Roxanne, Roxanne, an upcoming biopic that chronicles the meteoric rise of young rapper Roxanne Shanté is set to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2017. The project stars Nia Long and Chante Adams alongside Mahershala Ali, and is produced by Forrest Whitaker and Pharrell Williams.
Shanté first rose to fame in the late 80’s at the age of 14 after penning a response UTFO’s hit “Roxanne Roxanne.” Her track “Roxanne’s Revenge” was written from the point of view of the woman mentioned in the original UTFO song. “Roxanne’s Revenge” spurred what became known as the “Roxanne Wars” after another rapper, The Real Roxanne, called Shanté out with her own track.
Shanté released only two albums throughout her career and quit the music industry at the age of 25. Her career trajectory is often looked at as an example of the pervasive issue of sexism in Hip-hop and the ephemeral nature of overnight success. The upcoming biopic will delve into Shanté’s rise and fall.
Co-star Mahershala Ali talked about how Roxanne, Roxanne is unlike most music biopics, in an interview over the summer
“Usually when you look at hip-hop films and biopics you think, this is a story of this album, or how so and so came up in the business… But it explores why she kind of disappeared and got derailed, to some degree. I believe that’s going to be a film that really grabs people as well, because it’s very nuanced compared to a lot of music biopics.”