Nia Long Co-Stars In Roxanne Shanté Biopic

Roxanne Shante

Hip hop fans are in for a treat with an upcoming biopic chronicling Roxanne Shanté, a popular battle emcee from Queens, New York.

Set in the 1980s, Roxanne, Roxanne  follows the story of Lolita Shante Gooden, a 14-year old rap prodigy from the Queensbridge Projects in New York City, who would later hold it down for the ladies in the rap game as Roxanne Shanté.

Starring Queens native Eden Duncan-Smith (Annie, Meadowland), as Shante, the film will detail the early parts of Roxanne’s hip hop journey as she hustled to provide for her family and protect herself from the gritty streets of NYC.

Nia Long co-stars as Roxanne’s mother alongside Mahershala Ali, Elvis Nolasco, Jermel Howard, Sean Ringgold, Curtiss Cook, and actors portraying key figures in Roxanne’s circle such as Biz Markie (Nigel Alexander Fullerton), MC Shan (Arn Star) and other early hip hop stars.

Mahershala Ali, who is making waves in the entertainment industry (peep him in EBONY’s October/November men’s issue), spoke briefly about the film in an interview with The Daily Beast:

“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 [Roxanne, Roxanne] 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.”

Roxanne, Roxanne is written and directed by Michael J. Larnell – known for his debut film Cronies, which was executive produced by Spike Lee – and is currently in post-production. Forest Whitaker’s Significant Productions and Pharrell Williams’ IamOTHER Entertainment will co-produce the biopic.

To add icing to the cake, the real Roxanne Shanté is listed as an executive producer. The film is slated for a 2017 release, so we’ll keep you looped!