Forest Whitaker’s Biopic About the ‘Roxanne Wars’ of 1980s Hip Hop is Filming on Orchard Street Today
Hip-hop pioneer Roxanne Shante is getting the biopic treatment.
A new film is in the works about the so-called “Roxanne Wars” of the 1980s in New York City. The feature – dubbed Roxanne, Roxanne for the popular U.T.F.O. B-side hit of same – chronicles Shante’s rise from 14-year-old MC to hip-hop gold all because of a response record called “Roxanne’s Revenge.” That release yielded the most such response recordings of any song.
14-year-old Lolita Shanté Gooden was walking outside a New York City housing project called Queensbridge, when she heard Tyrone Williams, disc jockey Mr. Magic, and record producer Marley Marl talking about how U.T.F.O. had canceled their appearance at a show they were promoting. Gooden offered to make a hip-hop record that would get back at U.T.F.O., with her taking on the moniker Roxanne Shanté, after her middle name. The three took her up on the idea, with Marley producing “Roxanne’s Revenge.” The single was released in late 1984, taking the original beats from an instrumental version of “Roxanne, Roxanne.” It was very confrontational and laced with profanities, but was an instant hit that sold over 250,000 copies in the New York area alone. Legal action followed, and it was re-released in early 1985 with new beats and the obscenities removed.
Anyway. Back to the movie …
Michael Larnell will direct; Forest Whitaker is attached to the project as co-producer and actor.
Filming on Roxanne, Roxanne has been underway the past couple months, and continues on the Lower East Side today. The token “no parking” signs are posted around Hell Square for the shoot.