An upcoming biopic based on a female hip-hop pioneer is currently wrapping production.
Shadow and Act reported the news about Roxanne, Roxanne, which is based on the life of hip-hop artist Roxanne Shanté. She shot to fame after recording “Roxanne’s Revenge,” a response to UTFO’s famous single “Roxanne Roxanne.”
The biopic focuses on 14-year-old prodigy Lolita Shanté Gooden, “a fierce teenage girl with the weight of the world on her shoulders.” It will follow the rising star as she makes a living for her family and navigates the “dangers of the streets of the Queensbridge Projects.”
The New York City rapper would go on to become one of the best-known female MCs before leaving music behind. According to the book Icons of Hip Hop, Roxanne Shanté ditched the entertainment business after feeling fed up with being used by the industry and abused by her boyfriend.
As for casting, the Black movie and TV website initially reported Nia Long will play Gooden’s mother. And newcomer Eden Duncan-Smith is in the lead role. A native of Queens, New York, Duncan-Smith previously starred in the remake of Annie. Roxanne, Roxanne will serve as her breakout role.
Mahershala Ali, who currently stars as the villain Cottonmouth on Netflix’s “Luke Cage,” is also in the upcoming biopic. Nigel Alexander Fullerton will play Biz Markie, and Arn Star will portray MC Shan. Both rappers were part of the Juice Crew hip-hop collective with the real-life Roxanne Shanté.
Directed by Black filmmaker Michael Larnell, the flick also features production credits from Forest Whitaker and Pharrell Williams. Additionally, Roxanne Shanté will serve as the executive producer.
Though many details about the film – like a premiere date – remain under wraps, Ali gave viewers a taste of what to expect from the project.
“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’,” Ali told The Daily Beast. “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.”
Update: Shadow and Act said the lead actress playing in Roxanne, Roxanne is being kept under wraps. It will likely be revealed at once the film debuts.