Spinderella Says She Was ‘Wrongfully Excluded’ from Salt-N-Pepa Biopic, Expresses ‘Disappointment’

DJ Spinderella was with Salt-N-Pepa from 1987 until her termination in 2019
Spinderella is speaking out about Lifetime’s Salt-N-Pepa biopic and claiming she was not involved in any “aspect of development and production.”
The 50-year-old DJ, who was with the pioneering all-female hip hop group from 1987 until her termination in 2019, shared a series of tweets on Saturday about her exclusion from the biopic, which stars actresses GG Townson and Laila Odom as Cheryl “Salt” James and Sandra “Pepa” Denton, respectively.
“Sorry but I gotta speak on this Lifetime special..,” Spinderella began. “Too often, Black women who have made meaningful contributions in their industry are left out of historical narratives. 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.”
The star continued, “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.”
Spinderella (née Deidra Roper) went on to say that “there’s nothing more unacceptable than a woman being silenced by another woman,” adding that “for this reason,” she “will not be supporting” the biopic.
“I do, however, want to offer a huge congratulations to the talented actresses that represented us, including Monique Paul, who I wish would’ve been given an opportunity to share my true perspective with,” she said. “In reflection, 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.”
“The great news is I’m in the final stages of writing my memoir, a personal journey navigating through life, relationships, and the industry that raised me,” Spinderella added. “30+ years is a lot of content and I’m ready to share.”
James and Denton, both 54, have yet to comment on Spinderella’s tweets.
Reps for Salt-N-Pepa and Lifetime have not responded to PEOPLE’s requests for comments.
Prior to the start of Salt-N-Pepa’s tour in May 2019, Spinderella announced on social media that she would no longer be a part of the girl group after receiving a “termination email” several months prior.
“I’m deeply saddened to share with all the #SaltnPepa and #Spinderella fans that I will not be performing on the #NKOTB Mixtape Tour,” she wrote on Instagram at the time. “Despite my participation in promoting the tour and being highly publicized as one of the acts, in January 2019 I received a ‘termination’ email from #SaltnPepa excluding me from performances with the group. It was my expectation, after making that decision, that they would also take responsibility for sharing the news with the public and other affected parties. It has been months now with no mention.”
Two months later, Spinderella sued Salt-N-Pepa for alleged unpaid royalties, multiple breaches of contract, fraud and intentional misrepresentation, according to court documents obtained by The Blast.
Spinderella claimed in the lawsuit that she was cut out of deals with the group as years went by despite generating “significant on-stage excitement” and entertaining “audiences with her captivating musical grooves and remarkable deejay tricks.” Overall, she claimed Denton and James “have failed to fully and accurately provide an accounting for, and payment to [her], of her share of the income and royalties realized and received” by the pair, including merchandise sales, commercial marketing of albums, royalties and earnings.
Reps for Denton and James told PEOPLE in a statement at the time: “We will refrain from commenting on Spin’s claims until we’ve had the opportunity to review the complaint. That being said, it’s unfortunate she is choosing to take this path because Salt-N-Pepa have been very good to her, both artistically and financially, for more than 30 years.”
The case was dismissed in July 2019 after the trio reached a confidential settlement, according to TMZ.
Spinderella’s final performance with Salt-N-Pepa was in the fall of 2018 as part of their Las Vegas residency. To date, no explanation for her dismissal has been publicly given.
Salt-N-Pepa details James and Denton’s transformation from Queensborough Community College students to hip-hop superstars. The film follows the group as they become the first female rap act to go platinum and experience groundbreaking success with multiple awards, including a Grammy, paving the way for female rappers to follow.
Executive produced by James and Denton, the film features performances of Salt-N-Pepa’s greatest hits, including: “Let’s Talk About Sex,” “What a Man,” “Shoop” and “Push It.”
Salt-N-Pepa premiered on Jan. 23 on Lifetime.

1988: Rappers Salt-N-Pepa and their DJ Spinderella pose for a portrait in 1988. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

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