DJ Cocoa Chanelle is a Black Girls Rock recipient, and award-winning Deejay / On-Air personality with over 16+ years of radio experience in the #1 market in the United States, New York City's HOT 97, and 7 years of on-air experience with BET Networks as the Deejay for their popular talk show Teen Summit, Making Cocoa the first DJ in history hired as an in-house deejay for the network.
"Cocoa is Radio Royalty," said Emmy award-winning Actor/Comedian Chris Rock at his latest movie premiere.
Many of Cocoa’s admirers include celebrities and industry insiders such as Hip Hop Legend LL Cool J, Salt N Pepa, and Grammy Award-winning DJ/producer Mark Ronson to name a few. “Salute to the Legendary DJ Cocoa Chanelle,” says Grammy Award Winning Recording Artist Missy Elliott after watching a recent viral video of Cocoa on the turntables.
Footage of Cocoa doing turntable tricks began to spread online gaining over 300,000 views on Facebook in less than 24 hours. The video went on to capture the attention of many celebrities including Chuck D of Public Enemy, Sway Calloway of MTV and many others whom all posted the video on social media.
By many, Cocoa is best known for her 16-year radio career in New York City. She was an on-air mix show DJ and Personality for Emmis Communications radio station HOT 97. Cocoa's radio career began after making several guest mixing appearances on Hot 97's "Morning Show", hosted by Ed Lover, she was recommended to the station's program director and as a result, the morning show producer created the idea for "Ladies Night," Hosted by Angie Martinez.
In 2012, as a new addition to 98.7 KISS, Cocoa accomplished making her own show #1 on Saturday Nights in the 8 to 10 pm timeslot.
Vibe Magazine listed Cocoa Chanelle as one of the TOP 17 DJ’s in the country. She has been honored with several awards including the prestigious Black Girls Rock award and honored by B.E.T Networks for Black History Month for her many accomplishments in the music industry over the years.
Cocoa is also recognized as a music producer and Lyricist having produced and recorded vocally with several Legendary Hip Hop artists including writing, recording, and scratching the hook for the legend Rakim for his single "Euphoria. "Rakim's manager reached out to me and said that Rakim was a fan of my work and that he wanted me to write and record the hook on his single Euphoria, I was shocked," Says Cocoa, "He said I could do whatever I wanted. I'm a big Rakim fan, that was a huge honor for me, and a major moment in my career" She continues.
Cocoa produced the first single for Just Blaze artist Saigon titled "Pain In My Life". "I was going through a lot in my life at that time, that's what inspired the production," Says Cocoa. She also produced the first single for LOX member Sheek Louch, Styles P, and one of her remixes featuring Da Brat & Lil Mo landed in Tyler Perry’s Oscar award-winning film “Precious”. She also added additional vocals to Ghostface Killah's single titled "We Celebrate". Additionally, Cocoa has toured with Ghostface in Canada and throughout the United States.
Throughout her career, Cocoa opened doors and broke down barriers as the first Deejay to work for BET (male or female). She was the first female DJ to land a feature DJ spot on MTV's highest-rated show Spring Break, which resulted in a return invitation from MTV to appear in several of their specialty shows.
Cocoa Chanelle was born in Brooklyn New York. At age 7 she was raised by her Grandmother in West Virginia following the death of her mother and father to alcoholism.
She started as an MC at the age of 12, entering local talent shows and rap battles. "Any time I was having a bad day, I would create lyrics about it... it was my therapy". says Cocoa. "I also used it for school, when I needed to study for a test, I would turn the answers into rap so I could remember it". She continued.
By age 13, Cocoa was DJing. She was inspired to DJ and rap by her older brother Andre who was shot and killed three months before Cocoa was hired as a DJ on HOT 97.
Immediately following high school graduation, Cocoa began her DJ career on a professional level after a chance meeting on the New York subway with her brother Andre and a young 16 yr old female rapper named MC Peaches who was signed to the same label as MC LYTE.
Peaches brought Cocoa to the attention of First Priority Music, home to MC Lyte, Positive K, and Audio Two. Executives from the label were in search of a DJ for their new group, hip-hop duo Kings of Swing. Cocoa became their official DJ and was featured scratching and rapping on their debut album.
Her big break came in 1994 when she became the first DJ to work for BET Networks. She was given a last-minute opportunity to audition for BET, who at the time, was searching for a female DJ to spin on their popular weekly teen talk show, Teen Summit. "I had to submit a videotape of myself, and then I was called to audition in person". Says Cocoa. "At the audition, I was doing turntable tricks they had never seen a girl DJ do before... getting on top of the table, scratching with my mouth... by the time I finished, I was drenched in sweat" She continued.
Cocoa is known for doing turntable tricks at shows... In the club, she has a versatile playing style that includes Hip Hop, R&B, Reggae, House, Classics, Old School & Top 40’s. She is respected worldwide and has traveled to DeeJay around the world to places that include Africa, Russia, Japan, Lonon, Switzerland, Greece & Germany (to name a few) as well as spinning LIVE for over 20,000 people at the world’s most iconic arena, Madison Square Garden for the New York Knicks halftime show.
Cocoa continues to grow, not only as an entertainer but as an international humanitarian. In 2018, While visiting South Africa to perform at the Times Square Arena, Cocoa used her time in Africa to fulfill her true life purpose of philanthropy and humanitarian services by providing food and shoes for children and families living in poor villages of Soweto.
"Visiting Soweto was the real highlight of my trip", says Cocoa, " spending quality time with the families there changed my life and made me even more appreciative of what I have. The kids there had no shoes, no money, and no electricity, but they were rich in love". she continued.
In the United States, Cocoa has been actively involved in prison reform. In 2018, she helped secure the freedom of one incarcerated man who spent 26 years in prison, with 22 of those years in solitary confinement starting at age 16. "having a child in solitary confinement is now outlawed because studies show how it damages the brain". said Cocoa. Soon after his release, she began working to secure freedom for two others.
"A lot of men in prison who come from the street have an influence on kids at a level that most don't have. The kids follow what they say. The men I have chosen to help have made a commitment to use their influence to make a positive difference in our communities".
When asked about being a Black Girls Rock award recipient and her involvement with mentoring young women and girls she replied: "I love working with young girls and women. I learned how important it is to lead by example. I do my best to let young girls know that it's ok to be yourself, and although bad behavior is the cool trend now... being a good girl is something for them to be proud of. No one is perfect, just be the best version of yourself". She says.
In 2019, Cocoa was featured as an opening act for the Black Girls Rock Awards, making it her first appearance at the awards since being present with the award back in 2009. went on a 53 City Live Nation arena tour with New Kids On The Block, and in 2020, Cocoa was on a European tour with legends Salt N Pepa, where they featured her doing turntable tricks during their show on the Blast Off Tour.
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