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May 15, 2020 9 mins

In this episode of Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020, Angela Yee, co-host of The Breakfast Club emboldens the graduates to not be afraid to ask for help and to also help others, as they are the new visionaries, leading the way for the rest of us into a better tomorrow.

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Commencement Speeches for the Class of twenty is a production
of I Heart Radio. Class of Parents, Faculty, rising graduates,
Welcome to commencement. You made it. This year is a

(00:22):
little different, a difficult time to graduate because the traditional
graduation day has been put on hold. So we're bringing
it to you wherever you are because this is still
your day, your moment, and now put your hands together.
It's time to be inspired. This year's commencement speaker, the
one and only Angela Yee. Hey, guys, how are you feeling?

(00:54):
Is Angela Yee from the Breakfast Club, And I just
want to say I'm excited to participate in this commend
Smith's Speeches for the Class of podcast event. I know
a lot of us right now are going through a
lot of things. So for me to be able to
talk to you and just communicate what I've been through
and any kind of advice that I can give, I'm
honored to be able to do that. Before I do

(01:16):
say anything, I want to tell you that you did it.
You made it across the finish line, and right now,
you guys are under the most unique circumstances that I
believe I've ever seen. Whenever you think about your graduation,
You're definitely gonna have some of the most interesting stories
to tell. And that's what I want to focus on today.

(01:37):
Right as you figure out the next stop on your
journey of life, some of you are going to continue
on with formal education, some of you will join the
workforce right away, some of you will take a break
as you ponder what's next in life, and some of
you will start your own businesses. Some of you, guys
will just straight up hustle. I've done all of those

(01:59):
things throughout the course of my career, and what I
want to talk about today is just being flexible, also
controlling your reactions to things that you can't control, and
being proactive. And I'm going to quote Kanye West when
I talk about that, being proactive, which is not something
I normally do, so you know it's important now. When

(02:20):
I first graduated, I went right back to my parents house.
They live in South Arren's, New Jersey, and I wanted
to stay there, but they got tired of me being
in the house. I was broke, I was in debt.
They had paid for me to go to college. I
also had taken out a lot of student loans, so
after less than a month. They were like, you have
to get a job and you have to get a
place to live. So the first thing I did was

(02:41):
in my head, I said, I'm going to get a
job working at a temp agency. I wanted to be
able to pursue my career as a writer. Since I
was in kindergarten, I just knew I would be a writer.
I didn't even survive three days doing this temp agency job.
I was opening envelopes in a quote data entry position.
It was awful. I decided let me just tap in

(03:02):
and follow up on these internships I had done in college. Fortunately,
when I was in school, I went to Wesleyan University
and I did use the Career Resource Center and it
was great for me to be able to link up
a different people who graduated from Wesleyan who were able
to get me internships. Now, one internship I did did
not necessarily have to do with my college. It was

(03:23):
through a colleague of mine, and I ended up getting
a job working for the Wu Tang Clan, the legendary
Woutang Clan. After several years of working in the music
industry and also making sure that I networked, I made
sure that I went out, I formed my own relationships
with people. I also developed my skills and marketing and NPR.
I decided that I want to be a freelancer, and

(03:45):
I did want to have multiple streams of income, but
I also wanted to have my freedom to be able
to travel if I needed to, to not have to
be in an office every day, and that was pretty
good for me. It wasn't until I was twenty eight
years old that I actually stumbled and for real stumbled
into my career in radio. And that was thanks to
my relationship with Paul Rosenberg. Paul is M and m's manager,

(04:09):
and he had just started the station Shade forty five
on serious satellite radio. I had actually worked with him
on Eminem's clothing line, and because he saw how hard
I worked in just the relationships I managed to forage
and continue to keep, he said, Okay, let's try you
on the radio. And it did end up working out.
At first, I had to work there and not get paid.

(04:30):
It was kind of an unpaid probation period. But because
I was working like I was getting paid, and I
was putting in that extra time, in those extra hours
and really humbling myself. Because you have to think I
had already been working for almost eight years and getting
paid a pretty decent amount of money to being paid nothing.
It was really a humbling experience for me, but I

(04:51):
think in the end it all worked out. Now I've
been doing radio for sixteen years and I still haven't
focused on what I set out to do originally, that
was to be a writer. Remember, now, life will do
that to you. Sometimes you have a plan and there's
all these detours, there's all these dead ends, and then
you have to take a whole new route. And sometimes
things happen quickly, and sometimes they happen easily, and sometimes

(05:12):
it takes years or it doesn't materialize the way that
you envision that it would. You'll have to make some
really important decisions. And I'm a really huge believer that
whatever you chose to do, you have to represent you
in the strongest way possible. Maybe you'll be doing an
umpaid internship or like I did that probationary period for free.
Maybe it's a low paying job that you accepted, and

(05:33):
I did have that job. As a low paying job,
I've had a lot of those. But if you did
agree to certain terms, then you have to make sure
that you show up. Make sure you show out because
you never know what that position might lead to. Now,
maybe you have a job that you hate, but you're
making six and seven figures. I know people like that,
and you still have to perform your responsibilities beyond time.

(05:54):
You still have to make sure that you do everything
to the best of your ability. Make sure you treat
people well because again, people don't know what you're going through,
and you also never know what that position might lead to.
Make sure you don't let circumstances and negative people influence
the greatness that you have. You cannot control other people's actions,
but what you can control is your own reaction. One

(06:15):
thing that really has helped me, and I don't know
if everyone can do this, but I believe in the
power of writing, and so what I do is I
write things down when people do really left up things
to me, and somehow the story becomes funnier when I
write it down, and I can even change it the
way I want to change it, just to make it
a comedy. Now, some people do this, and I know
writers who have a kill list, and that's people that

(06:37):
they want to get revenge on later. And maybe you
read about those in my book. One day, But in
the meantime it's very therapeutic for me. You can always
learn something even when things are really tragic. So when
something unfortunate happens, I like to do something positive for
another person. That's another way that I also shift the
energy that's around me. The last thing I want to

(06:57):
leave you with is a quote. And I told you
all I was gonna quote Kanye West. That's not something
I do very often, but this was during his Glow
on the Dark tour. They gave out these little booklets
of Kanye isms. And one thing that always has stuck
out in my head to use is necessary. And if
you can't be used, then you're useless. And I know
we've heard that so many times and songs and quotes,

(07:18):
and I've always been hesitant to ask for favors, and
sometimes I'm even hesitant to just offer my own services.
It's kind of a pride thing when you feel like
you have to be independent and do everything and not
need anyone's help. What I've learned is that is a
waste of time and energy. Right now you're graduating, make
sure you use those relationships that you made, or make
sure you tap into that alumni network. When you have

(07:41):
a great pitch, when you need employment, when you're looking
for an employee, when you need a mentor, or even
if you just want to acknowledge that somebody has done
something great and you want to shout them out. I've
gotten a lot of opportunities from the people that came
up with, and I've also helped other people get into
great positions. The best thing I discovered in business is
I don't have to do things alone. I can partner

(08:03):
with other people. That's how I ended up being a
co owner in the Juice Bar, Juices for Life, b
K with styles P, who's a legendary rapper from the
Locks that you should know, and d J m V.
I knew styles P already open three juice bars. I
knew my chance of success would be higher with somebody
who already went through the mistakes that I knew I
would have made. And if I try to open that
juice bar alone, I might not be celebrating four years

(08:26):
of owning a juice bar this year. When it comes
to handling my business, there's no way that I could
do everything I do. You know the Breakfast Club Morning Show.
I also have my podcast Lip Service. I have on
my bookings. I do a lot of charity events, I'm
on the board for different organizations, and I still do
have a life outside of work. And the way I'm

(08:46):
able to maintain that is I have people who are
in positions where they can help me. So link up
with people, make sure you show that same love back
to you can't just always take and not give. And
remember that you guys are the visionaries of money and
in the times that we're in, you guys are definitely
the ones who are leading the way. Might be one
of the most important years that I've ever experienced, from

(09:11):
this coronavirus pandemic to the upcoming elections and everything else
in between. So right now, you guys, all eyes are
on you, and I know y'all up for the challenge.
So congratulations again to the class of You. Can find

(09:37):
a collection of incredible commitment addresses from all your favorite
speakers at the Commitment Podcast on I Heart Radio or
wherever you listen to podcasts.
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