference between people who are successful and individuals who are not is ideas and action. All of us have ideas, but not everyone is looking to take action on those ideas. Writing a book is another thing, and I do want to expand Juices For Life’ with a partnership with the public and charter schools trying to think of different ways to help kids live a healthier life starting at a younger age.
RESPECT.: What advice would you like to share with some of the aspiring artists looking to get their break in the entertainment business?
You have to be consistent and not expect things to happen overnight. As a performer, you have to continue to make music, relationships, networking, and putting it out there for people to see. What good is hoarding your music this is something you have to make sure the masses hear and make sure you are always expanding. In the beginning, it is not going to be about money it is about the exposure more than anything else. You cannot get discouraged. Everybody that you see who is successful did not achieve this level overnight, it took them years to get to where they are now.
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