Angela Yee has been a part of some of the 21st century’s greatest pop culture interview moments. Now, the Brooklyn-raised multihyphenate hosts her all-new nationally syndicated iHeartMedia radio show, “Way Up with Angela Yee.” Following her well-publicized departure from “The Breakfast Club” late last year, she is excited about her latest endeavor. On the new show, Yee still provides insightful celebrity interviews and also prioritizes content that helps listeners grow and learn while having fun. After her legendary 12-year run with Charlamagne Tha God and DJ Envy, she is again finding a way to level up.
Yee became a member of the Radio Hall of Fame in 2020. Her undeniable importance to the culture, mixed with her relentless entrepreneurial spirit, helped her become an inspiration for many. The radio icon has been taking risks since she started her illustrious career in media and has successfully implemented the same strategy in business and real estate. The NYC-bred businesswoman made it her mission to spotlight Black-owned businesses and improve financial literacy through her Wealth Wednesdays platform. She doubled down on the worthwhile cause through her partnership with StellarFi, which helps provide marginalized communities with access to credit.
Although Angela Yee’s legacy is cemented, she is still hungry for more. “Way Up with Angela Yee” runs midday on over 30 iHeartMedia stations nationwide. When asked about the fast-paced interactive radio show, Yee exclaimed, “It’s a celebration of how far we’ve come and the exciting journey ahead!” The esteemed media personality and entrepreneur sat down with REVOLT to discuss her new show, business endeavors, and more. Check out the exclusive conversation below.
What was your mindset going into “Way Up with Angela Yee”?
I wanted to curate the content that I always wanted to do. At first, I was in a situation where I had to get the team to agree on the content that I liked. I look at myself as someone who is way up from where I started, but I am still trying to get my way up. A lot of us are like that, so I wanted my show to be focused on the listeners. I came up with a lot of segments that can include the fans and engage with them.
You’ve been a voice for the culture for a long time. What keeps you motivated to keep going?
People will tell you that money should not be the only thing to motivate you, but as I have grown, I have learned the importance of financial freedom. You need money to be an entrepreneur, finance your business, and invest in others. I am setting myself up for life after this and living comfortably. I enjoy what I do now, but it is a lot of work. I want to make sure whatever I am doing makes sense financially, so I am making the most of my time, and helping others create and build wealth for themselves.
You said you wanted “Way Up with Angela Yee” to celebrate how far you have come. How will it portray that?
Right now, it is like a mom-and-pop show. It is me starting all over again from scratch. People thought I was crazy for leaving “The Breakfast Club.” Many people even say I can go back, but I cannot — well, I would say I wouldn’t. Truthfully, as a new startup show, I don’t get the same opportunities as before because I have a lot to prove. I am excited to watch the show grow.
You have also been a big proponent of financial freedom. Why is that an emphasis for you and will it be a key talking point on the new show?
I have been fortunate enough to learn more about those things than I knew in the past. Now I am a founder of StellarFi, which helps people improve their credit scores. I have also been investing using different apps and in real estate. I never want to speak on things I am not sure about. Luckily, I have been blessed to meet many other people who have helped me along the way. Therefore, I look forward to bringing people onto the show that have helped me, so they can pass that knowledge on to my listeners.
I used to be all for having fun at brunch or dinners, but I am primarily focused on sitting down and discussing business. I am closing on a 30-unit property in Detroit, which is a new process. Therefore, everything I am learning on this journey will be something I share with people who look to do the same one day. You can still do the same things you do to have fun — just include something that benefits you while you do them.
You have Angela Yee Day back in Brooklyn, New York! Considering your humble beginnings, what does that honor mean to you?
That was honestly even a surprise to me. I thought I was getting a proclamation, so I brought my parents and some close friends because I wanted them to see Gracie Mansion. I was on the stage, and I looked back, and read the sign and realized that it was a day for me, and I was so surprised and extremely excited.
My first couple of events were during the pandemic, so I wanted to ensure it is as big as possible now that it has subsided. Many people have their day, but only some do something about it. Aug. 28 is a day of philanthropy. We even had a meeting about the event earlier today. The event is geared towards spotlighting local Black-owned businesses, and Black and Caribbean music artists.
How has social media affected radio and the way people receive pop culture news?
Now, a lot of people need to fact-check, too. People just want things quick and instant. You can frame a story anyway that you want today. You can find some information to back up your claims, whether true or not. Unfortunately, it helps spread a lot of false information and clips get taken out of context very often. As people who receive the content, we must be careful with what we consume and fact-check. We usually do not give ourselves the space, and get off the internet for once, and live in the moment.
We were even at dinner the other night, and I realized all of us were on our phones at one point. Then we see footage from the 2023 Super Bowl when people watched Rihanna perform, and everyone has their phone recording the show.
If you could invite five radio hosts who inspired you to dinner, who would they be?
Well, Angie Martinez, although we have been to dinner together often. Even though we work together, it is still remarkable that we connect a lot. Issa Rae is someone I respect and would say is inspiring to me. She does a great job of establishing boundaries for herself, also. I like a lot of comedians, too, so I would say Aida Rodriguez is someone I love. Also, Dave Chappelle is very inspiring to me. Outside of them is someone who is not in my space, but I would love to sit down with Sade. Can you imagine how dope that would be? I also respect Cathy Hughes so much. It would be nice to sit down and chat with her.
I did not grow up wanting to do radio. That wasn’t my goal initially, so becoming close with everyone I have is incredible.
You have many endeavors, including “Lip Service,” “Way Up with Angela Yee,” juice bars and real estate. What do you do to reset and give yourself a break?
I love a good spa day. I have been planning one for the last month or two. You cannot even spontaneously go to the spa anymore because everything is always booked. It is grind time right now, so I may go on vacation in June. The good news is I can sleep in way more than ever before because I am now on midday radio. I feel so much more refreshed, and that sleep has helped a lot.
Do you feel the pressure to live up to the success of your 12-year stint with “The Breakfast Club”?
I have to look at it as its own thing. We did not think it would become what it did when we started the show. “The Breakfast Club” is truly a phenomenon that could not be replicated. “Way Up with Angela Yee” is different and is a product of my vision. I would not want to compete with myself to recreate existing moments.
You have been a part of some monumental interviews. Which one would you say best represents you as a journalist?
I liked my August Alsina interview. I would also tell people to watch “Lip Service” because those interviews showcase my personality, and you can see me having fun. I genuinely love my interview with Cardi B — that was great. My interview show on FOX SOUL had some good ones also, like my interview with Larenz Tate and Salt-N-Pepa because I am such a big fan of them.
Lastly, what is it about chewing gum that you hate so much in interviews? You are notorious for asking guests to spit it out.
That is funny, but no, in all seriousness, it doesn’t sound great on the mic. Whenever someone interviews somebody, you can see in the comments someone saying where Angela Yee told them to spit out their gum. So that is a hilarious question.