Salt-N-Pepa Talk Their New Biopic, How They Came Up With Their Stage Name and Advice for Up-and-Coming Artists

Illustration for article titled Salt-N-Pepa Talk Their New Biopic, How They Came Up With Their Stage Name and Advice for Up-and-Coming Artists
Image: Kassondra Monroe/ A+E Networks

On Saturday, Lifetime will debut its latest original biopic about one of hip-hop’s most iconic duos—Salt-N-Pepa.


Directed by Mario Van Peebles, Salt-N-Pepa tells the story of Cheryl “Salt” James, Sandra “Pepa” Denton, and Deidra DJ Spinderella” Roper as they push their way to the top of the charts, cementing themselves as one of the most influential groups in hip-hop history. The film stars GG Townson and Laila Odom as “Salt” and “Pepa,” respectively, along with Cleveland Berto, Jermel Howard, and Monique Paul. The official film description per Lifetime:

Salt-N-Pepa details the journey of Queensborough Community College students Cheryl “Salt” James and Sandra “Pepa” Denton as they enter the world of rap and hip hop, after recording a song for their friend Hurby Azor. Salt-N-Pepa made a huge impact as one of the first all-female rap groups, changing the look of hip hop and being unafraid to talk about sex and share their thoughts on men. The movie follows the group as they become the first female rap act to go platinum and experience ground-breaking success with multiple awards, including a Grammy award – paving the way for all female rappers to follow. The film will feature performances of Salt-N-Pepa’s greatest hits, including: “Let’s Talk About Sex”, “What a Man”, “Shoop” and “Push It.”

In a press conference for Lifetime, Salt and Pepa discuss the importance of telling their story, how they got their name and what up-and-coming artists should do to maintain longevity in their career.

“I think that [it’s about] telling the story of women in the music industry, the ups and downs, the challenges we’ve overcome,” Salt explained. “And the challenges that we faced constantly as females in a male-dominated field of music. But mostly [it’s a] story of success, of pushing through regardless of the circumstance and still maintaining the status of the iconic brand.”

And no doubt, a key element to establishing an iconic brand is picking the right name. As Pepa explains, it can play a major role when it comes to sticking to the minds of your fans and maintaining in the industry.

“Our original name was Super Nature. When we had our first single, ‘The Showstopper,’ in the verse we go ‘we go together like salt and pepper.’ All our fans were like ‘yo, play that salt and pepper song.’ They kind of remembered that line from that song. So Hurby was like ‘you’re Salt, you’re Pepa.’ And it wouldn’t have been so big if we kept the name Super Nature, hands down. Salt-N-Pepa was the way to go.”


Salt added similar sentiments, telling up-and-coming artists, “Longevity takes commitment, it takes originality. Salt-N-Pepa brought something different to the table, we were unique and had our own sound. So I would definitely say don’t be a cookie cutter copy of anyone else to be original and you’ll be able to last in this business.”


Salt-N-Pepa premieres Saturday, Jan. 23 at 8 p.m. ET, followed by the documentary, Let’s Talk About Salt-N-Pepa at 11 p.m., only on Lifetime.


Mud Dedoochka

Push It remains a guaranteed put-a-boogie-in-your-butt song 34 years later. Few artists get to pull that off so good for them for getting the recognition.