Roxanne Shante made it big by becoming one of the first female Hip-hop stars to burst onto the scene after her 1984 single “Roxanne’s Revenge” sold 250,000 copies in NYC alone.
However, Roxanne spotlight didn’t shine for too long. Despite releasing two albums, she had been swindled by her record company, Warner Music. She was a teenage mom living in the projects with no future in the music industry… but just then she remembered a little clause in her contract with Warner Music, they had agreed to pay for her education for the rest of her life.
Of course, the record label tried every excuse to once again lie and cheat their way out of the contract. It was just then that Roxanne met the dean at Marymount Manhattan College, Marguerita Grecco. Once Marguerita told Warner Music that she’d go public with the story, they of course agreed to pay for Roxanne’s education… and how.
Roxanne eventually earned her PH.D. in psychology from Cornell in 2001 at a grand total of $217,000. With her ivy league education fully paid for, she started her own a therapy practice that uses some of her hip-hop experience during treatments.
In an interview with NY Daily News, Roxanne discussed her alternate therapy methods, “They can’t really let loose and enjoy life,” she said. “So I just let them unlock those doors.”She also discusses the challenges for inner city youth that need counciling, “People put such a taboo on therapy, they feel it means they’re going crazy,” she said. “No, it doesn’t. It just means you need someone else to talk to.”
This story made my day, a rags to riches tale of someone who simply wanted to give back to her community by helping young people face their problems and follow their dreams… oh yeah, and Warner Music getting fucked. Great stuff.