Recording Industry Helps Rapper/Single Mom Get A PhD, Though It Tried To Weasel Out

via Tech Dirt

Michael sends in this excellent story of a major record label actually doing right by one of its (former) artists… though, the story really doesn’t reflect that well on Warner Music. It’s the story of Roxanne Shante, one of the first female hip hop stars, who came out with a hit song in the 80s (when she was 14-years-old), leading the way for other female rappers. Of course, like so many other artists, she found out that the big record labels weren’t so great after all. After two albums, when she realized that her label was basically stealing from her, she called it quits from music. At age 19, however, she remembered that Warner Music has put a clause in her contract, promising to “fund her education for life.” She figures they put that in as a “throwaway, never believing a teen mom in public housing would attend college.” But, attend college, she did. She didn’t just get a bachelor’s degree, but went all the way through to a PhD. in psychology.

Of course, Warner Music, already having done plenty to try to cheat her out of her contract, worked hard not to pay. But the dean at, Marymount Manhattan College, where she attended for some of both her undergraduate and graduate degrees, read over the clause and simply kept sending bills to Warner Music. Warner (so nice of them, as per usual) ignored the invoices until Shante threatened to go public with the story of Warner Music Group not living up to their contract promises on something so basic as funding her education. In the end, Warner Music had to pay up around $217,000 for Shante’s education, and she’s put the doctorate to good use, launching a therapy practice focused on urban African-Americans, experimenting with new ways to get them over the taboo associated with therapy. It’s nice to see how Warner Music actually did some good in the world, even if it had to be dragged there kicking and screaming.

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