Hearing Impairment Series-Disabled Legend Foxy Brown

Foxy Brown – Inga Marchand, born on 6 September, 1978, in Brooklyn, New York City, better known as Foxy Brown, is an American rapper of Afro-Trinidadian and Asian descent. Foxy Brown is known for her solo work and her brief stint as part of hip-hop music group The Firm. Foxy Brown has revealed that she is slowly losing her hearing after being diagnosed with a rare condition that only affects 1 in 10,000. On 5 December, 2005, outside of Manhattan criminal court, Foxy Brown’s attorney Joseph Tacopina stated he wanted to confirm rumors that Foxy Brown was almost totally deaf and claimed that he could no longer communicate with her verbally. Foxy Brown told reporters on 15 December that she was diagnosed with sudden hearing loss in May while she was recording her upcoming album. Shortly after Tacopina spoke to the public about her hearing condition, news spread that Foxy Brown had fired him. According to reports, Tacopina was never given permission by Foxy Brown or her agent to discuss her medical condition to reporters.

While still a teenager, Foxy Brown won a talent contest in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. At the time, production team Trackmasters were working on LL Cool J’s Mr. Smith album, the pair were in attendance that night and being impressed, they decided to let her rap over “I Shot Ya.” Foxy Brown followed her debut with appearances on several RIAA platinum and gold singles from other artists, including remixes of songs “You’re Makin’ Me High” by Toni Braxton. Foxy Brown was also featured on the soundtrack to the 1996 film The Nutty Professor, on the songs “Touch Me Tease Me” by Case and “Ain’t No Nigga” by Jay-Z. The immediate success led to a label bidding war at the beginning of 1996, and in March, Def Jam Records won as they added the then 16 year old talent to their roster.

In 1996 Foxy Brown released her debut album Ill Na Na to mixed reviews but strong sales. The album sold over 109,000 copies in the first week, and debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 album charts. The album was heavily produced by Trackmasters, and featured guest appearances from Jay-Z, Blackstreet, Method Man, and Kid Capri. The album went on to go platinum selling over 3 million records in the US, 6 million worldwide and launched 2 hit singles: “Get Me Home” (featuring Blackstreet) and “I’ll Be” (featuring Jay-Z).

Following the release of Ill Na Na, Foxy Brown joined fellow New York based hip hop artists, Nas, AZ and Nature to form the supergroup known as The Firm. The album was released via Aftermath Records and was produced and recorded by the collective team of Dr. Dre, The Trackmasters, and Steve “Comissioner” Stout of Violator Entertainment. An early form of The Firm appeared on “Affirmative Action,” from Nas’ second album, It Was Written. A remix of the song, and several group freestyles were in the album, Nas, Foxy Brown, AZ, and Nature Present The Firm: The Album. The album entered the Billboard 200 album chart at No. 1 and sold over 1 000,000 records and is RIAA certified platinum.

On 25 January, 1997 Foxy Brown spat on 2 hotel workers in Raleigh, North Carolina when they told her they didn’t have an iron available. When she missed a court appearance, an arrest warrant was issued and she finally turned herself in on 30 April, 1997. Foxy Brown eventually received a 30 day suspended sentence and was ordered to perform 80 hours of community service.

In March 1997, she joined the spring break festivities hosted by the MTV cable television network in Panama City, Florida, among other performers including rapper Snoop Dogg, pop group The Spice Girls, and rock band Stone Temple Pilots. Later, she joined the Smokin’ Grooves tour hosted by the House of Blues with the headlining rap group Cypress Hill, along with other performers like Erykah Badu, The Roots, OutKast, and The Pharcyde, the tour set to begin in Boston, Massachusetts in the summer of 1997. However, after missing several dates in the tour, she left it.

Foxy Brown made an appearance on Ricky Lake in 1998 and mentioned that she had been cast alongside Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz in the 2000 film Charlie’s Angels. However, due to her legal troubles around that time she was replaced, at first by Thandie Newton, and ultimately by Lucy Liu.

On 20 January, 1999 Foxy Brown released her second album Chyna Doll, delayed from its original November 1998 release date. It entered the Billboard 200 charts at number 1, selling 173,000 copies in its opening week. However, its sales quickly declined in later weeks. The album’s lead single “Hot Spot” failed to enter the top 50 of the Billboard pop charts, as did the follow-up single, “I Can’t” (featuring Total). Chyna Doll has been certified platinum after surpassing 1 000,000 copies in sales.

On 3 July, 1999 Foxy Brown was escorted off the stage by police at a concert in Trinidad and Tobago for using obscene language but was neither charged nor arrested. In 2000, she announced she was suffering from depression and entered rehab at Cornell University Medical College for an addiction to prescription painkillers, in particular, morphine, even stating that she couldn’t perform or make records unless she was on the illegal drug. On 6 March, 2000 Foxy Brown crashed her Range Rover in Flatbush, Brooklyn. That year she was also arrested for driving without a license.

In 2001, Foxy Brown released Broken Silence. Its first single was “BK Anthem” showcased Foxy Brown changing to a “street” image and giving a tribute to her hometown Brooklyn and famous rappers such as The Notorious B.I.G. and Jay-Z. The second single from the album was “Oh Yeah”, which featured her then-boyfriend, Jamaican dancehall artist Spragga Benz. The album debuted on the Billboard Charts at No. 5, selling 131,000 units its first week. Like previous albums, Broken Silence also sold over 1 000,000 records and is certified platinum by the RIAA.

In 2002, Foxy Brown returned to the music scene briefly with her single “Stylin'”, whose remix featured rappers Birdman, her brother Gavin, Loon, and N.O.R.E. was to be the first single off of her upcoming album Ill Na Na 2: The Fever. Threat of arrest faced her following an altercation at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, Jamaica from July she would be arrested if she ever would return to the country. The next year, she was featured on DJ Kayslay’s single “Too Much for Me” from his Street Sweeper’s Volume One Mixtape. Foxy Brown also appeared on Luther Vandross’ final studio album Dance with My Father. That April, Foxy Brown appeared on popular New York radio jock Wendy Williams’ radio show, and revealed the details of her relationships with Lyor Cohen, president of Def Jam Recordings at the time, and Sean “P. Diddy” Combs. Foxy Brown accused both of illegally trading her recording masters. Foxy Brown also announced that Cohen shelved her long awaited fourth album Ill Na Na 2: The Fever over personal disagreements. Therefore, “Stylin'” was released on the compilation album The Source Presents: Hip Hop Hits Vol. 6 in December 2002.

In 2004, Foxy Brown reunited with her old friend and mentor Jay-Z, when he became the president of Def Jam and signed her to its subsidiary, Roc-A-Fella Records. Later that year, Foxy Brown joined Jay-Z and several other hip-hop acts on his Jay-Z and Friends tour. Foxy Brown began recording her fourth solo album, Black Roses. Its first single was “Come Fly With Me” featuring Sizzla. Other tracks Foxy Brown recorded included a remix of the song “You Already Know” by the R&B group 112.

On 29 August, 2004 Foxy Brown attacked 2 manicurists in Chelsea, Manhattan during a dispute over a $20 bill that she refused to pay, and she in April 2005 pled not guilty to assault charges and entered 3 years of probation effective October 2006. For that incident, she would also take anger management classes. Female rapper Jacki-O, in April 2005, alleged that she and Foxy Brown got into a physical altercation at a recording studio in Miami, Florida, saying that Foxy Brown came into the studio during her session and expected her to “bow down” to her. The next month, Foxy Brown denied any such altercation in an interview with the Miami, Florida hip-hop radio station WEDR.

Joseph Tacopina, Foxy Brown’s attorney, stated on 5 December, 2005 that he wanted to confirm rumors that Foxy Brown was almost totally deaf and claimed that he could no longer communicate with her verbally. Foxy Brown told reporters on 15 December that she was diagnosed with sudden hearing loss in May while she was recording her upcoming album. Shortly after Tacopina spoke to the public about her hearing condition, news spread that Foxy Brown had fired him. According to reports, Tacopina was never given permission by Foxy Brown or her agent to discuss her medical condition to reporters.

As a result of her legal troubles, Foxy Brown entered a confrontation with radio host Egypt on New York City radio station WWPR-FM (“Power 105.1”). Foxy Brown pled not guilty in March 2007 to assaulting a beauty supply store employee. Foxy Brown’s other arrests during 2007 included leaving New York state without permission during probation, hitting a neighbor with a BlackBerry, and almost running over a stroller with a baby inside.

On 24 July, 2008 publisher Simon & Schuster Inc. sued Foxy Brown in state court in New York claiming that it paid Foxy Brown $75,000 under a 2006 contract for an autobiography tentatively titled “Broken Silence” and Foxy Brown never delivered on the contract. The case is Simon & Schuster v. Inga Marchand, 110125/2008, New York State Supreme Court (Manhattan).

On 7 September, 2007, New York Criminal Court Judge Melissa Jackson sentenced Foxy Brown to 1 year in jail for violating her probation that stemmed from the 2004 fight with 2 manicurists in a New York City nail salon. Foxy Brown was eventually released from prison on 18 April, 2008. No mention was made during the trial by anyone about Foxy Brown expecting a baby. On 12 September, 2007 her representatives stated the rapper was not pregnant in response to claims by her lawyer that she was.

On 23 October, 2007, Foxy Brown was given 76 days in solitary confinement due to a physical altercation that took place on 3 October, 2007 with another prisoner. According to the prison authorities, Foxy Brown, the next day after the incident, was also verbally abusive toward correction officers and refused to take a random drug test. Prison authorities reported on 27 November that she was released “from solitary confinement…for good behavior”, and Foxy Brown was finally released from prison on 18 April, 2008.

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