Roxanne’s Revenge: Former Hip-Hop Artist Doesn’t Get Angry, She Gets A PhD


Some stories make me want to run through the streets screaming “Take that ‘the man’!” This is one of them. Before Salt-N-Peppa were pushin’ it and Lil’ Kim was blowing your mind with her dirty bird lyrics, Roxanne Shante was blowing up the airwaves with her single “Roxanne’s Revenge.” She was just 14 at the time (it was 1984), and even though the song was a hit and her future looked promising, she didn’t achieve the same fame and fortune as the female hip-hoppers that followed in her footsteps. After some shady business (lying, stealing her royalties, the usual) with her record label, Warner Brothers, she realized that they were slippery bastards. By 19, she was a bitter has-been—a broke teenage mother living in the projects. But Roxanne decided to truly get revenge when she found a life-saving clause in her contract, which stated that the record label would fund her education for life. Guess they thought a young, poor mother would never want an education? Wrong! Roxanne not only went to college, she went on to get her PhD in Psychology from Cornell, and sent the $217,000 bill to Warner Brothers. Of course it was a struggle to get them to cough up the dough, but eventually Roxanne was able to. Call her “doctor” now; because she earned her doctorate in 2001, and went on to launch a therapy practice focusing on urban African-Americans. The coolest? She often incorporates hip-hop into her sessions, encouraging her clients to unleash their inner MC. As if that weren’t enough, she also offers $5,000 scholarships each semester to female rappers and gives advice to young women in the music business. This kind of revenge is seriously sweet. [NY Daily News]

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