August 25, 2009
"Roxanne's Revenge": A PhD on Warner Music [File This In: Awesome Contracts Stories]
Heartwarming story of the day: Back in the 80s, Warner Music tossed a clause in then-teenage rapper Roxanne Shante's contract saying they'd pay for her education for life. So she got a psychology Ph.D from Cornell. Cost: $217K. Ha.
A little more detail from the Daily News:
After two albums, Shante said, she was disillusioned by the sleazy music industry and swindled by her record company. The teen mother, living in the Queensbridge Houses, recalled how her life was shattered.
"Everybody was cheating with the contracts, stealing and telling lies," she said. "And to find out that I was just a commodity was heartbreaking."
But Shante, then 19, remembered a clause in her Warner Music recording contract: The company would fund her education for life.
She eventually cashed in, earning a Ph.D. in psychology from Cornell to the tune of $217,000 - all covered by the label. But getting Warner Music to cough up the dough was a battle.
And, Roxanne's Revenge:
Here's to you, Dr. Shante!
[Meredith R. Miller]
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