When I entered the Stampede Management offices to sit down with Shante Broadus, I wasn't sure what to expect from our meeting. I knew she was the high-school-sweetheart-turned-wife of Snoop Dogg, one of the hugest rappers--and personalities--of our time. From watching Snoop Dogg’s “Father Hood” TV show, I knew she was the (very patient) mother of three children. I also knew she'd been steadily solidifying herself as a business woman and philanthropist over the past decade. But what would the woman herself be like, I wondered.
When I met Shante she was dressed in all white, wrapping up the day’s promo shoot for her website. She introduced herself and I was immediately stricken by her humble and markedly laid back demeanor. No diva attitude here. In fact, as we began to chat, Shante immediately expressed her deep desire to help others, a desire which stems from her upbringing in Long Beach, California, where she says, “my family always taught me to give and to help others, especially my mom and grandmother.” Her passion for lending a hand intensified when she became involved in Snoop’s Youth Football League (SYFL) and decided to organize a cheerleading squad to get young girls involved. When most busy mothers would have patted themselves on the back for something like this, she says, “I just didn't feel that it was enough. So I wanted to start something to help empower young little girls.” Shante decided on a name for the venture: I am S.H.A.N.T.E., and worked to bring the dream to life.
I am S.H.A.N.T.E. targets adolescent girls living in under-served communities, many of whom are facing struggles similar to the ones Shante grew up with up in Central Long Beach, a high-poverty and historically violent community. Through social and emotional development, mentoring, skill-building workshops and leadership and internship programs, I am S.H.A.N.T.E. develops young ladies in a holistic manner, identifying and tackling the variety of obstacles that may be stunting these young ladies’ growth and development. The dream of one mother has now become the hope of a better life to a group of young girls in Long Beach, with plans to expand in the works.
Through the various stages of the program, these girls are encouraged to find strength within themselves, to work on building lasting, healthy relationships with others, to improve their technical and social skills, and then they’re trained to be true leaders. What sparked Shante to develop such a multi-faceted development program? “I have the means and the resources and it's better to give than receive. I love being able to give back--and that's what bosses do. “ I hear that.
The example Shante sets is very unique. Turn on the TV these days and you can take your pick of the shows based around women who are married to--or sometimes simply associated with--rich, famous men. You cringe as females all but kill each other for attention, a piece of a man and a shot at faux stardom (for more on this, click here). Not so with Mrs. Broadus. While others have been flipping tables over and throwing drinks on each other, Shante has been busy raising children and supporting her husband’s career for the past 17 years (read: holding it down). And while she could sit back and bask in the sun, enjoying the life of a pampered woman, she’s chosen to step out on her own and use her influence to benefit those who are less fortunate instead.
Plus, she’s a boss. In addition to this program, Shante is trying her hand in artist management (Bosslady Entertainment) and is developing a mid- to high-end handbag line (Cocori, set for Spring, 2012). She is also on the board of Lupus LA and runs a dance and recording studio called Lady Lounge. How does she do it all? According to her sister Sharelle Fuller and her publicist Jameela Jackson, she’s been known to relieve stress by working it out on the pole at the Lady Lounge. Get em, Miss Shante!
It takes a special kind of woman to juggle a life filled with so much, and an even more exceptional woman to use her influence to benefit others. Toward the end of our time together, Shante said to me, “Everywhere I go they say, ‘you look like Snoop Dogg's wife.’ I'm like, ‘I do have a name--[It’s] Shante.’” And don’t you forget it.
If you’re interested in getting involved in I am S.H.A.N.T.E. as a mentor or to sign up as a participant, visit www.iamshante.org.