Roxanne Shante attends a special screening of Roxanne Roxanne March 19, 2018 in New York City
MIC CHECK: Check out our 'Roxanne, Roxanne' reviewBy: Isaiah Smart[*Views expressed are solely the opinion of the author]
One of Netflix’s newest, originals movies, Roxanne Roxanne, has a lot of viewers talking. The I am OTHER produced film shows the rise of Roxanne Shanté (played by Chanté Adams), a teenage rap sensation from Queensbridge, New York.
Born Lolita Shanté Gooden, Roxanne Shante was first a teenage battle rap extraordinaire. We see the film open up in that very element. Old school jam parties in the park full of DJs, feel-good music, and battle raps. From there we’re introduced to Shante and her onion-layered life of problems to come. Growing up in any ghetto has its share of trials, and it seems that everywhere Shanté would turn another trial was there waiting.
The film is gritty with dim lighting and tough, New York dialect. The cinematography puts you right in the era of the 80’s; accurate fashion and hairstyles, just enough hoop earrings and Kangol bucket hats.
On one side, Roxanne Roxanne is an eye-opening affair to see how one remix of “Roxanne Roxanne” led to the rise of Roxanne Shanté. On the other hand, there’s a lot of content missing. The ending was unconventional where it didn’t show those unaware of Shanté’s story what happened next.
We didn’t get to see much about the Queens versus Bronx beef with KRS-One, the “Roxanne Wars” with The Real Roxanne or even Shanté’s first album. Of course, you can never cover everything in one’s life but an hour and a half running time should be enough to at least poke at these major moments in an artists career.
We waded through too much of her personal relationship with Cross (Mahershala Ali) as opposed to expounding on her pioneering career.
In summary, the movie was good for what it was, an opening act. But it left hip-hop heads hungry for more. With solid acting across the board and an accurate presentation, shooting wise, this was merely a warm-up to Roxanne Shanté when many, like myself, were looking for more of a complete story.
On a scale of 5 stars I would give it 3.5 based off the lack of a more fleshed out storyline where Roxanne’s full career is concerned.
The film is still available to watch on Netflix