Roxanne Shante Biopic Releasing In 2017

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Yesterday I was asked the question if Roxanne Shante had a major impact on hip-hop. I said yes because she heavily contributed in the birth the hard core femcee. While listening to her songs "Trick or Treat" and "Big Mama",  I thought to myself "This is so Lil' Kim and Foxy Brown." Shante's background in battle rapping, her street attitude, razor sharp tongue, witty rhymes, and combat ready delivery gave emcees both male and female a run for their money. In fact, the entire 1992 "The Bitch Is Back" album was the precursor and somewhat of a blueprint album to "Hardcore", "Ill Na Na", two 1996 albums by Lil' Kim and Foxy Brown that created a major impact of the sex-positive, gangsta femcee.

From the title alone to the album cover showing Shante's jewelry adorned hand, red nails, holding a gun in a black lace garter, this brought in the era of the sassy, hard core female rapper who bragged on records how she made men trick their money on her. This is what made her stand out from her counterparts like Monie Love, Salt 'N Pepa, and Yo-Yo. Roxanne Shante represented a response to the anti-woman lyrics that had begun to infiltrate hip-hop's mainstream. While Ms. Shante may not be as known as her old school female hip-hop artist counterparts Queen Latifah and MC Lyte, her contribution to women in hip-hop is still evident to this day.

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I've always written about the absence of female emcees when telling the history of hip-hop. Too many blogs, documentaries, and books have either consciously or unconsciously left out the contributions of Black women in the musical genre. Hip-hop has always been male dominated, but women have always been at the forefront, active in all five elements, and even behind the scenes on the business tip. If anyone deserves a biopic, it's definitely Roxanne Shante. The film "Roxanne Roxanne" has been chosen for the 2017 Sundance Film Festival Competition and will star newcomer Chante Adams playing Roxanne, and Nia Long playing Ms. Peggy, Roxanne's mother. The film credits Roxanne, Forest Whitaker, Pharell Williams, and Ralph McDaniel as producers and Michael Larnell as the director.

The film will follow the story of 14 year old Lolita Goodman (aka Roxanne) who comes on the scene in 1985 with her legendary UTFO diss track "Roxanne Roxanne", her time with the Juice Crew, abusive relationship and disappearance from the music industry. The film also tells the story of Shante's upbringing in New York City's Queensbridge housing projects during the 1980's. There has been no definite details on the release date yet for the film, but it will be coming out in 2017. As a hip-hop fan and a fan of Roxanne Shante, I'm super excited for this film. I hope this film will educate the younger generation on one of hip-hop's foremothers, the history, and continue to pave way for more movie-styled recognition of women's activity in hip-hop culture.

Sources: Roxanne Shanté Biopic ‘Roxanne Roxanne’ Selected For 2017 Sundance Film Festival Competition

New Film About Hip-Hop Pioneer Roxanne Shanté Completes Production: ‘This Will Really Grab People’

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