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Chanté Adams is living a dream—one she envisioned not too long ago as a 2016 graduate of the School of Drama at the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Less than two years later, the young actress is enjoying the premiere of her first film, starring as female rap prodigy and pioneer Roxanne Shanté in the biopic Roxanne, Roxanne, which premiered today on Netflix .

Born and raised in Detroit, Adams had just moved to New York when she was personally requested by casting agent Jessica Daniels —who’d seen Adams perform in her graduation showcase—to audition for the role of Roxanne Shanté.

“It was my first movie audition,” she told The Glow Up. “And I really just wanted to do a good job and make a really good impression on Jessica so that she might consider me for other things. Before I knew it, I was on set a couple of weeks later.”

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Joining her on set? Black Hollywood royalty Nia Long and Mahershala Ali in the roles of Shanté’s world-weary mother and dominating lover, respectively. When asked how it felt to hold her own against veteran actress Long and the Oscar-winning Ali, Adams admitted to initially being a bit starstruck:

Of course it was nerve-racking at first, when you find out you’re going to be working with these great people—especially someone like Nia Long, who I grew up watching. She was so influential to me as a black woman, as an artist, as an activist, everything, all over. And so I was very nervous when I found out that I’d be working with her.

But it was so great. I really couldn’t have asked for a better cast; both of them were so patient with me and understood that this was my first project, and really just took me under their wing. They really did. ... I feel like I couldn’t have given the performance that I [gave] if I didn’t have those two people as my co-stars, really guiding me and leading me through the entire process.

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That performance, combining the insecurity and angst of teenage girlhood with the sass and swagger of the Queens, N.Y.-bred Shanté, won Adams the Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Performance at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. It was an honor Adams, less than a year out of college, never expected—which is why she’d left the festival the day before the awards ceremony.

The Hill Temple

HEX Wellington, New Zealand

HEX is the progeny of wives Kiki and GG Van Newtown, a musical love affair who draw on influences spanning classical to folk ... to punk to metal. Together with Jason Erskine they align quick, incisive lyrics and rock opera levels of riffage to reflect the chaos approaching post-capitalism with fury and laughter. ... more more

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