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October 31, 2014

Advocates Demand The NYPD Stop Handcuffing 5-Year-Olds

Handcuffs
Chris Mathias

Man Convicted Of Double Murder In Landmark Case Released From Prison

Alstory
ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Problem With That Catcalling Video: They Edited Out All The White Guys

171248054
olaser via Getty Images

Ta-Nehisi Coates On White Supremacy And A Life Of Struggle

Ta Nehisi Coates
Leigh Vogel via Getty Images

It's About Time Someone Other Than Straight White Males Got To Be Superheroes

Chadwick Boseman
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Twitter Account Leaking Details About Ferguson Investigation Was Hacked, Prosecutor Claims

Bob Mcculloch
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Why Black Women Are Less Likely To Survive Breast Cancer

Black Woman Patient
Siri Stafford via Getty Images

Halloween: The Season for Culturally-Insensitive Fashion

Native Feathers
Milk & Honey Creative via Getty Images

Mitt Romney: Obama Hasn't Given The Poor And Minorities Enough Gifts

Mitt Romney
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Beyond Ferguson -- Unrepresentative Democracy in City Elections

Election
Blend Images - Hill Street Studios via Getty Images

Gun Violence: A Public Health Crisis for Black Women

Here Is Why 'Redskins' Shouldn't Be Heard On Television

No Honor In Racism
Red Circle Agency

California Health Officials Investigate Illness At NAACP Conference

Ambulance
PNC via Getty Images

Chicago Man Says Police Stormed His Home After He Was Just Walking Down The Street

Arrest Video
NBC Chicago

Cosby Has No One to Blame But Cosby for His Sullied Image

Bill Cosby
Todd Williamson/Invision/AP

Watch Nas React To Seeing An Ancestor's Bill Of Sale Into Slavery

Nas Finding Roots
PBS

Republicans Fear Price To Pay For Attacks On Black Interests

Vote
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Zambian President Michael Sata Dies

Michael Sata
Pool via Getty Images

Ebola Appears To Be Slowing In Liberia: WHO

Liberia
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Giants Are World Series Champions!

Giants World Series
Pool via Getty Images

Suspected Boko Haram Militants Attack Another Nigerian Town

Nigeria Soldiers
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Watch This Dancing Traffic Cop Tear Up The Roads With His Sweet Moves

Dancing Cop
WTHI

Meet The Guy Who Just Bought 6,000-Plus Neglected Properties In Detroit

2551 Fischer
Motor City Mapping

LOOK
Kansas City Star's Stunning Royals Front Page

Kansas City Royals
Newseum

Coke Is Targeting Nations That Don't Have An Obesity Epidemic... Yet

New Bill Sets A Precedent For ‘The Erosion Of Free Speech'

Mumia Abu Jamal
Lisa Terry via Getty Images

New York Police Study Reveals 'Stark Racial Biases'

Nypd
Travelif via Getty Images

When It's OK To Use The 'R-Word'

Cover Mouth Black
g-stockstudio via Getty Images

Meet 3 People Working To Ensure The Next Hurricane Sandy Doesn't Take Such A Terrible Toll

Hurricane Sandy
Spencer Platt via Getty Images

White House Fears Cyberattack Underway

White House
JIM WATSON via Getty Images

How Felons' Right To Vote Protects American Democracy

Voting
Blend Images - Hill Street Studios via Getty Images

Freedom Summer, 2015

Freedom Summer Civil Rights
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Groups Pledge $8 Billion For Horn Of Africa To End Poverty

Ethiopia Poverty
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Advocates Welcome Retirement Of Rikers Official Who Oversaw Violent Juvenile Facility

Rikers
NYC DOC

Ebola Researcher Raises $100,000 Via Crowdfunding

Ebola Clinic
John Moore via Getty Images

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23 Things Any 'Scandal' Fan Knows To Be True

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What Nelly Tries To Remember About Raising Kids Today

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Why Deion Sanders Will Never Be On 'DWTS'

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Chris Rock Shows A Totally Different 'Prince' In 'SNL' Promos

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Rihanna Gets Risqué For AmfAR

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The Real Story Behind Boyz II Men's Estranged Fourth Member

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'SNL's' Michael Che Takes Heat For Street Harassment Comments

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Things You Don't Know Your Natural Hair Can Do

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This Was One 'Thriller' Of A Baseball Game

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Viola Davis Explains Why The Wig Had To Come Off

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This Is The Greatest Boxing Moment Since 'Rocky'

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At Least Theophilus London's New Song Features Kanye West

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This Is What Happens When Fred Armisen & Ice-T Play Video Games

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Marvel's Making A 'Black Panther' Movie

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Man Arrested For Pot Tells Cops He's Denzel Washington

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13 Real-Life Struggles Of Perpetually Forgetful People

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Dionne Warwick: Don't Call Me A Diva

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That Time Blake Griffin Attended A 'White Party' At Donald Sterling's House

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David Oyelowo Talks 'Selma'

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Angela Bassett Really Doesn't Want To Sing On 'American Horror Story'

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FX

IT'S A GIRL!

Lebron James Savannah
Michael Loccisano via Getty Images

A Day in the Life With Angela Simmons: Girl Boss on the Rise

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Stephen Lovekin via Getty Images

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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