Roxanne Shante Speaks on colorism

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Roxanne Shante is one of the first female rappers to achieve commercial success. She became well known in 1984 after releasing Roxanne's Revenge in response to UTFO's track Roxanne Roxanne which was about a fictional character named Roxanne. Shante assumed the name Roxanne and implied that she was the lady that UTFO were referring to in their song. This was a bold move because 'Roxanne Roxanne' was a song about a girl that all of the guys wanted to be with. A little while after Roxanne's Revenge, UTFO's camp brought out an artist named The Real Roxanne. In her interview with The Breakfast Club, Roxanne Shante explained that when The Real Roxanne was brought out, UTFO's label said that Roxanne Shante wasn't the type of girl anybody would go after because of her tomboy demeanor and bushy hair, instead they would go for this light skinned girl with straight hair.


More than three decades later and many things are still the same. Men are still pitting women against each other stirring up animosity between females with their comparisons and put downs. There's nothing wrong with having a preference but it is wrong to put one woman down to make another feel good. Not long ago my cousin and aunt came to visit and my aunt was telling me what a great father my cousin is. She mentioned that my cousin was better with the kids than his wife. "She's a great mother!" My cousin quickly proclaimed. "Don't put her down because you want to praise me." It was an awkward moment but it needed to be said. If my cousin had let his mother's comments slide she would have continued to make similar comments and one day those comments might have gotten back to my cousin's wife and could potentially make her feel insecure and unsure of herself as a mother. I feel that us women need to take a similar approach when men try to praise us by putting other women down. For example, a guy might say "I like the fact that you're a natural beauty, you're not like those girls who need to wear a whole load of make-up to look good". In response you could say with a smile: "Thanks but I would appreciate the complement more without the comparison." The guy might be slightly taken aback but he will think twice before making similar comparisons in the future.

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