It would be an understatement to say the hip-hop classic “Push It,” best known as the breakthrough single that pushed Salt-N-Pepa to the top of the charts in 1987, was ahead of its time. But the pioneering and enduring impact of the all-female rap group fronted by Sandra “Pepa” Denton and Cheryl “Salt” James was made abundantly clear on Sunday night in New York City; on hand to honor “WAP” co-collaborator Megan Thee Stallion at Glamour’s 2021 Women of the Year Awards, Denton shared an anecdote about the single, which attracted not only a massive fanbase but the attention of the literal morality police.
“They said if you say a curse word, we’re going to take you off the stage,” Denton told Page Six at the event, which “was held in compliance with local health and safety guidelines,” according to Glamour. “We were saying ‘Push It;’ they thought we were saying, ‘[Pussy], real good.’ So the police were waiting for us. We had to show them the lyrics: We’re saying ‘PUSH It’ not [pussy].”
Of course, the rub here is that “pussy real good” was the very overt message of the bop—I mean, “WAP”—of Summer 2020, no?
More from Page Six:
Denton, 55, who was on hand to present Megan Thee Stallion with an award, also marveled at how much hip-hop has changed for women since she rapped the now-chaste 1990 song “Let’s Talk About Sex.”
“I was just trying to educate,” she marveled. “To teach about the do’s and the don’t’s. That’s nothing now! It’s amazing to see how everything has evolved and women are bossing up and taking care of their own business and heading their own empire. It’s a beautiful thing, especially these women in hip-hop because it was such a male-dominated field.”
“It’s important to see that strength and know your worth,” she added.
Of course, as the lucky beneficiary of that pioneering spirit, Megan echoed that message as she reflected on her own evolution—as both a “hot girl” and hip-hop phenomenon with an equally sex-positive and feminist platform.
“The bigger my platform gets, I start realizing that I’m not the only woman that goes through what I go through,” she told Glamour. “I want to bring things to light so other women don’t feel like they have to continue to be silent.”
Meg’s speech was reportedly full of tributes to women; most importantly, her mother, the late rapper Holly “Holly-wood” Thomas, who died just as her daughter was garnering major acclaim in March 2019.
“I want to thank my mom because she taught me how to be the woman that I am today. She’s my best friend, my manager, she was my everything, and I know she’s so proud of me today,” the rapper said through tears, also thanking her great grandmother “Big Mama,” who insisted Megan complete her degree, which she’s on track to do this year.
“I win a lot of awards as Megan Thee Stallion, but tonight I choose to accept this award as Megan Pete, a soon-to-be college graduate from Houston, a woman who has built a successful career in a male-dominated industry and musical genre, who has earned her respect from people that couldn’t look beyond my public persona,” she shared.
“My story is probably not too different than a lot of y’alls. As a young girl, I stood in front of my bedroom mirror, practicing for moments just like these,” she also added. “But I was fortunate to have role models—strong, fierce, independent Black women who gave me the tools to stand up for myself and not to limit myself based upon others.
“From an early age, they filled me with self-love and determination. Because of them I’ve never felt unworthy of my success and ashamed of my womanhood. And because of them I’ve learned to be competitive with myself—and that other women don’t need to lose for me to win,” Megan continued, “There’s nothing women can’t achieve when we recognize that...There’s room at the table for all of us, and when there isn’t, we need to make room.”
To that end, Glamour shares a full list of Megan’s official and very uplifting Hottie Commandments, intended to “turn others into Hotties too.”
Suffice to say, original hottie Pepa fully endorses her message.
“Take her in: She is Thee Stallion. Beautiful, bold, assertive, fearless. I love everything that she’s doing.” she said while introducing the 26-year-old rapper on Monday (h/t Glamour), later adding: “There were so few women in the game back in the day. We helped open doors, yes, we did. But Megan, she came and kicked the door down, pulled up a seat at the table, ordered a big dinner and poured Hottie Sauce all over the damn thing. She is doing it well, henny. Pushing it real good.”