Roxanne Shante

It's Hard to Live a Lie When the Truth Is In The Room

Mic Drop is a recurring series featuring the thoughts and opinions of some of the biggest voices in classic Hip-Hop. Raw, uncut — and in their own words — these are the gems you've always wanted.


I've never really had spiritual, emotional, and financial freedom. It's all still a work in progress. However, Hip-Hop has contributed to a confidence that I bring into my every day life.

Hip-Hop allowed me to be able to have an income at a very young age, so I didn't have to worry about sacrificing certain things about myself in order to make money and take care of my family. I was able to walk into a place and be Roxanne Shante — knowing that when I put my hands on the microphone —  I was able to control my future in ways that other kids my age couldn't.

I'm the same person on stage, as I am off stage. It wasn't like I had to put on a costume, put on a different style, or become someone else. Because of that, it was very hard for the Hip-Hop gatekeepers to make room at the table for me.

I like to say it's because it's hard for them to live a lie when the truth is in the room.

Most people wouldn't want to say that their career started when they was going to do the laundry, but what the fuck is wrong with doing the laundry?! At least now you know I got clean clothes. I made a record and had clean clothes at the same time. Some people may have wanted it to be like, "No, you got to say that you made a demo." No, my demo was my hit record. It was just Marley and me. 

I never snubbed my nose or looked down at people.

I was always the same. I never understood why it was hard for people to get a regular job. It was brought to my attention that those are learned behaviors. You don't want to go and become a cashier, if you were nasty and mean to cashiers. You don't want to be the cleanup person, if you was nasty and mean to the cleanup person.

But for me, I never saw myself being more than them. I see all of us all on the same level. I treat a CEO the same way I teat the person who has no job, no food, and is sitting outside.

Everyone isn't like me because everyone hasn't been through what I've been through. It takes a lot to be molded this way.

Even after all the success, I still became part of the local three IBW electrical workers union which put me in a good position. Some people would say, "How did you manage that?" It's because I'm not above anyone else.

Hope is laughter. Hope is smiles. If I can just do that for one person, then I continue to have hope for the future.


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