I’m not going to rehash the whole story here because it’s all over the webz, but when I heard how the feel good/made it out the hood story about former teen rapper, Roxanne Shanté, getting her record company to pay for her education (including an Ivy League Ph.D. in Psychology) turned out to be false, I wasn’t surprised. Not in the least. Oh, not that I thought a rapper from Queens couldn’t have accomplished such things…
That's Dr. Danielle Spencer now... as if she'd let you call her Dr. Dee Thomas!
I BEEN knew something was wrong because the Daily News article on this unique record contract and amazing rapper-turned-doctor referred to her as Doctor Shanté. People were repeating that mess on blogs, message boards, twitter and facebook. Dr. Shanté. Really? Um, wasn’t Roxanne Shanté your RAP name, one you dreamed up after hearing UTFO go in on some stuck up chick named Roxanne? How am I supposed to take you seriously when I’m seeking out a therapist and she’s going by her RAP MONIKER? Sure, we still call Queen Latifah “Queen Latifah” but she hasn’t left show business so it’s allowed. I bet if she were to become a surgeon or an attorney we’d call her Dr. Owens, Dana Owens, Esq.
All types of folks are known to fudge their resume and trump up their credentials and it’s pretty much accepted. Flat out lying about where you went to school and what degrees you’ve earned, however, is a douche move. It makes you look silly in the end and it’s an embarrassment that will stick with you forever. People like myself, working on 2nd and 3rd advanced degrees don’t appreciate it Ms. Shanté! It’s not like people go around telling everyone they’re rappers (oh, wait. nevermind. Anyhood, USA proves me wrong on that front).
It’s just that we would have always thought of little 14 year old Roxanne Shanté in her slicked back ponytail and doorknocker earrings rapping with the big boys and smiled. Now that she got our hopes up by faking the funk, people are let down and a bit peeved. If there’s one thing the hip hop community doesn’t tolerate, it’s a liar.
Hold up now. ALLEGED liar, because maybe she really did get those degrees. Maybe she is a psychiatrist that uses hip hop to heal her patients. Perhaps there was a mix up with the name she used to enroll (clearly, she’s not good at sticking with one name). It’s possible the record company wants to deny paying that money to save face and just maybe a couple of somebodies at Marymount Manhattan and Cornell have it out for the good rappin doctor. Slate could have it wrong just as easily as the Daily News. Even Russell Simmons is cosigning her! Gooden/Shante doesn’t seem to be fazed, though. As of last Thursday, her Twitter page was still posting links to articles like the Daily News piece (@DrShante. Hmph…if it’s her real twitter account). It doesn’t really matter to me how it turns out because either way, she’s still dead wrong running around as Dr. Shanté.