Note to all child and teen entertainers out there check out Roxanne’s record contract. Roxanne Shante had a hit about twenty-five years ago, when she was just 14, with her song “Roxanne’s Revenge”, a rapped response to UTFO’s song “Roxanne, Roxanne”.
Roxanne was hip hop’s first female star. She recorded two albums but was “disillusioned by the sleazy music industry and swindled by her record company.” She was a teenage mother and was living in the projects and felt her life was “shattered.” She told the New York Daily News that, “Everybody was cheating with the contracts, stealing and telling lies. And to find out that I was just a commodity was heartbreaking.”
But then she remembered a clause that was built into her contract. Her label Warner Brothers would pay for her education…for life. She parlayed that into a $217,000 education fund allowing her to earn a Ph. D in psychology from Cornell. But getting them to cough up wasn’t easy, “they kept stumbling over their words, and they didn’t have an exact reason why they were telling me no,” Shante said. She now thinks that perhaps the clause in the contract was just “a throwaway” and that it would never be acted upon. But they were wrong, very very wrong. Shante finished school in 2001 and is now working with the urban African-American community to address mental health issues.
She’s also giving back. Every semester she gives a $5,000 college scholarship to female rappers through a non-profit called the Hip-Hop Association.
So all you up and coming kid stars, get this “throwaway” in your contract too. Education is the best revenge just ask Roxanne.
Check out this old school clip: