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Spinderella Left Out Of The Production Of Salt N Pepa Biopic

Written by on January 25, 2021

Spinderella, former DJ to Salt-N-Pepa, is speaking out about feeling disappointment that she was “wrongfully excluded” from participating in Lifetime’s new biopic about one of the first and most iconic female rap groups.

“Words cannot fully express my disappointment when I learned a decision was made to move forward with a Lifetime biopic that wrongfully excluded me from every aspect of development and production … all the while using my image throughout, given that I played an integral role in the group’s story and success,” the 49-year-old DJ tweeted Friday.

The rise and impact of the rap group was dramatized in the Lifetime movie “Salt-N-Pepa,” which premiered Saturday. In it, Cheryl “Salt” James and Sandra “Pepa” Denton, played respectively by G.G. Townson and Laila Odom, record a tune for a co-worker’s class project and ultimately end up being Grammy Award-winning artists who help change the genre. Directed by Mario Van Peebles (“New Jack City,” “Empire”) and executive produced by Queen Latifah, it also featured Monique Paul as Spinderella, whose real name is Deidra Muriel Roper.

USA TODAY has reached out to James, Denton and Lifetime for comment.

DJ Spinderella (from left), Cheryl "Salt" James and Sandra "Pepa" Denton of Salt-N-Pepa arrive at VH1's Hip Hop Honors on July 11, 2016, in New York.
DJ Spinderella (from left), Cheryl “Salt” James and Sandra “Pepa” Denton of Salt-N-Pepa arrive at VH1’s Hip Hop Honors on July 11, 2016, in New York.
BRAD BARKET, INVISION/AP

Spinderella went on to say she could not support the film because she found “nothing more unacceptable than a woman being silenced by another woman” but congratulated Paul, whom Spinderella said she wished she “would’ve been given an opportunity to share my true perspective with.”

“Too often, Black women who have made meaningful contributions in their industry are left out of historical narratives,” she wrote. “Back when Salt n’ Pepa was building our legacy, which is rooted in empowering women, I could not have dreamed that this same group would one day disempower me.”

Sandra Denton (aka Pepa, left) and Cheryl James (Salt), with DJ Spinderella in the background, perform at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas on May 20, 2018.
Sandra Denton (aka Pepa, left) and Cheryl James (Salt), with DJ Spinderella in the background, perform at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas on May 20, 2018.
CHRIS PIZZELLO, INVISION

Salt told “The Breakfast Club” on Saturday that she had reached out to Spinderella, but had not heard back. She also noted that Salt-N-Pepa were already established and had another DJ, Latoya Hanson, perform with them before Spinderella joined.

“Spinderella was an addition to what we already had created,” she said. “There’s always been a lot of attempts to compromise, satisfy on everybody’s part, and it just never got to a place where it was what she thought it should be. And so sometimes things come to a head. It’s unfortunate. I know everybody hates when a group breaks up … but internally, sometimes it gets to a point where you have to part ways. We wish Spinderella the best. We’re open to whatever can happen in the future.”

Spinderella closed her Twitter thread by teasing an upcoming memoir, which she called “a personal journey navigating through life, relationships and the industry that raised me.”

She added: “I’m grateful I’ve managed to uphold a 30-year career of truly empowering women with my gift, against all odds. This will continue in my work and in my service.”


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