PSA: Will The Real “Dr. Roxanne Shante” Please Stand Up

October 5, 2015

Last week the blogs were thrilled to hear about the news of 80's rapper Roxanne Shante' receiving her PhD in Psychology, and making her record label from more than two decades ago, Warner Music, foot the $217,000 bill.

From the gate, the story seemed to be missing a few pieces, and according to Slate, a subsidiary of  the Washington Post, the whole thing was all psychologically make believe.

Could it be?  Did Roxanne Shante, who's real name is Lolita S. Gooden, tell a flat out lie when she told the New York Daily News that she earned her doctorate, and launched an unconventional therapy practice focusing on urban African-Americans?

Celebrities and major magazines alike have spoken on and applauded her success – hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons was even quoted saying, “Shante is a shining role model for the rap community. “Dr. Shante's life is inspiring. She was a go-getter who rose from the struggle and went from hustling to teaching. She is a prime example that you can do anything, and everything is possible.”

It's shocking that Slates investigation of Roxanne's story reveals:

  • 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.

There's more….