As it turns out, ’80s rapper Roxanne Shanté never actually earned her doctorate degree.
News that the former lyricist of “Roxannne’s Revenge” fame had gotten Warner Music to pay for her tuition while she pursued a Ph. D. originally surfaced in the New York Daily News last week. Since then the story, boasting righted wrongs has been spread about the blogosphere.
Roxanne had told the Daily News that the label stiffed her on royalties by "cheating with the contracts, stealing and telling lies.” Financing her college career was a way to make amends. The paper reported that she eventually earned her Ph. D. from Cornell University and went on to create a type of therapy, aimed at urban Black people, that utilizes hip-hop as a way to talk about problems.
Although it was an inspirational story, it’s a complete fake, according to Slate.com. Warner told the Web site that it never had a contract that required it to pay for Roxanne’s education and neither did any of its imprints
And Cornell University has no student record for Lolita Shanté Gooden (the rapper’s real name), so they definitely didn’t give her a Ph. D. In fact the only college she’s attended is Marymount Manhattan College, but those record show that she only attended classes there for about three months.
Furthermore, there are no New York state records that Roxanne is even licensed to practice psychology.
Even Roxanne admits that the story isn’t 100 percent accurate because she told Slate that she hasn’t gotten her doctorate, but she insisted that she has received a master’s degree in psychology from Cornell.
But what about the fact that neither Marymount nor Cornell has proof of her attending or completing a degree program? Roxanne speculates that she may have made a mistake on an application when she wrote in her last name.
“Maybe that’s the reason for the computer error,” she suggested in an e-mail. “"I also attended College under an alias, because of a Domestic Violence situation."
— Sonya Eskridge