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December 18, 2014

'We, As A Nation, Have Failed'

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What Happens When We Send Minors To Adult Prisons

Black Jail
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Al Sharpton Calls For Action Against Sony Executive

Al Sharpton
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Scott Walker Ready To Call In National Guard To Respond To Dontre Hamilton Protests

Scott Walker
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Obama Talks About His Own Experience With Racial Profiling

Barack And Michelle Obama
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Michael Brown's Father: 'I'm Real Tired Of Our Kids Getting Misused And Abused'

Michael Brown
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HuffPost Reports

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz Takes Powerful Step To Discuss Race With Employees

Starbucks
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14-Year-Old Wrongly Convicted Of Murder Exonerated 70 Years Later

George Stinney
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The Passing of Natural Hair Pioneer Titi Branch

Titi Branch
Getty

America's Oldest Black College Could Face Financial Collapse

College
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Key Witness In Michael Brown Case May Not Have Actually Seen Him Die, Report Says

Darren Wilson
AP

Jon Stewart Hits Back After Hannity Calls Jay Z A 'Crack Dealer'

Jon Stewart
Comedy Central

UPenn Fraternity Suspended For Using Beyonce Blow Up Doll In Photo

Blowupdoll
Phi Delta Theta

Obama Applauds LeBron James For Wearing 'I Can't Breathe' T-Shirt

Lebron James Obama
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How Giving Cameras To Formerly Homeless Detroiters Also Gave Them A Voice

Lucretia Portrait
HuffPost

49ers Player 'Terminated' Amid Sexual Assault Investigation

Ray Mcdonald
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Cop Designs 'Breathe Easy, Don't Break The Law' T-Shirts

Breathe
Facebook: South Bend Uniform Co.

Hillary Clinton: 'Black Lives Matter'

Hillary Clinton
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An Open Letter to Penn's Phi Delta Theta Fraternity for Their 'Beyonce' Blow-Up Doll Holiday Card

Racism
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U.S. Wealth Gap Hits Record High

Pew Research Center
Pew Research Center

Protester: We Can't Be Silent When Women Are Shot By Police

Aura Rosser
Aura Rosser

NFL Player Emotionally Explains Why He Won't Apologize For Protest

Andrew Hawkins
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Group Slams Bill Cosby For Comment About 'Black Media' Coverage Of Rape Allegations

Bill Cosby
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Race In Film: 'Criminality From People Of Color Is Viewed As Inherent'

Breakfast At Tiffany
Paramount Pictures

John Crawford III's Family Sues

John Crawford Iii
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9 Absurd Justifications For Police Killings Of Unarmed Black Males

Protests
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How School Suspensions Disproportionately Target Black Girls

Black Teens In Class
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Bill Cosby's Daughter Addresses Sexual Assault Allegations

Bill Cosby Daughter
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When White People See Themselves With Black Skin, Something Interesting Happens

African American Face
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Teen Boy Fatally Shot While Defending Twin Brother During Robbery

Demario Bailey Shot
Photo provided

Cleveland Police Union Refuses To Back Down From Criticism Of NFL Player For Tamir Rice Shirt

Andrew Hawkins
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Artist Collective Takes Responsibility For UC Berkeley Lynching Effigies

Noose
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Student Allegedly Pulled Over For Playing 'F--k The Police'

Fuck The Police
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Artists Explore The Many Influences Of Ebony And Jet Magazines

Jet

Protesters Chain Themselves To Oakland Police Headquarters

Oakland Police Flag
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This Is What It Looks Like When New York City Erupts With Cries For Justice

Millions March Nyc
Emily Kassie

Bill Cosby Says He Expects 'Black Media' To Remain 'Neutral'

Bill Cosby
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Police Nationwide Alter Tactics, Bolster Arsenal After Protests, Killings

Protests Police
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Black Churches Pray In Protest Of Police Brutality

Black Church
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Half of Black College Students Graduate $25,000 in Debt

Tamir Rice's Mom: I'm Looking For A 'Change For The Nation'

Tamir Rice

VIDEO
John Crawford's Girlfriend Aggressively Questioned After Fatal Shooting

Joe Crawford Iii
H/O

'It Doesn't Matter Where You're At -- People Have Guns Everywhere'

Newtown Anniversary
Twitter: VPCGLA

Shakeup In Haiti

Lamothe
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NBA Veteran Graduates From College, Nine Pro Seasons Later

Jarrett Jack Nets
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Pamela Wright's Son Was Shot Dead A Month After Newtown. This Is Her Story.

Pamela Wright
Everytown For Gun Safety

The Ezell Ford Autopsy Report Casts Another Glare on the Autopsy Debate

Ezell Ford
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Michel Du Cille's Stories Live On

Michel Du Cille
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Mississippi Women Plead Guilty To Hate Crimes

James Craig Anderson
Facebook

In Wake Of Troubling VA Report, Group Promises Nearly 2,000 Homes For Homeless Vets

Homeless Veteran
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After Honoring Eric Garner, LeBron's Voice Could Have Been Louder

Lebron James
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Police Arrest Suspect In Shooting Death Of Auburn Player

Jakell Mitchell Suspect
AP

Thousands March On NYPD Headquarters To Protest Police Killings

Washington Square
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These Powerful Signs Illustrate The True Diversity Of The #BlackLivesMatter Movement

Millions March
Sebastian Murdock

Interfaith Efforts Work For Reconciliation In The Central African Republic

Central African Republic
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45 Arrested After Protests In Oakland

Oakland Protests
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WATCH
Grieving Mothers: My Son Would Still Be Alive If He Were White

Eric Garner
CNN

16 Quotes To Remind America That Black Lives Matter

What Happened When Two Students, One Black and One White, Participated in a Peaceful Protest

Alex Q Arbuckle
Alex Q. Arbuckle

Do You Think Bill Cosby's Rape Allegations Are a Conspiracy?

Sexual Assault
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FBI Investigating Hanging Death Of Black Teen

Swingset
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'My Name Is Michael Sam, And I Am Unbroken'

Michael Sam Unbroken Video
YouTube

Maine High School Displays Poster Protesting Grand Jury Decisions

Lewiston High School
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Tamir Rice Death Declared Homicide In Newly Released Autopsy

Tamir Rice
Justice For Tamir Rice

Michel Du Cille, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photographer, Dies At 58

Michel Du Cille
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Undercover Cop Points Gun At California Protesters

Oakland Protesters
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John Crawford's Family To Join March In Washington

Joe Crawford Iii
H/O

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12 Gifts For Dad, The Most Impossible Person On Your Shopping List

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There's No One Reason To Dance. In Fact, Here Are 39 Of Them

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Jill Scott Set To Receive Major Honor

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Obama Names His Favorite Movie Of The Year

Obama Smiling
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J Cole
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Model Says Bill Cosby Drugged Her And Licked Her Toes In 2008

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'Selma' Star David Oyelowo: 'Eric Garner Became An American Problem'

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Black Captain America Leading Comic Book Diversity

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Titi Branch, Miss Jessie's Co-Founder, Dead At 45

Titi Branch
Getty

Angela Davis Explains How The 'Prison Industrial Complex' Profits From Black People

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'Selma' Director Ava DuVernay Slams Racist Sony Emails As 'Sad'

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Surya Bonaly
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Naomi And Jourdan Land Major Campaign

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Listen To D'Angelo's First Album In 14 Years

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This Roller Skating Man Just Elevated The Ring Bearer Game

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'Selma' Cast Wears 'I Can't Breathe' Shirts At Premiere

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The 22 Best Movies Of 2014

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Mayweather Says He Wants To Fight Pacquiao, Finally

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Roxanne Shante: Coming Clean, Saying Sorry, Being Thankful and Fighting Cancer

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Roxanne Shante: Coming Clean, Saying Sorry, Being Thankful and Fighting Cancer

In April, a New York Daily News article about how '80s rap music pioneer Roxanne Shante forced her record company to finance her college education (resulting in a degree from Marymount Manhattan College and a Ph.D. in psychology from Cornell University) tugged at the heart-strings of Hip Hop America. Soon after, a firestorm of controversy ensued when an article on Slate.com debunked the inspiring story.

Roxanne Shante (nee Lolita Shante Gooden) is widely recognized as the first female hip hop artist to break through the male dominated industry. At the age of 16, she became a household name with songs including 'Roxanne's Revenge' – an "answer" record responding to U.T.F.O.'s popular 'Roxanne, Roxanne.'

She offers Blackvoices.com some insight on the controversy and her very real life battle with breast cancer ... in her own words.


In March, I noticed a lump in my left breast, rather small at the time and didn't really know what I was feeling. So instead of going straight to the doctor's office, I started asking friends their opinion and trying to go by their experiences. It was such a stupid move. Well, I figured I was just getting older. A hysterectomy in my early thirties led me to believe that I would be fine. Another stupid move.

I let months go by – five months to be exact. The weight loss of over 40 pounds made me feel like, "Damn, this diet is finally working." But then I remembered I wasn't on a diet. So on a bright, sunny day in August 2009, I walked into Doshi center for a mammogram. I put on the gown and stepped up to the machine. As soon as the technician took my breast in her hand, she asked me how long had I had the lump. It's huge, she said. I made a joke, she giggled, but I was scared and angry that I had waited so long.

I was in denial. I even went so far as to ignore the letters sent by the lab that read: "Urgent!!! Please contact us."
I had gotten a call from the doctor, "I just received your images at my office and they have been trying to reach you for weeks. As soon as you get back to New York, you come to my office. This is your life."

I hung up, turned the phone off, walked out on the set and tried to pretend that the call never happen. But they did. And it showed on my face.

The doctors was a different story, however. This is how the week went. Headlines: 'No Ph.D. Roxanne's Revenge,' 'Where are you Roxanne?'

It was the '80s all over again, but this time not to spark a career but to end over 10 years of charities, pushing education and giving and helping people and not too mention 25 years of hip-hop. But that's nothing new. What about my children ? My 13-yea-old ? What if I die? So Tuesday another mamo, Wednesday ultrasound Thursday the bad news and then the surgery.

So I felt all eyes were on me to tell women how important it is for them to get checked. It is only by the grace of God that I have been able to survive. I have been blessed to not only have survived the pitfalls of an industry that has destroyed so many, but to also survive just the everyday struggles of surviving all the negative that has come my way .

Do I apologize? Yes, I do. But I am not asking for your forgiveness. I am sorry about a lot of things that I should've done differently. There were quite a few things that have been exposed with that article; the fact that I never received any royalties, the fact that I did go on to attend college (even if no Ph.D. was acquired), and the fact that at 14 years old and coming straight from the group home, I went on to create a career that even after 20 years of not making a hit record, was still pulling headlines.

My platform was only telling our young people to educate themselves before getting in this industry, and that your lawyer, accountant, manager and record company shouldn't all be under one roof or work together. No one ever told me that, so I felt the need to pass that along to our young people.

And now I have another testimony.

To be called Dr. Roxanne Shante was and is a privilege. But with that privilege comes pressure. I also had to live and talk like someone with a doctorate--not an easy task at all. I had to make sure that people felt healed and inspired after speaking with me.

And you know what? I accomplished that every time. But only with God's help.

So, yes, I apologize to all those who applied themselves and put in all the hard work that is required to acquire a Ph.D. I admire you all. But don't discredit all the hard work and sacrifices so many others have also done to also reach their goals.

I apologize again but I don't request your forgiveness, because I have already been forgiven by who matters: God. Sorry I can't hold my head down because my crown may fall off.

Life begins at 40.

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