The Reel Review
This Lifetime original movie traces the rise of the world’s first ladies of rap and hip hop, from their start working at a Sears call center alongside other aspiring entertainers Martin Lawrence and Kid ‘n Play, through their meteoric rise, subsequent break up and 2005 reunion at VH1’s “Hip Hop Honors” music special.
Directed by Mario Van Peebles (New Jack City) who also has a cameo as the church pastor, the biopic stars G.G. Townson (In The Cut, All American) as straight-laced church girl Cheryl “Salt” James and Laila Odom (The Bobby DeBarge Story, Game Shakers) as hard partying Sandra “Pepa” Denton – the two besties from Queens, New York. The made for TV film has a blunt, rough around the edges vibe to it, and while it doesn’t offer much emotional depth, James and Denton effectively tick the boxes of the duo’s milestones, focusing on female friendship in the face of adversity and betrayal.
The one glaring omission in the film is the nearly total omission of the group’s third member, Deidra “DJ Spinderella” Roper, who says the group fired her in 2019 following a lawsuit accusing them of withholding royalties. Lawsuit aside, it is an ironic omission from an otherwise fun, breezy film about the empowerment of women.
• Above is Salt-N-Pepa’s iconic video, “Shoop” from their album “Very Necessary,” which sold 7 million copies worldwide, making it the highest-selling album by a female rap group and earning them a Grammy for the song “None of Your Business.” Salt-N-Pepa continues to tour.
• The Salt-N-Pepa imposters in the Lifetime movie are played by Salt N Pepa’s real life daughters.
• DJ Spinderella took to social media to express her displeasure about her omission from the TV movie.
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