Black News, Entertainment, Style and Culture - HuffPost Black Voices
iOS app Android app More
February 26, 2015

ONE STEP CLOSER

Bill Clark via Getty Images

Faces From Ferguson: Ashley 'Brown Blaze' Yates

Ashleyyatespersonalonetimeuse Ashley Yates

In the basement of St. Louis' Saint John's United Church of Christ at the end of the Labor Day weekend, Yates recounted almost a month's worth of harrowing encounters with a militarized police force to a room of Black Lives Matter freedom riders. She woefully explained that as the days bled into one another, she began "marking days by police tactics."

'Stand Your Ground' Laws Are Still On The Books In 22 States

Trayvon Martin
File Photo

Warren Moon: Marshawn Lynch ‘Isn't A Dumb Kid' When It Comes To The Media, Won't Retire'

Warren Moon
Kevin Mazur via Getty Images

U.S. Criminal Deportations and the Future of Black Immigrants

African With Us Flag
Ailbhe O'Donnell via Getty Images

How My Dad Became A Black Queer Feminist

Queer Black Feminism
HPL

STUDY: Diverse Casts Deliver Higher Ratings

Fast And Furious
Universal

3 Sentenced For Racist Attack That Killed Black Man

Deryl Dedmon
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Science Shows What's Happening Inside The Brains Of Blind Musicians Like Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder Smile
Jim Ross/Invision/AP

Giuliana Rancic Apologizes AGAIN For Racist Hair Comments

Giuliana Rancic
Gilbert Carrasquillo via Getty Images

No Planes, Trains Or Automobiles Necessary For This Black History Trip

Apollo Theater Sign
Arnaldo Magnani via Getty Images

Why Do We Keep Comparing 'Empire's Female Characters To Real Housewives?

Cookie Empire
FOX via Getty Images

Marissa Alexander, The One Who Lived

Marissa Alexander
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Stars Who Have Effortlessly Rocked Locs

Lauryn Hill
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Thinking About the Safety of Black Lives Beyond Policing

Police Ferguson
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ben Carson: It Would Be 'Too Depressing' To Outline All The Obama Administration's Failures

Ben Carson
Scott Olson via Getty Images

This 50-Year-Old Malcolm X Speech Is Eerily Relevant Today

Malcolmx
Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

Chicago High School Students Pay Tribute To Kids Killed By Guns

Grad
Kim Shay

Melissa Harris-Perry Hopes Trayvon Martin 'Whooped The Sh-t Out Of George Zimmerman'

Melissa Harrisperry
Shahar Azran via Getty Images

How To Create A Sustainable Black Future

Ferguson Protest
MICHAEL B. THOMAS via Getty Images

Solange Offers Awesome Reaction To Giuliana Rancic's Racist Hair Comments

Solange Knowles
Michael Stewart via Getty Images

Jamaica Decriminalizes Small Amounts Of 'Ganja'

Jamaica Pot
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Tiffany & Co. Celebrates Diversity In Love With Moving New Ad

Tiffany Diversity Ad
Tiffany/YouTube

#WeAreJada: Honoring the Courage Of A Young Rape Vicitm

Black Hands Holding Candle
Lalith_Herath via Getty Images

This Is What It Means To Be Afro-Latino

Afro Latinos
All Images Via Getty

Watch Will Smith Crush The 'Fresh Prince' Theme Song On 'Ellen'

Will Smith Fresh Prince
NBC via Getty Images

Senator: Public Safety Director Appointed Amid Ferguson Fallout Plans To Resign

Missouri Capitol
gnagel via Getty Images

DOJ Not Filing Charges Against George Zimmerman For 2012 Killing Of Trayvon Martin

George Zimmerman
Handout via Getty Images

The Positive Numbers About Young Black Men

Black High School Graduate
Purestock via Getty Images

103-Year-Old Civil Rights Icon: 'Thank God I Learned That Color Makes No Difference'

Amelia Boynton Robinson
ASSOCIATED PRESS

CEO Of Company Trying To Predict Repeat Criminals Is A Repeat Criminal

Sean Hosman
ASSOCIATED PRESS

FOLLOW HUFFPOST

    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    3. View all RSS feeds

Ice-T Reveals He's Actually The Voice Of 'Dora The Explorer'

Icet
NBC/Nickelodeon

Oh No! Lupita's Oscar Dress Was Stolen

Lupita Nyongo
Steve Granitz via Getty Images

7 Times When Cookie Spoke The Truth On 'Empire'

Cookie Empire
FOX via Getty Images

No Respect For Hip-Hop's O.G.s: Why Many Legendary MCs Still Need To Hustle

Public Enemy
John Davisson/Invision/AP

'Empire' Co-Creator Is 'Gutted' By The Bill Cosby Allegations

Lee Daniels
Arnold Turner/Invision/AP

Here's The Timberwolves' 'Welcome Home' Video For Kevin Garnett

Garnett
YouTube

Apparently This Is How Kim Kisses Kanye

Kim Licks Kanye
Insttagram

Will Smith Continues His Nostalgia Streak With 'Summertime'

Will Smith Jimmy Kimmel
Randy Holmes via Getty Images

Beyoncé's Workout Video Is BEYond Motivational

Beyonce Workout
Instagram

Everything You Need To Know About That Beyoncé College Class

Beyonce
John Shearer/Invision/AP

Mic Check: Here's Why Hip Hop Hasn't Grown up Yet

John Legend
Kevin Winter via Getty Images

Kelly Osbourne Threatens To Quit Fashion Police' Over Zendaya Controversy

Zendaya Kelly Osbourne
Cindy Ord via Getty Images

Kanye West Just Debuted Another New Track

Kanye West
Brit Awards

LeBron James Wants College Coaches To Stop Recruiting His 10-Year-Old Son

Instagram
Instagram

Damon Wayans Comedy Tour Sidelined

Damon Wayans
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Bobby Brown Cancels Australian Tour To Spend Time With Bobbi Kristina

Bobby Brown
Kris Connor/BET via Getty Images

How 'Empire' Co-Creator Drew On His Firsthand Experience With Homophobia

Empire Lee Daniels
Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

Shonda Rhimes Was Not A Fan Of Lady Gaga's Oscars Performance

Shonda Rhimes
Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

Watch LeBron James Diss McDonald's, Then Remember They Pay Him

Lebron James
Allen Einstein via Getty Images

Ilene Chaiken, Empire Executive Producer, Gives Details About the Most Explosive Episode Yet

Ilene Chaiken Empire
Arnold Turner/Invision/AP

'Pimp My Ride' Was Way More Fake Than You Thought

Pimp
Myspace

Retta Shares 6 Stories About Filming The 'Parks & Rec' Finale

Retta
NBC

Naya Rivera Is Going To Be A Mom!

Naya Rivera Ryan Dorsey
Jonathan Leibson via Getty Images

Wesley Snipes Lands New Gig!

Wesley Snipes
Allen Berezovsky via Getty Images

The Empowering Advice Women In Hollywood Would Give To Young Girls

Women
BuzzFeed

Iggy Azalea Doesn't Think The Hip-Hop Community Gives Her Enough Respect

Iggy Azalea
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin via Getty Images

Street Image Helps Young Rapper, Until It Doesn't

Bobby Shmurda
Bennett Raglin/BET via Getty Images

You'll Never Guess Michael Sam's Next Big Move...

Michael Sam Football
Steve Granitz via Getty Images

What A Childhood Newspaper Job Taught Berry Gordy About Race

Berry Gordy On Oprahs Master Class
OWN

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

Comments (43)

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.

Comments: (43)

Add a comment

Page 2 of 5

Add a Comment

Please keep your comments relevant to this blog entry. Email addresses are never displayed but they are required to confirm your comments. When you enter your name and email address, you'll be sent a link to confirm your comment, and a password. To leave another comment, just use that password."