Don’t Go Calling Roxanne Shanté A Doctor Yet
File under things that are a bummer for multiple reasons: The New York Daily News story about Roxanne Shanté exploiting a clause in her contract with Warner Music Group and getting the company to fork over $217,000 toward her education—which went all the way to Ph.D. level–from a few weeks ago? Well, it’s apparently not based in anything resembling fact, according to an exhaustive investigation by Slate. Shanté—neé Lolita Gooden—admitted to Slate freelancer Ben Sheffner with an acknowledgement that she didn’t have a Ph.D, so anyone calling her a “doctor” is off the mark. (She still claims to have a master’s degree from Cornell, but Sheffner couldn’t even find evidence that she’d earned a bachelor’s degree.) And now the author of the Daily News‘ original story is nowhere to be found! Ugh. The full list of findings:
* According to Warner, neither it nor any of its subsidiary record labels ever had a contract with Shanté, and it was not obligated to pay for her education. Indeed, there’s no evidence that it ever did. * Shanté—real name Lolita Shanté Gooden—doesn’t have a Ph.D. from Cornell or anywhere else. Indeed, she admitted it in an interview with Slate. And Cornell has no record of Gooden (or “Shanté”) ever attending or receiving a degree. * According to Marymount Manhattan College records, Shanté enrolled there but dropped out less than four months later without ever earning a degree. * New York state records indicate that no one named Lolita Gooden or Roxanne Shanté is licensed to practice psychology or any related field.
It should be noted that, as far as the first point goes, Shanté’s label, Cold Chillin, had a distribution agreement with WMG that started in 1987; the two parties wound up battling in court over copyright infringement in 2006. Anyway, there’s much more at the link, in case you want to have all of the goodwill you may have felt when the story originally went around sucked right out of you. Man, Daily News! That’s twice now in the space of a couple of weeks! You used to be my paper of record growing up, and I’m starting to feel more than a bit conflicted about that. Roxanne’s Nonexistent Revenge [Slate] Earlier: Roxanne Shanté Knows That Living Smart Is The Best Revenge