DJ Spinderella is not happy about that Lifetime Salt-N-Pepa movie

Earlier this afternoon, Lifetime released its new film Salt-N-Pepa, which, as the name suggests, is a biopic covering the ups and downs of the careers of rap’s first Grammy-winning, platinum-selling all-female group. Unlike some Lifetime projects that have crawled out of the woodwork over the years, Salt-N-Pepa is mostly authorized—which is to say, it was produced and co-written by both Salt and Pepa (and co-produced by their old pal Queen Latifah), but not, tellingly by the trio’s former third member, DJ Spinderella. That probably has a lot to do with the fact that Spinderella (a.k.a. Diedre Roper, who joined the group shortly after its first album dropped in 1985, and who spent more than 30 years as its DJ) was fired from the group in 2019, after which she sued Salt and Pepa on allegations of unpaid royalties. (The lawsuit ultimately went to mediation.)

Given her integral role to the group’s success, it’s unsurprising that Roper appears in the film, played by Monique Jasmine Paul. It’s also unsurprising that the real Roper isn’t especially happy about her inclusion, sans participation, in the film, taking to Twitter today to write, among other things, that “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…” (She did have kind words for Paul, though.)

As it happens, Salt and Pepa did speak this week (somewhat obliquely) about Spinderella’s removal from the group. Talking to The Breakfast Club yesterday, Cheryl “Salt” James held to the line that she and Sandra “Pepa” Denton were already an established act when Spinderella was added to the group by producer Hurby Azor, and that Roper was always an “addition” to an established dynamic that dated back to the duo’s high school years. Reading not especially hard between the lines, the clear implication is that Spin was never, and was never going to be, an equal member of the partnership, and that that certainty eventually led to her dismissal. (You can view this part at 14:35 in the below video.)

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