In 1984, MC Roxanne Shanté-nee Lolita Gooden-recorded the brash “Roxanne’s Revenge,” which launched the Roxanne battles and made the 14-year-old hip-hop’s first female celebrity. (Watch the video here : What’s amazing is how she’s simultaneously so cool and so awkward. And you must respect that sweater.)
Shanté left the business at 19 after two more albums, “disillusioned by the sleazy music industry and swindled by her record company,” according to a piece from yesterday’s New York Daily News . But then she remembered that her contract with Warner Music had a clause that promised the company would fund her education for life-and Shanté rode that clause all the way to a doctorate in psychology from Cornell.
Warner didn’t part with the money easily, though:
“They kept stumbling over their words, and they didn’t have an exact reason why they were telling me no,” Shante said.
She figured Warner considered the clause a throwaway, never believing a teen mom in public housing would attend college. The company declined to comment for this story.
Shanté now runs a therapy practice for urban African-Americans and funds college scholarships for female rappers.