Roxanne Roxanne

Director: Michael J. Larnell
Screenwriters: Michael J. Larnell

Institute History

  • 2017 Sundance Film Festival


U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Performance, Chanté Adams

In 1984, Lolita Shanté Gooden was just another 14-year-old living in New York’s Queensbridge projects. When she famously laid down the lyrics to “Roxanne’s Revenge”—an underground answer rap to U.T.F.O.’s popular single “Roxanne, Roxanne”—she sparked one of the earliest and most significant beefs in hip-hop history, establishing herself as a feared battle emcee in a genre on the verge of worldwide recognition. With fame firmly in her grasp, Roxanne Shanté was still just a teenager with the weight of the world on her shoulders, hustling to provide for her family while defending herself from the perils of life in the projects.

In director Michael Larnell’s follow-up to his debut feature, Cronies (2015 Sundance Film Festival), newcomer Chanté Adams delivers a mic-dropping performance as the embodiment of the legendary Roxanne Shanté, backed by a stellar supporting cast featuring Nia Long and Mahershala Ali. Larnell’s passion for the story shines through in this honest and emotional portrayal of a young girl grappling with the pitfalls of fame in the face of overwhelming adversity.

— Adam Montgomery

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

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