David Corio

Roxanne Shante

London, UK
(March 14, 1989)

Roxanne Shante was only 19 when I photographed her in a London hotel. Nonetheless she was already regarded as a hip hop veteran and pioneer. Her freestyling raps and live performances were dazzling. I had seen her perform in Brixton with the Cold Chillin’ tour the previous year alongside Biz Markie and Big Daddy Kane and she held her own against them both.

Wearing gigantic ear-rings, a diamond ‘Shante’ hair clip and a large pin on her jacket of her young son, Roxanne was surprisingly shy and quiet. Musicians often have two different personalities depending whether they are having to perform or are on their own. It becomes a choice for the photographer which side to portray.

Roxanne Shante