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Roxanne Shante Opens Up About Her ‘Me Too’ Moment: ‘I Experienced Harassment From the Very Beginning’

Roxanne Shante’s highly lauded biopic, Roxanne, Roxanne is set to debut on Netflix in a few days, an in support of the film, she’s been opening up about a number of issues— including her experience with harassment throughout her pioneering hip-hop career.

Roxanne entered hip-hop at just 14 with her hit single, “Roxanne’s Revenge” which was released in 1985. She talked to the Huffington Post about her experiences in the game at such a young age, some of which weren’t so pleasant, and are explored in her upcoming film. With the popularity of the Me Too movement, she said that now is the time for her to speak out about her experiences with harassment and inappropriate conduct of people in the industry.

“I think there’s a time and place for everything, and I think this is the perfect time for the movie,” she said. “It allows people to see that it’s not just a “Me Too moment” as far as Hollywood goes, with your biggest stars. People always assume that you have to reach a certain level of success to go through that, but I’m a person who experienced harassment from the very beginning of my career.”

Roxanne says the harassment came from a variety of sources, regardless of age.

“People say, ‘Roxanne, did you experience any Me Too instances?’ and I say, ‘Let me just explain one thing to you.’ At the age of 14, I made a record called “Roxanne, Roxanne,” also called “Roxanne’s Revenge.” And every man I met — whether they were age 8 or 80 — I was always approached with, “Roxanne, Roxanne, I wanna be your man,'” she remembers.

“So imagine having to deal with that on a day-to-day basis, hour after hour, with people constantly coming at you saying that. “When your management is telling you, “Smile! Smile! Don’t feel any type of way about that! This is what you have to do for the industry!” you feel, on the inside, that something is wrong with that. You’re not comfortable with it, but you still have to go along with it for career purposes, so I can definitely relate to what a lot of women today are going through and want to tell this story. This is great for women in hip-hop, too, because they need to be able to see the movie and relate to being put into the predicament I was put in.”

The film, Roxanne, Roxanne debuts on Netflix on March 23. Watch the trailer below.

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