There’s Three Sides to Every Story…

“He’s profiting off of a dead person, what a low life,” “I want everyone to know the truth about him,” “He always used her for his personal gain,” (just to state a few)… I think the first thing that I would say, is that I wish I had all of this power and so called money that everyone’s assuming I had. If I did, would I be a 30-year old teacher, and working all of my other side jobs to make ends meet in this society we live in today? Definitely not… I think because things often get misconstrued and perceived, people have to take that as the end all and be all, and usually as face value. It’s just the norm of our society. Yet, we forget that there are always three sides to every story. However, people have only seen one that is totally warped as of late, and have gone on the attack just because they chime in at the expense of someone else’s name, feelings, and overall reputation. As soon as they see the use of threatening language like the term “it’s on,” they decide to suit up and go to war for someone who has no regard for their mere existence.

Therefore, the first thing I want to say, because I’m entitled to, and it’s owed to me, is the opportunity to clear my name. We only have one thing in this world that we truly own and that’s our name. Mine is a damn good one. Anyone who knows me, knows what I’m about. It doesn’t bother me that people in my local community and surrounding area are seeing malicious things being said to me and about me by a bunch of strangers and attention seekers. They see who is at the forefront of it, and realize that person is all smoke and mirrors, and not really what she tries to portray herself as here in our community. Actually it’s quite hypocritical. What bothers me is that I have to see my mother so upset with the fact that someone who is a mother of her own is leading a crusade against someone else’s child, and deep down she (the accuser) knows the accusations she’s throwing out there are false and totally wrong. What bothers me is to see my mom reading all of these people’s words that are like sharpened daggers being tossed at me, and watching her become angry at the fact that people could be so vicious to attack someone and slander someone they know nothing about, just because a family member of a deceased television star gives them permission to. Everyone keeps saying, “let her rest in peace etc…” I ask you this, how does she rest in peace when you keep throwing bad energy into the universe, and desecrate her name while doing so? But then I stop and think… that is too much for them to process. They can’t think that morally and ethically. I know for a fact that my mom would never do this to anyone’s child, especially someone that she had a great respect for. That’s a big disappointment. Talk about true colors being revealed. My mom is a class act and a true lady, and that is why she is the most important part of my entire being.

The only thing I can say to combat such behavior is shame on them. These are the same people who as I’ve read their comments, but didn’t respond back, took a look at their personal profiles and saw what they had to offer to society. I have to say, not much. They are a bunch of people hiding behind a screen name and a picture of something other than themselves. That’s a very deep-rooted issue. Something I sure as hell can’t fix. They live in the identity of a social media profile because their lives are not what they want them be, so they chime into the reality TV world and thrive on gossip and abuse. They hide behind their AVI’s and grammatically incorrect profile headers… What I realized from this is, why wrack your brains out trying to prove and justify who you are, and what your about to irrelevant people? Trust me, that’s exactly what you are, irrelevant. The downward spiral of today’s society, that’s what you are. I hate to say this, even the person egging you on to bother me, does not give two ounces of you know what about you (insert poop emoji here, cause that’s all they’d understand)! She never did and she never will. You’re just chess pieces on the giant table of this facade game that is going on.

I’m an open book; never hid anything and am not about to start doing so. Many know my contributions to society, and I think my character is far from questionable. What I do want to say to everyone who commented on the recent posts and joined in on the attack of me is this… The same mouths and fingers that you spoke and wrote such filth and vile language from are the same mouths and fingers you kiss, speak to, and touch your children with. You take a second and think about how angry you’d become if someone did that to your child or better yet, slandered your good name, just because someone created a platform for them to do so. It’s just not right and is absolutely cruel. But you have to live with that… I sure as hell don’t.

Someone who claims to be a community activist and a philanthropist on her own, and someone who is all for causes and being morally right, and all about doing the right thing does not go on a mission of having a bunch of people attack someone based on one side of a story that people know nothing about. Someone who owns businesses and is the matriarch of her household, and is respected enough in her community shouldn’t set such a disgusting example of making it okay to attack someone else, when she is strongly against bullying and the lowest forms of it, especially to attack someone that really was always there through thick and thin and at the drop of a hat, and she knows that. At times I put my personal life and family on the back burner to be by her side through a lot (along with her family), because that’s how high of a regard I held her to. After all friends are supposed to do that. We don’t keep score. In fact I even read some people comment, “there’s gotta be more to this, he was extremely close with her…” I never said I was her family or tried to be her family, but I’ve actually heard her time and again address me to many people by saying, “Vinnie is family…” One thing I can say is, if this is how you treat your family, what do you do to your enemies? I for one know, my extended blood family on social media is not liking what they’ve seen as of late, but we are a different class and make of people. We don’t attack others. They’ve sat silently and watched, and didn’t write back, knowing the truth all along. We don’t gang up on people and bully them. It wasn’t instilled into us and it’s not part of our make and being. We were taught that if you have something in question or want to speak to someone about, you call or visit them and hash it out at the table. Anyone with real street credibility knows you don’t wear things on your sleeve; you handle business correctly and accurately. Dirty laundry never gets brought to the public and you never let outsiders see what goes on behind closed doors. This is even something Angela strongly lived by. It’s in fact how she even wanted to be seen on social media. If you noticed she never engaged in anything negative or have confidence to it. Yet all of you so called “fans” of hers did and are doing exactly what she loathed. That just goes to show that you’re no better, and have absolutely no regard for her as well.

I’ve never had to justify or explain myself to anyone, and I never feel I should have to. But in this case, because of my moral code, and because I’ve had people reaching out to me for support, I’m going to. Over the last two days I sat and seriously thought about how I want to approach this, and multiple plans and ideas came up. So I finally cooled down and thought to myself that anyone can sit and spew venom, but few can take the high road and choose their words to write and speak eloquently. I’m an educator and have students, and this is just another way for me to teach a lesson, and let them see that you don’t always have to come out of your face and combat negative with negative.

For all of the bloodsuckers who want the other side of the story to put into their irrelevant blogs, and post on their social media threads, I’m stating plain and simple facts, and here goes…

In 2012 when Big Ang first blew up on television, yes her sister and brother in law reacquainted me with her. No one ever took that away from her or her family. However, my family did know Angela for many years because of the same circles of people and places they’ve frequented. I can’t elaborate much more on that, but you get the point… In fact, my father used to bartend with her in nightclubs and places that his cousin owned. Ang was always a staple in our family, but I’d known her as a hello and goodbye when I was a kid. When we reacquainted, that’s when she realized who I was, who my family was, and all of the dots connected.

Upon her rapid rise to the top, she was getting pulled in many directions, as would any star that is the newest and hottest commodity on the scene. She really was larger than life. I simply offered support and assistance when needed or asked upon, but never over stepped my bounds.

Janine Detore (Ang’s sister), helped her sister very well in the beginning, and was aligning all of the pathways for her sister’s career, but was also a mom of seven and a business owner. So it was almost impossible for her to do everything, and believe me, she did everything! One day she had asked me after Angela’s book came out to go on an appearance with Ang. So I did… I assisted. I have had an extensive background in road management and organization for other people in the industry that I worked with prior to Ang. Most of who are singers of the disco and freestyle genres of music; some dance singers and radio personalities too. I knew what it took, was never star struck, and stayed completely organized, while most importantly, being extremely reliable to whomever I represented. Anyone who ever met me on an Angela appearance would tell you I did the job well, and she was a big job! We meshed well together; she was by far the best to work with. I simply and naturally took care of business. That’s when she decided to ask me to be part of her team, and I graciously accepted. I escorted her on her appearances sometimes driving; other times handling the business end, but mostly always as a volunteer effort. Angela was very good to me. Would offer dinner, and be her usual generous self when it came to making sure everyone was treated well when with her. However, there was never any money being made off of her, or behind her back. I was literally enjoying good company with someone who quickly went from a celebrity to my friend, and eventually was an aunt figure. She used to introduce me to people as a nephew because it was easier than explaining the lineage of our connection.

What impressed me most about Angela was how much people adored and flocked to her. I’m very fortunate for the great things I saw during our times out and about. All the while, her husband Neil, her girl friends, nieces and nephews, as well as others would accompany us on these appearances. It was great! Everyone had a blast and she truly shared it with all she encountered, but Angela always remained the central focus and was the star, at least when I was around I made sure it was that way. She was always represented in a high regard, and never would I allow room for any promoter or venue to say she or her entourage were anything less than great for the evening. I cannot speak for things I didn’t go on because my personal career sometimes conflicted. I too work in entertainment (on the side) from singing, to DJing, and hosting, and at times was away on personal appearances of my own. I had already had my own name and surely wasn’t sponging off of hers or hanging onto her coat tails looking for fame off of Big Ang. She earned her spot, and if it’s meant to be, I’ll earn mine. I had to say this because that too was another accusation thrown out about me. Anyone who worked with us knows it was never about me when I worked with Angela. I wish I could say the same for a lot of other things, but it’s unfortunate that there are people sometimes closer than you think who can’t separate the two. This was just my observation as I watched quietly and saw it happen. Angela was always the boss. I could suggest things to her, but ultimately what she wanted was what went on, and I was okay with it as long as she was.

By this time I was already graduated from college with a degree in media communications and sciences, and was working on my masters. Therefore my extensive work in radio and marketing was vast enough to be able to offer information on brand promotion, and driving traffic of fans to social media accounts. Angela had an active social media presence but it was very demanding, and needed growth.

In 2014, I was asked to take over her social media, which at the time was being worked on by her niece Jeannie. Jeannie did a great job, but was also a young lady at the time in high school, and was leading her own life. She was being a normal teenager, and at times the social media demanded a lot of attention and stuff that would conflict with other personal commitments that a student in high school needed to focus on. Angela asked me at that point to help her with the social media, and it was sticky at first because I felt like it was taking away from her niece who I was friends with, and didn’t want to create waves. But Angela assured me, that she wanted it this way, it was nothing personal to her niece, she just needed more going on with the accounts and that she would explain this to her family. Jeannie and I discussed it and there were some concerns, but overall we were okay, or at least that’s the impression she gave to me. It was a fine discussion between two friends. However, Janine had a very serious issue with it, and I was put in a bad spot in the beginning because she felt I moved in and stole something away from her child. It was somewhat of an awkward beginning, but when I assured her that I was not controlling Angela’s image, and that everyone’s input is valid to the growth of Angela’s brand, she eventually agreed. At times though, she would throw it in my face that I had stolen something from her kid, and I know now that she never really got over it. That certainly wasn’t the case. I just grin and bared it and moved on from it avoiding confrontation. Mind you, I’ve never been paid or compensated for ANY social media work. It was not a paid position, and people can vouch for this, but it was surely a lot of work. I’d be on conference calls, email chains, endorsement meetings; photo consults, and even read up on certain ways to clean up the accounts. It definitely was way more than people would ever imagine the social media world to be, but I quickly got the routine of it and worked well with everyone who came along and wherever Angela went.

You have to look at it this way, Angela knew she was a rapidly growing star on the rise and was aligning herself with people and a team to help her handle her business, not because she was pushing her family away, but because we were simply people with experience and credentials to make the job work cohesively. In fact Janine’s son Louis is a fantastic hustler and representative, and worked well at getting his aunts appearances. I’d escort as road manager, he would handle her hospitality and business, and we would report it live via social media. We were also of age to enter these bars, clubs, casinos, and venues. So it all fit together nicely. We built a great rapport with fans, carried ourselves well, and we’re always nothing less than consummate professionals when out and about. Jennifer Graziano, Angela’s manager was often busy with her other clients and work, so she left it up to us, but always knew and approved of what we did.

If anyone working a career in their specific industry wanted to grow within whatever it is they do, they would seek professionals who know how to carry out the protocol and business of the job. That’s just what Angela did when it came to having us around. She was smart. She had young people who knew the way to play the social media game, and network with people so she could be interactive with her fans via social media and at appearances. We were glad she was realizing this. She was a brand, and a successful one at that!

All the while as this was happening, concurrently I was part of a growing a relationship with Angela’s family, and likewise they were doing the same with mine. We all really were close! My intentions were always 100% in the best interest of Angela and she knew it, as did her other siblings who always thanked me for looking out for their sister. When Miami Monkey came out, I also was asked to assist work with Raquel on the show, but she was good at doing things with her stuff so I often guided her with certain things, and gravitated back to Angela’s demand. My point is, I never overstepped. I was asked and I accepted. I never took it upon myself. Angela was always in charge and called the shots!

My role of work with social media was to engage fans, live tweet what Angela was actually telling me to say during shows, post photos when she’d send them to me for Instagram, and live report at any event she went to. As for doing the business end, when she would go for interviews or press, yes it was a job in itself to manage the media while assisting her, but we made it work. Anything you see of her, which is my work, portrays her as exactly who she was on and off camera; real, humble, and transparent to everyone who followed her. That was part of her likability and charm. Again I’ll say… I never took a dime. She at Christmas would give me a little token of appreciation from Gucci, her favorite place to shop, and one birthday a pair of beautiful Lacoste shoes, but I really enjoyed lunches or dinners with her. They were simple! The conversation was great, and that’s when she could turn off the celebrity and have down time. We especially loved eating won ton soup out of plastic containers in the car. She’d even text me to come sit next to her at the nail salon so she could map out the weekends appearances plan with me, while she relaxed. This was actually the place where we had our last conversation together before she fell ill and was unconscious. Yes Angela was normal! I never replaced anyone in her family; I just was in a different realm of someone she needed to keep contact with for her daily interaction with fans, and for her career. She would often go out on her own downtime with her girls and I never escorted, unless it was an appearance. She would do dinners with her family and have private time; I was invited, but always-respected time and place. Janine knows this too. Others always flocked, I stayed aside knowing, I have my time when it’s required and needed, she doesn’t always have to work or be in work mode. Of course there were family functions I’d DJ, or nights of just hanging out at the bar, but I too was a friend to Angela and we had love for one another. It kills me every day that she’s not here, but I was also told that I couldn’t possibly be grieving her loss, not just by her sister, but also by fans that have no clue who I even am, or what our friendship really was. Only my grief is not just for Angela, but it’s for the loss of a true friendship that I loved and cherished with her sister. Janine knows this too because I’ve said it to her. Anything I’m saying here is not a big secret, it’s just becoming common knowledge to everyone who feels they need an explanation as to my involvement with this woman’s career. Few times I’d appear on TV in cameos as a DJ for the show or events and was never compensated. VH1 was very good to me, as was Left Right and Just Jenn Productions. I never wanted to be the focus of attention, again, I was asked and I accepted. People began following me because let’s face it, they want to follow anyone affiliated with their favorite celebrities because it gives them a more inside look into that celebrity’s life. At times I’d post Angela on my personal social media, but didn’t gloat my friendship or relationship with her. She recognized that… Real recognizes real! The only times I was seen on her social media was because she liked the way she looked in the picture with me and would say, “that’s nice… Post it!”

Now we make it to the part I hate talking about the most, and that’s the end. On Valentine’s Day, I visited a very sick and incoherent Angela who was definitely closer to the end, and it broke my heart. It was more silent, sitting and watching her sleep, kissing her forehead, and just taking in the last moments that I will ever have with this person who has now been so important in my life. It hurt… If I could I’d lay there for her, as would her other friends and family. She was a good woman who did great things for everyone, and unfortunately was suffering.

I received a call on February 17, that I should make my way to hospital from Neil (Ang’s husband), who was actually by her side for the entire end of it all. I just figured I’d mention that seeing how everyone who doesn’t know anything, listens to a story line on reality TV and believed that Neil wasn’t there. Actually he was right along side Angela’s children and their father as well. You can’t get much more tighter of a family unit than that. What everyone saw play out on TV was shot well in advance, and let me ask you this… Do you really think a real husband and wife dispute would just go on television like that? You really think someone would fight with his or her spouse on television for the world to see? I know I wouldn’t… Come on people… Anyway, I get to the hospital and realized that this is the last day I’m going to see my friend, and walking in there with Angela’s girlfriends, thought to myself, the next time I come out of this hospital will be the reality of the fact that we came here to see her pass. There was no light at the end of this dark tunnel I was walking into. It was very sad. We prayed, did a lot of crying, tried to find peace, and battled the press as they announced false stories of her passing. At 1:30am, I held her sister Janine’s hand in the hospital and we prayed in the room together with the entire family and friends gathered at Angela’s bedside. I had done the rosary over Angela earlier in the evening when I arrived. I’m a devout Catholic and am also an ordained Eucharistic minister. On weekends I also teach religious instruction to children in the church. There was so much love in that room surrounding her. 3:01am came and Angela took her last breath. It was the inevitable, but peace came over her for the first time since her horrid diagnosis. I literally watched someone who controlled life and every aspect of it, succumb to the vulnerability of someone needed to be cared for and practically immobile. This is not who she was or what she would’ve wanted. So I kissed her head and left the hospital at about 4:30am. On my way out Neil, and her children’s father pulled me aside as I was grieving and stopped me at the elevator. There they asked me (because of how I publicly wrote for Angela and spoke well), if I could write and deliver one of the eulogies to be said on the weekend at the funeral parlor, and I humbly accepted the honor. Again I was asked, and I accepted. First thing I said was, make sure it’s okay with the rest of the family, and they assured me not to worry about it. I was also asked to release a statement that night informing her fans via the media of her loss. It was the hardest post to ever make… I remember how quickly everyone began following and offering condolences, yet here we are three months later and the same “loyal people” are slandering and attacking my character because of false accusations. I’ll have you know, later on in the morning after she died, every public periodical and news corporation found a way to reach out to me for interviews and comments regarding her passing. It got to a point that they found my fathers cell phone number and home phone number and were calling. I shut my phone off and declined even speaking about it. Now I assure you, if I was trying to gain a name off of Angela’s death, wouldn’t that have been the perfect way to do so? I said it earlier, if it’s meant to be, my time will come.

Upon delivering the eulogy, my words were spoken truthfully and from the heart. It described her character, who she was, what she was about, and all of her behind the scenes paying forward of her fortunate blessings to many in need. It was time for the world to know what she really did, and what she really was about. I never in a million years thought it would go viral on the web, and all over the globe, but it did. Again, it wasn’t about my name, all just about Angela. Her send off was as amazing as she was! Patron all around, beautiful and elaborate flower pieces (which she actually wasn’t a fan of flowers), disco music (which I was asked to supply), and over 9000+ people in two days passing in and out to pay their respects, let alone another 400+ at the church, and about 100 at the cemetery. She was dressed to the nines and gorgeous, and went out as big as she lived! I recently found out Janine was unhappy with my words of comfort offered to the entire family, and didn’t feel I should’ve been asked to deliver a eulogy, even though Angela’s children thanked me and asked me to do so. Now one would think she’s going to rest peacefully right? Until the drama kicks in…

SO HERE’S THE PART OF THE STORY THAT LEADS US TO WHERE WE ARE TODAY…

Neil, Raquel, and AJ are the executors to Angela’s estate. Angela’s lawyer Stephen Spinelli handles all affairs of the estate. It’s all common knowledge. I was ready to give up all rights to Angela’s social media, until they (Neil and Raquel) asked me to keep the accounts active as memorial pages to celebrate Angela’s life and legacy, but that they would supervise all content. We don’t just post things when we feel like putting them out there. Every post is calculated and approved of by them before being sent to me, and before hitting post; they’re re-proofed for accuracy. I am not in charge of anything whatsoever, I do not make decisions, am not at liberty to approve of any materials nor can give anyone access to any of her social media accounts unless being told to do so by the chain of command, and I honestly feel that again would be overstepping of boundaries. I had to agree to these terms, as well. But why would I agree to keep the pages open and post? For Angela’s fans who were always good to her. Never wanted my name listed as curator, was told it had to go there… Never wanted to be a visible presence, but was told to let the fans know who’s running it. Everyone was good to Angela, and we felt they deserved to have her memory stay alive. Raquel wanted it more for the grandchildren to one day grow up and see who their grandma was, so I agreed, again being asked and not being compensated. It’s a labor of love out of respect for Angela, and being over seen by her family.

For reasons that I can’t speak about and aren’t at liberty to state, other situations happened that created waves between the aunt and the niece, which lead to them not speaking at the moment. Raquel and I speak often, and yes it’s true, her aunt blocked her on social media and has not spoken with her. However, that has nothing to do with me.

About two months ago, Neil, who signed everything in the estate over to Angela’s kids and took NOTHING monetary from his wife’s estate, decided the best way to honor his wife was by throwing a memorial concert and fundraiser. Two things Angela loved, disco/dance music and charity. Some of MY friends in the industry along with Gigi Neglia who is an agent and artist manager decided to DONATE AND VOLUNTEER their services to perform for a concert at a venue that was booked for us by Diane Gattullo another close friend of Ang’s. As far as my involvement for the show goes, I’m the host for the evening, and I made a few calls to assist in production organization. I have not signed any contracts or made any agreements whatsoever to be compensated or receive monetary wealth from this event. Anyone who knows what charity means knows that this is the case here. Artists on the line up liked Angela, and she worked with most of them. They agreed to do a favor for Gigi and I based on our names and reputations in the music industry. Three charities will be benefitting from the proceeds of the show. The LGBTQ Community CHASI Organization (which Angela adored), the Hungerford School on Staten Island (which Big Ang and her fundraising team Big Ang’s Angels always worked exclusively with), and an organization geared towards providing help for young adults with addiction (which was a personal cause she wanted to zone in on and work with before she passed). The family was asked to be part of the event; they respectfully declined and said they were grieving. That’s fine and understandable, but then why post malicious and negative comments under the promotion in memory of your sister on her Instagram?

This passed Friday when that occurred, I was advised to remove Janine from the social media and block her from the accounts because it was not the first time she had posted something negative or offensive against the estate on social media. So in my opinion, she attacked the wrong person. Not that anyone should be attacked, but she should’ve gotten the facts straight. I was working at my school when all of this went down, and had no clue what was even going on, but had to follow orders from the executors of Angela’s estate. Her daughter Raquel does want specific items and words posted, and when she does, I have to post verbatim and with the photos she sends, all pre-approved of course. They too have the passwords and are always on it. No one excluded Janine but Janine.

There are over half of a million followers on the page that is dedicated to Angela. No body wants Angela’s followers for themselves, except for those acting out and causing unnecessary drama. She then continued to ask people to report a verified account of a celebrity as an imposter and is making the legacy of Big Ang look secondary to the forefront of the drama. This is certainly what Angela was not about, and would actually be very ashamed of all of this nonsense. It is now to the point where we are considering eventually shutting down all of Angela’s social media because of this ugly situation. If fans choose or chose to un-follow because of this, that’s their prerogative, but since they joined in on the slandering and bashing, it’s time for the truth to be revealed.

My personal character has been attacked based on allegations and accusations, none of which are true. I don’t expect people to apologize, because it takes a bigger person to realize that they are dead wrong and own up to the ugly things they say. I’ve had a great support system around me the last few days, and it has come out of the woodwork. The concert will go on as planned, tickets are for sale, and all of the funds are going right to the three organizations mentioned earlier in this blog. This is a very long-winded and drawn out statement, but it’s my only defense against the pure evil and hatred that has been disgustingly put out about me. I will not lower myself to that level of cruelty, I always choose to go above it and let it speak for itself. Thank you for reading this, and for motivating me to stay true to who I am and what I am about. For those who wrote vicious comments and threats on inboxes, all of those comments and social media profiles have been turned over to Instagram legal and are being looked into for slander, defamation of character, and cyber-bullying including those who have started the mass attack.

What’s the take away from all of this? People need to learn that it’s okay to stand up for yourself and not be scared to speak out, even when you feel alone or backed into a corner because of someone who seems stronger at one particular moment. I WILL NOT fall victim to any negative comments or false accusations about my good name and character. The only person who suffered in all of this is poor Angela whose name has to be at the center of it all, when she should be resting peacefully. I have slept fine these last few nights knowing I never did anything wrong on my part, and have always had Angela’s best interest at heart. I wish the best for those who are driven by malice intent.

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