Not Merely Lip Service
The Breakfast Club co-host Angela Yee (who also has her own podcast, Lip Service) is sort of the beating heart of New York City. In 2018, Mayor Bill de Blasio declared August 28th Angela Yee Day. The New York Public Library also named her its ambassador to encourage New York residents to get their library card and explore what their local branch has to offer. Along with her willingness to continue to do and be more for her community, her influence extends beyond the radio show that helps many New Yorkers start their mornings right.
In 2016, Yee opened a juice bar called Juices For Life in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. After facing health scares that encouraged her to focus on diet and exercise and eventually led her to the world of juicing, she couldn’t easily find what she wanted in her neighborhood. “Then I saw that Styles P and Jadakiss had opened these juice bars in Yonkers and the Bronx,” she recalls. “I wanted to do something like that, because it was hard for me to find juice bars in Brooklyn that had what I wanted with whole, fresh fruits and vegetables.” Over the past five years, her Bed-Stuy location of Juices For Life has become a cherished staple for the Brooklynites and beyond, while she has used the space to host a book club and other community-based initiatives, including free HIV testing.
Her juicing journey did not stop there. Following the success of Juices For Life, Yee launched Drink Fresh Juice, a line of organic, cold-pressed, on-the-go juices. With their shipping operation, she has assisted people outside New York in finding the healthy alternatives they need. Still, she aims to take her juices and conversations about health literacy even further, as she would love to bring them to schools with the hope of increasing nutritional literacy among students, which can play a key role in their long-term health as they grow older. “So many things are tied back to our diets, and if we can start having healthier habits at younger ages, I think it can make a huge difference when it comes to education and it comes to kids in our neighborhoods,” she says of this program done through her non-profit, Well Read, that promotes wellness and literacy.
Her businesses and philanthropic endeavors are a way to give back to her community. For instance, one of her newest ventures is Coffee Uplifts People (CUP), a sustainable coffee line that promotes equity, inclusion, and diversity. She would like to use its proceeds to donate to other entities and charitable causes. Last year, it started out with a soft-launch in order to help educate their community on voter awareness and suppression through outreach activities. “We are setting it up so that people can franchise cafes, and then what we want to do is educate people on franchising and the coffee business, and that way they can set up their own,” Yee elaborates. “That is part of our give-back, entrepreneurship, and also work with various charities and organizations.”
Despite her long-simmering tenure in the spotlight, Yee remains an outspoken figure on the many issues facing her community and America, where we have seen the wave of hate and intolerance. According to her Twitter profile, she would “rather be hated than a hater.” She explains, “I don’t even have time to be thinking about what anybody else is doing, and I think that anybody who is successful would have people that don’t like them, so I would rather be the person that people are like, ‘I can’t stand her,’ than the person that is sitting around mad.”
Juggling her many duties in an authentic and inclusive way, Yee bets on herself and lifts everyone else up. “I want people to be able to take more risks. I think a lot of times, we talk ourselves out of things, and fear holds us back,” she shares, adding that she has “laid down the seeds,” and now she can see “the little plants growing, but can’t wait until they are full-grown.”
Writer: Ashley House
Photographer: Boris Brenman
Stylist: Kim Mesches
Hair: Corey Tuttle (for Exclusive Artists Management - using Oribe)
Makeup: Marc Cornwall
Editor: Eiko Watanabe
Special thanks to Juices For Life BK (@juicesforlifebk) & Coffee Uplifts People (CUP) (@coffeeupliftspeople - coffeeupliftspeople.com) & EPK Media (@myepk & @epkmedia - epkmedia.com)