What do Michael Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Ronald Isley, Dionne Warwick, Lionel Richie and Ava Duvenay have in common? They’ve turned to longtime media relations vet Angelo Ellerbee and his organization, Double XXposure, for career and artistic guidance.
As a humanitarian and activist, PR specialist Angelo Ellerbee has brought more to the global community than just entertainment. He has cemented his dedication to empowering artists, youths and those in need for over four decades. His position as a filmmaker, executive producer, manager, fashion designer, and media guru is often used as a platform for giving back to others.
From an early age, with a keen eye for style, sharp ear for hits and media savvy, Ellerbee parlayed his expertise into a full-service publicity/marketing/management company, Double XXposure Media Relations, Inc. His client roster is deep and diverse, starting with legends such as Roberta Flack then to icons like Michael Jackson, Dionne Warwick, Lionel Richie, as well as reggae stars like Patra and Shabba Ranks among many others. With his artist development courses, hands-on counseling, and motivational guidance, Ellerbee, through his work, greatly influenced performers like Mary J. Blige and Alicia Keys as they launched their careers.
After graduating from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, Ellerbee threw his hat into the arenas of fashion, theater, and music before launching a career as a stylist for a variety of entertainers and magazines. He went on to style divas like Nina Simone while his works were seen in publications such as Vogue, Essence, Women’s Wear Daily, and Ebony Man. Ellerbee also studied with the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, where he designed costumes for the company’s 1979 season. Continuing in the world of design, he hosted the cable TV series, “Ellerbee’s Eyes on Fashion”, that received six Cable Ace Award nominations for excellence. As an actor and dancer, Angelo appeared in the off-Broadway hit, “Bubbling Brown Sugar.”
By the early 80’s, Ellerbee moved fully into the world of publicity and artist development. As head of Grammy Award-Winner James Mtume’s entertainment company, he promoted and managed their stable of recording artists. With New Jersey as its birthing ground, Angelo also handled club music era artists such as Jocelyn Brown and Cybil. Tapped by Chrysalis Records to serve as Director of Publicity and Artist Development in the late 80’s, Ellerbee turned music industry heads with his unique positioning of artists like Gang Starr, Innocence, and Urban Soul. He went on to serve as Senior Vice President of Publicity for Island Def Jam Records where he worked with the legendary Ronald Isley as well as Dru Hill.
By the time Double XXposure opened its doors in 1985, Ellerbee developed an industry-wide reputation for excellence. As CEO of a multi-disciplined and diverse firm, he represents artists from the worlds of Hip Hop, jazz, Reggae, R&B, gospel and even opera. Other clientele includes dancers, models, and political figures. Not limited to publicity, he managed major talents such as DMX, Ginuwine, and Pop artist Laura Branigan, as well as handling company branding—making Double XXposure a one-stop shop.
By the early 1990's, Double XXposure held the distinction of being the first, if not the only black-owned public relations firm on 7th Ave in midtown Manhattan. This spoke volumes to the entertainment community and media as the agency became the first to present urban artists with world-class professionalism. During that time, a book on Ellberbee’s life story, agented by the acclaimed Judith Reagan garnered enough interest by Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox for a seven-figure deal on movie rights alone. This followed with offers from TV for reality shows to be based on his renowned charm school for rappers, with interest from international media in London and Australia. Ellerbee’s own exposure grew through featured articles in national magazines and international publications.
Serving as President and General Manager of rap superstar DMX’s Bloodline Records, under his administration, Ellerbee turned the Def Jam imprint into a full-fledged recording company. In addition, he managed the multiplatinum recording artist himself, facilitating the rapper’s global 22 million record sales tallies. He served as an Executive Producer of Fox Searchlight Pictures’ “Never Die Alone” released in 2004 and oversaw several other DMX-related ventures including Dog Wear Inc. and Bloodline Films.
Meanwhile, Ellerbee’s ability to reinvent and bridge the careers of veteran talent with current and mainstream artists resulted in connecting luminaries such as Antonio Fargas and Rihanna when she revived his popular movie phrase “Bitch Better Have My Money” as a hit song. He’s been at the PR foundation of many careers that later gained media success such as Oscar nominated director Ava Duvernay and film personality Terrence J, among others. In the sports arena Ellerbee represented many notables including Olympic winning athletes such as Tori Bowie, NFL Running back Ricky Williams, track & field star Angelo Taylor, and NBA player Ben Gordon among others.
As a native of Newark, NJ, Ellberee has focused on youth development and community improvement since his early teens. Growing up in the city facing racial discrimination, riots, and a national reputation for violence, Ellerbee set his goals on creating programs and events that would help alleviate the problems. Even in his teens, he was staging fashion shows throughout the region, eventually bringing in celebrities from Vogue models to entertainers and community leaders—all to raise funds and awareness of relevant issues. His advocacy for the victims of AIDS and HIV has reached millions worldwide, such as his fundraiser for hospital-based, the Peter Ho Foundation, expressly for victims of the epidemic. By aligning artists such as Heavy D, Sybil, Susan L. Taylor, Carmen de Lavallade, Geoffrey Holder, and Antonio Fargas with a fashion show, they raised several thousands of dollars along with increased support for the organization. Further assistance for those in need included more publicized events such as refinement classes featured on CNN as well as a makeover for homeless women on The Maury Povich Show.
Having taken his cue from Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, Ellerbee adapted that winning strategy to serve contemporary artists. The Artists Development division of Double XXposure is in many ways a youth advocacy platform in how it offers at risk and disadvantaged urban kids an opportunity to promote themselves into the corporate and mainstream world. By taking the classes into youth centers and special workshops; lessons on etiquette, diction, poise, and interview techniques provide an edge young people would never get. This effort has earned him the moniker The Henry Higgins of Hip Hop.
Today, Angelo represents a bevy of clients – the legendary Dionne Warwick, Kool & the Gang founder/leader Robert “Kool” Bell, entertainment guru Mathew Knowles as well as up and coming folks such as Afro Pop artist FATi and hip-hop master 88 LO, among others.