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Thread started 09/02/09 1:57pm

bboy87

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Roxanne Shante lied not only about the Ph.d, but the funding

hey, wait a minute
Roxanne's Nonexistent Revenge
Heard about the rapper who forced her label to pay for her Cornell Ph.D.? It never happened.
By Ben Sheffner
Posted Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2009, at 2:15 PM ET

It was the feel-good story of the summer. According to the New York Daily News, Roxanne Shanté, a 1980s female hip-hop pioneer famous for the 1984 underground hit "Roxanne's Revenge," had finally gotten her own revenge on Warner Music, the record label she accused of "cheating with the contracts, stealing and telling lies," to avoid paying her what she was owed. How? After valiantly fighting, reported Daily News freelancer Walter Dawkins, Shanté had convinced Warner to honor a contractual agreement to "fund her education for life." Warner ended up paying more than $200,000, Dawkins reported, to finance Shanté's education, which Shanté said included an undergraduate degree from Marymount Manhattan College and a Ph.D. in psychology from Cornell. And now, said the Daily News, "Dr. Roxanne Shanté" has "launched an unconventional therapy practice focusing on urban African-Americans," in which she "incorporates hip-hop music into her sessions, encouraging her clients to unleash their inner MC and shout out exactly what's on their mind."

The story was endlessly blogged and tweeted, heralded as an example of a heroic triumph by a girl from the projects over her evil record label. Credulous music-industry critics lapped it up; Techdirt, after stating flatly that Warner had "tr to cheat out of her contract," reflected the online sentiment: "It's nice to see how Warner Music actually did some good in the world, even if it had to be dragged there kicking and screaming."

One problem: Virtually everything about the Daily News' heartwarming "projects-to-Ph.D." story appears to be false.

An investigation by Slate has revealed:

* According to Warner, neither it nor any of its subsidiary record labels ever had a contract with Shanté, and it was not obligated to pay for her education. Indeed, there's no evidence that it ever did.
* Shanté—real name Lolita Shanté Gooden—doesn't have a Ph.D. from Cornell or anywhere else. Indeed, she admitted it in an interview with Slate. And Cornell has no record of Gooden (or "Shanté") ever attending or receiving a degree.
* According to Marymount Manhattan College records, Shanté enrolled there but dropped out less than four months later without ever earning a degree.
* New York state records indicate that no one named Lolita Gooden or Roxanne Shanté is licensed to practice psychology or any related field.

In the course of several phone interviews and exchanges over Facebook's internal e-mail system, Shanté—who refers to herself as "Dr." and "doctor"—admitted that she never received a Ph.D. The Daily News, which trumpeted the false accomplishment in its headline, made a "mistake," she said. And she insisted that she received an M.A. from Cornell. "I got my master's in psychology. I didn't complete my Ph.D.," she admitted. But according to Cornell records, provided through a service called National Student Clearinghouse to which the university directed me, Cornell "was unable to locate either a degree or enrollment record for the subject of your verification request."

Marymount Manhattan College records, also provided through National Student Clearinghouse, indicate that "Lolita S. Gooden" attended "02/06/1995 to 05/23/1995" but did not earn a degree. "Student withdrew for the semester and never returned," according to a notation from Marymount Manhattan. And in an interview, Marymount Manhattan communications director Manny Romero confirmed: "She was only here for the three months in 1995. She did not graduate from Marymount Manhattan." Romero would not discuss the source of Shanté's tuition money, citing federal privacy laws.

Told of the records indicating she attended only briefly and never graduated, Shanté maintained that she "absolutely" received a B.A. from Marymount Manhattan in 1995. "I didn't attend graduation ceremony; at that time I was …" her voice trailed off. "I had my own reasons for that." Yet she insisted: "Yes, I do have a diploma." Shanté did not respond to a request for a copy, and Marguerita Grecco, the Marymount Manhattan dean who, Shanté told the Daily News, fought Warner on her behalf, did not return several phone calls and e-mails seeking comment.

In a subsequent e-mail, Shanté wrote, "I also attended College under an alias, because of a Domestic Violence situation" and speculated that she "made a mistake on an application and put my old name so maybe that's the reason for the computer error?" But she was unable to substantiate such claims.

In a prepared statement, Warner denied that it ever had a contractual relationship with Shanté, explaining that "her agreement was with an independent record label known as Cold Chillin' Records." According to court documents reviewed by Slate, Shanté's record label Cold Chillin' did have an agreement with Warner starting in 1987 to distribute Cold Chillin''s records—a common arrangement between a major company and an indie label. But Cold Chillin' was not owned by Warner, and, in fact, those two companies ended up battling each other in court; in April 2006, a federal judge ordered Cold Chillin' to pay Warner $230,000 for copyright infringement.

And Warner's statement made clear that it had no obligation to pay for Shanté's education: "Our examination of that file ... has not revealed any evidence of any 'education clause' in any agreement." Of course, Warner had no objection to her using any money she made in the music business to fund her education; it just wasn't Warner paying the bills: "Roxanne Shanté's story is a compelling one and we wish her all success in her good works. ... In fact, our view is that artists' compensation can be put to many good uses; if Cold Chillin' guided this artist's compensation to education expenses that would certainly be a worthy one."

None of the half-dozen music industry sources contacted by Slate for this article had ever heard of a record label making an open-ended commitment to finance an artist's education.

Although the Daily News article said Warner declined to comment about the newspaper's allegations, Warner Music Group spokeswoman Amanda Collins denied that the Daily News contacted WMG for its Roxanne Shanté article. "No one at the company was called for comment on this story," she told Slate. "It's quite possible he attempted to reach someone at a subsidiary label, but he did not contact Warner Music Group directly."

When Slate told the Daily News about the problems with the story this morning, spokeswoman Jennifer Mauer said the newspaper would look into it. Slate has so far been unable to track down freelancer Walter Dawkins, who wrote the Daily News story; the Daily News has not responded to requests for his contact information.

There is also no evidence that Shanté's original record label, a small indie called Pop Art Records, ever promised to finance her education. I spoke with Jonathan Black, an attorney who represented Pop Art 1982-88. He said he negotiated the company's 1984 recording contract with Shanté, signed by both her and her mother, since she was a minor at the time. Black, who no longer has a copy of the contract—he stated in a sworn declaration filed in federal court that the company's copy was destroyed in a flood—is confident that it contained no obligation to pay for Shanté's education. "I'm sure that I didn't negotiate a contract that covered that kind of arrangement. I never did anything like that," he told me.

In a reversal of the common "my label ripped me off" scenario, Pop Art actually sued Shanté in 2005 after allegedly discovering that that Shanté was trying to rip off Pop Art by seeking to collect license fees for music whose copyright was owned by the label. The case quickly settled, said Paul Rapp, an attorney who represented Pop Art in the lawsuit. For her part, Shanté told me that she never had a contract with Pop Art, suggesting that her mother may have entered into an agreement with the label without her consent.

When told of Warner's denial that it financed her education, Shanté repeated, "Hip-hop paid for my education, kept me from going to the streets." But she was unable to provide detail. "To my knowledge, that is exactly where the checks came from. … All I know is that it was done." In a later e-mail, Shanté wrote that she was informed by Cold Chillin's former CEO Tyrone Williams that Warner "along with another party that chose to stay anonymous paid for my education." Shanté did not respond to Slate's request that she put us in touch with Williams.

Shanté's claim to be a "doctor" also fails to check out. She's not a medical doctor, and she admits (and Cornell confirms) that she lacks a Ph.D. And a search of the New York Office of the Professions licensing database fails to reveal licenses to practice psychology or in any related field for either "Lolita Gooden" or "Roxanne Shanté."
Ben Sheffner is an attorney and journalist in Los Angeles, currently employed by NBC Universal. While an attorney in private practice in the early 2000s, he represented numerous AOL Time Warner entities, including several Warner Music Group companies, on issues unrelated to Roxanne Shanté. Sheffner blogs at Copyrightsandcampaigns.blogspot.com. The views expressed here are his own.

Article URL: http://www.slate.com/id/2227090/
"We may deify or demonize them but not ignore them. And we call them genius, because they are the people who change the world."
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Reply #1 posted 09/02/09 2:04pm

Timmy84

OUCH! Talk about busted! eek
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Reply #2 posted 09/02/09 2:14pm

Purplestar88

She been telling this story for quit a while. I saw her on different shows telling the story long before the New York Daily News reported on the story. I am surpised that She got away with the lies this long.
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Reply #3 posted 09/02/09 2:18pm

Timmy84

Didn't the Real Roxanne or MC Lyte diss her a while back in the '80s?
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Reply #4 posted 09/02/09 2:55pm

Cinnie

doh!
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Reply #5 posted 09/02/09 3:00pm

SCNDLS

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faint

Well, I'll be . . . I guess she hornswaggled us all. She's been talking about this for YEARS. Didn't that fool know it would be easy to get busted in this day and age of everything and everyone being accessible through the net???

I even said on that other thread with the original story a few weeks ago that this was an odd clause to have in a record contract and that I'd never heard of such a thing. disbelief
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Reply #6 posted 09/02/09 3:05pm

ToraTora17

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these are the days of wild....
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Reply #7 posted 09/02/09 3:06pm

Bree8016

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tisk, tisk. disbelief
How can I stand 2 stay where I am? / Poor butterfly who don't understand.

last.fm/user/thisbreeze
twitter.com/_breeahnuh
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Reply #8 posted 09/02/09 3:12pm

thekidsgirl

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thats really sad and shameful sad
If you will, so will I
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Reply #9 posted 09/02/09 3:13pm

Timmy84

So I guess I should just post this:

http://www.imeem.com/djme...ff-up-hoe/

lol
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Reply #10 posted 09/02/09 3:49pm

SoulAlive

Timmy84 said:

Didn't the Real Roxanne or MC Lyte diss her a while back in the '80s?


How many Roxannes were there? lol Is Roxanne Shante the one who appears on the UTFO song? I don't think she is.There's another lady known as "The Real Roxanne" who had a hit in 1988 called "Respect".She's Puerto Rican (I think).
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Reply #11 posted 09/02/09 3:51pm

Timmy84

SoulAlive said:

Timmy84 said:

Didn't the Real Roxanne or MC Lyte diss her a while back in the '80s?


How many Roxannes were there? lol Is Roxanne Shante the one who appears on the UTFO song? I don't think she is.There's another lady known as "The Real Roxanne" who had a hit in 1988 called "Respect".She's Puerto Rican (I think).


Two Roxannes. And yes it was the Real Roxanne that was on the UTFO video of the song "Roxanne Roxanne". That's who they based the song on (the Puerto Rican one, lol) For SOME odd reason, Roxanne SHANTE thought UTFO were talking about her. So this 14-year-old decided to make a diss to them, lol. lol
[Edited 9/2/09 15:51pm]
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Reply #12 posted 09/02/09 3:52pm

Ottensen

DAAAAAY-um, she got busted eek ...
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Reply #13 posted 09/02/09 3:58pm

PurpleCharm

Wow!
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Reply #14 posted 09/02/09 4:02pm

SoulAlive

Timmy84 said:

SoulAlive said:



How many Roxannes were there? lol Is Roxanne Shante the one who appears on the UTFO song? I don't think she is.There's another lady known as "The Real Roxanne" who had a hit in 1988 called "Respect".She's Puerto Rican (I think).


Two Roxannes. And yes it was the Real Roxanne that was on the UTFO video of the song "Roxanne Roxanne". That's who they based the song on (the Puerto Rican one, lol) For SOME odd reason, Roxanne SHANTE thought UTFO were talking about her. So this 14-year-old decided to make a diss to them, lol. lol
[Edited 9/2/09 15:51pm]



Thanks for clearing that up wink
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Reply #15 posted 09/02/09 4:03pm

Timmy84

I'm amused at her REAL NAME: Lolita Shante Gooden

Why was she calling herself Roxanne then? eek
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Reply #16 posted 09/02/09 4:04pm

Timmy84

SoulAlive said:

Timmy84 said:



Two Roxannes. And yes it was the Real Roxanne that was on the UTFO video of the song "Roxanne Roxanne". That's who they based the song on (the Puerto Rican one, lol) For SOME odd reason, Roxanne SHANTE thought UTFO were talking about her. So this 14-year-old decided to make a diss to them, lol. lol
[Edited 9/2/09 15:51pm]



Thanks for clearing that up wink


Welcome, oh and her real name ain't even Roxanne. falloff
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Reply #17 posted 09/02/09 4:06pm

Timmy84

Aw hell naw:

In a subsequent e-mail, Shanté wrote, "I also attended College under an alias, because of a Domestic Violence situation" and speculated that she "made a mistake on an application and put my old name so maybe that's the reason for the computer error?" But she was unable to substantiate such claims.
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Reply #18 posted 09/02/09 4:19pm

missmad

damn I feel like crap, I'm the one who put the story on the org in GD

sad
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Reply #19 posted 09/02/09 4:24pm

Timmy84

missmad said:

damn I feel like crap, I'm the one who put the story on the org in GD

sad


Don't feel bad, you were just posting it. comfort
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Reply #20 posted 09/02/09 4:27pm

SCNDLS

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missmad said:

damn I feel like crap, I'm the one who put the story on the org in GD

sad

Girl, that ain't your fault but can you imagine how the reporter feels.
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Reply #21 posted 09/02/09 7:04pm

Harlepolis

I don't believe it hmph!
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Reply #22 posted 09/02/09 7:17pm

Timmy84

Harlepolis said:

I don't believe it hmph!


Well it didn't come from a tabloid, it came from Slate so... shrug
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Reply #23 posted 09/02/09 7:19pm

candy2277

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I guess she really wanted to be important. How does she making her living? Its been a long time since she last had a song out.IMO, a lot of these rappers are full of shit.
Prince believes he is a musical prophet that has been chosen by Jehova to guide his fans to the "truth".
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Reply #24 posted 09/02/09 7:46pm

Timmy84

OK, apparently, I just did research on the other "Roxanne" and her real name ain't Roxanne either. The fuck?! falloff
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Reply #25 posted 09/02/09 7:52pm

phunkdaddy

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I was hoodwinked too but given her history i'm not surprised.
Don't laugh at my funk
This funk is a serious joint
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Reply #26 posted 09/02/09 7:53pm

AlexdeParis

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shrug Hell, she's old school. Hip-hop is all about boasting. lol
"Whitney was purely and simply one of a kind." ~ Clive Davis
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Reply #27 posted 09/02/09 7:59pm

Timmy84

AlexdeParis said:

shrug Hell, she's old school. Hip-hop is all about boasting. lol


Nah, nah, she was lying about getting education, that don't fly, Alex. lol
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Reply #28 posted 09/02/09 8:00pm

Timmy84

phunkdaddy said:

I was hoodwinked too but given her history i'm not surprised.


Tell me more. reading
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Reply #29 posted 09/02/09 8:18pm

AlexdeParis

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Timmy84 said:

AlexdeParis said:

shrug Hell, she's old school. Hip-hop is all about boasting. lol


Nah, nah, she was lying about getting education, that don't fly, Alex. lol

Well, you don't see people asking for Dr. Dre's degree, do you? lol
"Whitney was purely and simply one of a kind." ~ Clive Davis
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