The Double XXposure, Media Relations Guru, Angelo Ellerbee, just released his first book entitled, “Ask Angelo”.
The book is a self-help guide, sprinkled with stories from Ellerbee’s life as a mega publicist. It’s a whirlwind of questions and recommendations based on authentic scenarios, of how to engage and survive the music industry.
Delving into the first chapter is an experience like no-other. It's spine-tingling and a bit dangerous. The page-turner narratives are so gripping that the reader is caught in the matrix of suspense.
The episode opens with a gullible hip-hop artist who’d just been blackballed (exiled from the industry). Record execs dropped him from the label. The only problem is that the rapper didn’t know it at the time. He showed up at Ellerbee’s office in an anxious frenzy, wanting answers because everyone including his manger gave him the cold shoulder and wouldn’t speak to him.”
Ellerbee tried to calm the guy down, and reason with him, but instead, the distraught young man pulled out a knife and pressed it against Ellerbee’s throat... that was just the beginning of many more lessons wedged inside the book…
Angelo Ellerbee earned the nickname, “Henry Higgins of Hip-Hop” because of that encounter, as well as his old-school structure and training that he uses for artist development, charm school, branding, and public speaking.
“I even make artist read to me,” he affirmed.
“I give my artists a book to read and a video to watch, during our sessions like, “Their Eyes Are Watching God” by Zora Neal, and the “Native Son”, he said.
“If they can’t tell me the difference between the book and the movie—if they can’t give me any feedback from the book, I’ll know that they didn’t read it because the book is more in depth than the movie.”
The clients receive hands-on and top-notch services from Double XXposure.
Speaking of the business-- Ellerbee started the firm over forty-years ago; however, he actually began in another area of entertainment, before becoming one of the most well respected publicists in the field.
When asked about his career path, Ellerbee said, “As a designer, model, and entrepreneur, I was destined to do what I was doing, because I chose to do it. You have to understand that when I started doing this, no one made me do anything. I am a child of my mom. I was romantically in love with my mother—I always wanted the best for my mom. I was willing to work, as much as she was willing for me to work, for the benefit of my family.
Family was key and crucial for my mother, so therefore, it was crucial for everyone that was part of her family,” he said.
“We had no alternatives but to love one another and enrich our lives. I chose my direction, and my brother and sisters chose there’s, but collectively we mirrored my mother—all of us.
I knew that I wanted to do great thing. I’m a starch believer in the father, the son, and the holy ghost as being my destiny. My mom always told me that as long as I put God in front of me, there’s nothing that could ever hurt or harm me. I went through life with an understanding that I was blessed, and I went through life with an understanding that I was great.
I’m not being boisterous with using the words greater than life, but I knew that I was great. That’s what she made me believe. She would say to me, ‘You’re great and I love you because of your greatness.’ I didn’t know what greatness was when she said it. As time went on, I learned with her teaching, and her direction, I fell in love with Eva Ellerbee”, he spoke sincerely.
“I fell in love with myself because my mother loved me, my sister loved me, and it didn’t matter who didn’t love me. It only mattered that I was growing up in a household where love was a keen essential of our everyday lives. Now, don’t get me wrong, we fought and did everything that anyone else did, but at the end of the day when we went to bed, we had to hug one another because we had to solve our problems that way.
My mother was a no-nonsense woman, very no-nonsense, and when I say that, I mean it. Just the mere instance of my mother standing up, never having to open her mouth, and just giving that look, which you knew you needed to get it together.
In part of answering the question, I knew when I was eight or nine-years old, that all the things I ever wanted in life, I would give, and I would receive. I’m still eating and I’m still receiving. I haven’t reached the apex of my success yet. For the light of God, who will always be the head of my life; I will always do what’s right for me to do, to get what I believe I should, righteously, legally, and other respects. I hope I answered the question,” he resounded.
With that lifelong notion, the New Jersey native founded Double XXposure Media Group in 1972, as a one-stop-boutique for his clients, right out of his mother’s basement (more elaborations inside the book).
He’s worked with famous artist like Michael Jackson, Prince, Lionel Richie, Dionne Warwick, and Mary J. Blige, to name a few legends. He’s also worked with Alicia Keys, Mathew Knowles, Antonio Fargas, and at some point, he even managed DMX.
Ellerbee doesn’t mix business with pleasure or make time for monotonous distractions that take away from his conglomerate. He said, “If I have to choose business over pleasure, I’m choosing the business, cause nothing gets in the way of my coins.”
It’s a no brainer that his booming years as a publicist afforded Ellerbee the opportunity to write the book, in an effort to help set the record straight, about being successful in an institutionalized entertainment industry.
Dionne Warwick on Ellerbee's newest book
Q&A Excerpt from the book
What does it take to survive once you make it in?
"I teach survival skills to my artists because I think that people need to know how to take care of themselves. Self-preservation is the first law of nature in a business where the laws are written in gold and blood. Many of us get it by what they call 'paying dues'. Sleeping in your car, eating peanut butter or soup every day of the week to sacrifice for your career, relationships you have to give up... all of that makes you grittier for sure but won't help you survive. If a man is in a disaster, they say he will fight harder to live when he has something to live for. He has to want it bad. You can want fame, money, and success but you have to want to LIVE too. Wanting it and doing the things consistent with it may not be the same action though. If you indulge in everything that is bound to kill you and also dump the stress of trying to make it on top, what are you odds even when you want it so bad?
At some point I tell those urban hustler-turned-artists to put the 40 ounce beers down, sweep the blunts off your nightstand, tell your entourage to get the hell out, and get serious about making it even if you're a young rapper starting out with no 'dues paid'. Is there a future for them? Only time will tell but they have to make it out first. Live to tell the tale and rhyme another day. Therefore, I encourage artists in my workshops to apply the same drive my mother pushed into me-to survive because you have to. Not just because you need to keep the gravy train fed, but because life is to be lived for the artist long after he drops the mic."
If you’d like to know more about Ellerbee’s experiences, grab a copy of the book here:
The radio show, "Ask Angelo," airs on Thursday October 20th from 10:am until 11:am on www.survivalradionetwork.us/. Call in and ask questions relating to your plight as a music professional.