Wanda Dee: World Tours and the Business of Goddess Empire

Wanda in the Center with artists associated with her firm.
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Wanda Dee: World Tours and the Business of Goddess Empire

 

This journalist took this Covid-19 lull to contact a busy show biz executive while she and her husband were cooling their heels at home.  Wanda Dee and her husband and manager Eric Floyd, are the co-producers, promoters and managers of their entertainment company, Goddess Empire.  Goddess Empire, LLC and Goddess Empire Entertainment is a full scale production organization that has worked with several celebrities and produced world tours in an all-star cavalcade of US and world talent via Eric Floyd’s Old School Party and Eric Floyd’s Grand Divas of Stage.  Their multimillion dollar annual revenue is garnered via the World wide tours box office, concession and merchandise receipts.   I wanted to talk with women of color who run their own businesses so I approached  Wanda and her husband, Eric, who co-pilot their entertainment ship.  Each applying their own skills and expertise to flourish their entertainment endeavors.  I asked Wanda how she was coping in their  Las Vegas residence while the nation is under the thumb of Covid-19.

“As you know, we are Vegas strong and compliant with the CDC.  Even though the vaccine will be available soon people should still wear masks and take precautions like social distancing,” remarked Ms. Dee.  She continued to talk about the vaccine that is still being tested: “As for the vaccine, I’ll wait!," chuckled the cautious star. 

Although presently residing out west, Wanda got her beginnings on the east coast.  “I was born in Harlem and raised in the Bronx, NY.  I got into the entertainment biz because I loved dancing around the house as a little girl for family.  Eventually, I started singing at family reunions.  I was star struck.  I watched super stars on TV like James Brown, Lola Falana, Tina Turner and Diana Ross.  And now here we are through my company, Goddess Empire, promoting quite a few artists through Eric Floyd’s Old School Party and Diva Fever Revue.  We have a lot of fun with that!” said the first female inducted into the Universal Zulu Nation and Hip Hop's first female D Jcast personally by Harry Belafonte in his urban cult classic “Beat Street.”

Under the unpredictability of the Coronavirus, many cities have curtailed restaurants, theaters, movies and anywhere people congregate in numbers.  Politicians, medical and governmental officials counsel Americans to wear masks, gloves, hats, social distance, clean and disinfect their environment and frequently wash hands to stem the spread of the virus.   Unfortunately, many businesses are closed without a clear determination of when they can reopen, if they survive the loss of income that is.  People are worried. Many are unaccustomed to being out of work and in some cases being without money and spending so much time with family.  One really has to apply every positive attribute they have to avoid fear and depression.

“I feel blessed, “said the grateful singer/dancer.  “Although Covid-19 has put our business at a temporary stand still and thrown our scheduling off, we have no alternative but to comply with CDC rules and take each day at a time.  Since we are presently unable to perform, a day for me begins with prayer.  I meditate. I give thanks for my blessings. I continue vocal lesson, and talk business with my husband.  Then it’s family time: we watch movies, play games, cook together and have fun as a family.  I call up loved ones and stay connected with my friends like Dionne Warwick, Freda Payne, Ernestine Jackson, Vivian Reed, Scherrie Payne, et al. 

This journalist wondered how the couple secured finances to pay the expenses that keep their shows on the road since the couple and their assembly of performers spend 10 months of the year performing locally and internationally.  “We incorporated in NYC in 1988.  From the beginning we've always self financed our world tours.  After all, ownership is where the real money is.   However, we love what we do.  So as a couple we formed promotion and management branches of Goddess Empire.  We enjoy our work, so it’s no longer work.  It’s like a working vacation.  In my opinion, experience is the best teacher.  In show biz you need balls of steel and loads of job experience.  Like all businesses, the success comes with the relationships you build.  If you build good relationships the right way and keep them, especially with your audiences, staff, executives and press, you have already won.  True talent always comes to us.  The only time I seek out talent is when I’m holding auditions for musicians/dancers for my world tours.  Anything you see me doing on TV is the brainchild of my husband Eric Floyd.  Those are his creative endeavors.  We are a team in business. It is like driving and owning a car.  We both own the car but only one of us can drive the car at a time.  When it comes to running our households ( there are at least a half dozen in the U.S. alone), I am the driver.  When it comes to being on stage and singing before the crowds, I am the driver there too.  But when it comes to the management of my overall productions, rehearsals, touring particulars and backstage, Eric's’ the driver.  My husband is also a gifted writer.  He is the script writer and creative business brain, so I do not step into his lane.  I write my own song lyrics and publish through my company, Wandee Music/ASCAP.   Eric and James London recently co-wrote a movie script called “Tainted Love.”   Eric wrote East Side Story in 1988 which I appeared in, and my husband also produced and co-starred in himself.  He also discovered and cast Latin superstars Corina, Iris Chacon and Marc Anthony. " 

Wanda was the only female DJ/rapper signed to the U.K. production team of Stock, Aitkin & Waterman on PWL Records where she debuted “Blue Eyes.”   Her skills were noticed by KLFs interns Bill Drummond and Jim Cauty who enlisted her vocals and writing skills for Britain's #1 selling singles band of the 90s, The KLF, on Arista/BMG for "What Time is Love," and "Last Train to Trancentral" on the White Room album. With over 35 million albums sold globally which included hits "What Time Is Love?, "3am Eternal," "Justified and Ancient,"  and "Last Train To Trancentral. Solo CD singles and album releases followed such as "I Wanna See You Sweat,"  "I Like It Hard," and "The Goddess Is Here"  These successes have kept Wanda Dee & Company on the road with her exotic hip hop/jazz dancers for the past 30+ years.

Show business can be a nasty business, a tough and demanding business, so it takes lots of guts and determination to survive; although talent helps.  Wanda concurred and shared her thoughts on the subject.  “The greatest entertainers know there is a lot that goes into show business but that’s part of the job.  It is not as easy as it may seem.  Those seemingly flawless shows are put together by hours of rehearsals, dancing and voice lessons.   I have to make sure I use my voice properly. Sometimes luggage gets lost but the show must go on,” recalls Dee.  “The airline lost my luggage while we were in Copenhagen. I had no makeup, hair, shoes, costumes, nothing!  I had to scramble and go into town and purchase all I needed until the airline found my luggage but that was after  the show was over.   Through our management and promotion company, we promote James London, our son, sIAMeze, Johnny Diablo and veteran superstars like Vanilla Ice, Vivica A. Fox, Connie Francis, Dionne Warwick,  Freda Payne, Vivian Reed, Ernestine Jackson,  Sister Sledge, Full Force, Thelma Houston, Iris Chacon, and The Emotions, to name a few.  In fact, under Eric Floyd’s Grand Divas of Stage, he brought 2 megastars together, Dionne Warwick and Connie Frances.  They sold out for 3 nights in a row at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel in Vegas.  That was phenomenal.  It was a show that had never been done before..  Believe it or not, both Dionne Warwick and Connie Francis share the same birth date, December 12th.

“Eric and I own all our own intellectual and creative properties outright. Also being on the road performing at concerts for 10 months out of the year for 35+ years allows us to have the monies to finance our own projects. We haven’t had to make much adjustment for Covid-19 because since the 80s, we have combined peroxide and alcohol making our own self made concoction we call "peroxihol" (made of 50% peroxide and 50% alcohol).  We wipe everything down.  Have done that for over 30 years.  We sanitize airplane seats, elevators, limos,  dressing rooms, microphones, and constantly wash our hands because we deal sometimes with hundreds of thousands of people a night.  So, we do what we can to make sure we stay healthy since we perform in stadiums, arenas and at festivals.  In fact, as soon as the world opens back up, we plan to headline at the Rezerection Festival in New Castle, England on May 1, 2021.  We’ll go on to other dates in Norway and throughout Europe, etc.  We will be back in time for  the reopening of  Eric Floyd’s Old School Party in Vegas.  The Old School Party is an amalgamation of classic hip hop, dance disco and soul artists of the 70s, 80s and 90s,” explained The Goddess of Goddess Empire.

Wanda Dee has gone from working her way up from night clubs to festivals and stages all over the world.  She has grown from a DJ to an international pop recording star, filling venues across the world and country. So successful has she been over the years, she became a millionaire by age 25.  Today, she and her husband own Wanda's recording masters/record label (G.E.R.L) , publishing company, production house, management agency, restaurant, 2 hotel resort properties and vast real estate holdings in 7 U.S. states and 6 countries on 3 continents.  Her personal liquid net worth is conservatively estimated at upward of $66 million dollars.   "My advice to young folks is first and foremost they have to be crazy to be in show business.  Those entering the business must be passionate about their art, learn the business and remember always apply humility, loyalty, gratitude, fortitude and courage and have the ability to maintain and build relationships.  And if you don’t have rhinoceros skin, you may as well get out of show biz and become a cashier.”

Wanda explained how her husband dubbed her  “The Goddess.”  “When Eric and I first met he crafted the image of the Goddess and being that I am hip hop’s first female DJ and then went on to be the first glamorous female rapper, he initially dubbed me The Goddess of Rap.  Infused in my image were glitz, glamour, sensuality, strength and wisdom.  Then Eric guided me from hip hop into Global Pop, the Electronic Dance Music (EDM).   We dropped the “Of Rap” part and kept the moniker of “Goddess.  ‘After all, the Goddess is an Image, the mother of creation, a symbol for women in every nation that beauty, body, brains, and sophistication can co-exist within glamorization.  There is a Goddess in every woman.“


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