A GoPride Interview


Pepa: The gay community knows how to have fun and that we support back with our love.

Wed. June 8, 2011  by Jerry Nunn

The gay community knows how to have fun and that we support back with our love.

Jerry Nunn interviews Pepa, of Salt-N-Pepa, before the duo headlines PrideFest Milwaukee

Salt-N-Pepa are more than just a condiment. This pair, which is really a trio if you count Spinderella, broke barriers for women and contributed to the hip hop culture by becoming respected rap hit makers. Formed in 1985, Cheryl "Salt" James and Jamaican-born Sandy "Pepa" Denton sold 15 million albums and singles worldwide making them the best selling female rap act. The Grammy award winning artists are known for songs such as "Push It," "Shoop," and "Whatta Man."

Pepa talked to GoPride.com before traveling to Milwaukee to headline PrideFest on Saturday, June 11.

JN: (Jerry Nunn) Hi, Pep. How are you today?

P: (Pepa) Good good good, running around.

JN: "Let's Talk About Pep" today. You ladies are the best selling rap act so far, correct?

P: Well, that's what I heard. (laughs) I would say that because we are relevant after so many years ago. It was like 30 years. We are doing all of these amazing shows and people really come out and support us. People actually play dress up. They put on their Adidas, their door knocker earrings and their gold chains. Couples come out dressed alike just like back in the 80s so it is really fun now.

JN: Someone just told me that your Florida show at the gay club Parliament was off the chain!

P: It was fun and the crowd was amazing. They sang the songs and new the lyrics. They were screaming and having a good time.

JN: How was it appearing on the Oprah Winfrey show?

P: She was very nice. We had never actually been on the Oprah Show. We had met her a long time ago and ran into her at a marathon when she was in New York at Central Park. We had wanted to be on the show before but when it really mattered and counted they finally called and she wanted us on the show. We were very excited about that and to make the last twenty acts of the last season was a big deal.

JN: Congrats on that and your I Am Hip Hop award on BET.

P: Thanks! Yeah once again to just be recognized. That award was really good because there were a lot of new, up and coming artists in the audience of course. For them to pay tribute and see where we came from was great. They had a nice little intro with Run DMC and people from our time go on videos and show honor. For them to say "Everybody knows Salt-N-Pepa" was a thrill.

JN: Is the Legends of Hip Hop tour with Whodini and Kurtis Blow still going on?

P: That particular tour is not going on anymore but we are doing a lot of shows. I am sure we will be doing shows with some of the acts like Doug E Fresh in the future. We always end up doing a show with Naughty by Nature too.

JN: I know you did a Dinah Shore White Party in Palm Springs for the lesbians a while ago. Your gay following for Milwaukee Pridefest is going to be crazy.

P: I know! We always have had a huge gay following. We have always been supported by the gay community and from the beginning we have done a lot of parades. The gay community knows how to have fun and that we support back with our love.

JN: You have had a second career with all of your reality shows from VH1 like the Surreal Life and The Salt-n-Pepa Show.

P: We are even pitching some stuff now. There are a lot of things on the table. A production company is approaching us with different concepts and ideas. We want to shop some more things. Reality is where its at. When I first started out I didn't care that it wasn't cool to do reality. I am an entertainer and I like to entertain. I wanted to try the new thing called reality.

JN: You have the personality for it.

P: Thank you.

JN: Have you found love yet?

P: You know I found it for a little bit then I lost it (both laugh)!

JN: We all do…

P: I am actually back out on the prowl again. You know what? I am okay. Before I thought it was so hard to find someone but now I am laying back. When it comes it comes. I still believe in love. I know my significant other is out there. I am just waiting. I am happy and embracing my career right now. That is why I am doing shows and things like that. I am happy to have that to fall back on because you know that whole story. I am still working though. It would be nice to have a friend or a companion with me at some point.

JN: Are you going to do more acting projects?

P: You know what? It is so funny because I kind of slacked off on that and I have been itching to do it again. I really want to get back into it. I was fortunate not too long ago with Ice Cube's TBS show Are You There Yet? calling me a few months ago so I had a nice little part. The show was about me and Taio Cruz and his wife on the sitcom. It was fun doing that and I want to get back into acting. I really do.

JN: Does Salt-n-Pepa have new music coming out? I heard about a single "Hate On."

P: That was a song we did to put an album together. We have a song we did the other day called "Shut It Down" and we have been playing that song lately. It is really a party song. It's really fun and I love it so they are going to be pushing that one soon and getting it out there.

JN: How are the other girls, Spinderella and Salt, doing?

P: Well, Salt is great. She's happy and in a great place now. She has good people around her now. She is having fun on the road now, before she hated it, but seems to be having a good time now. Spin is with us on a couple of shows but not all of them. Spin is doing so-so because she lost both of her parents within two months.

JN: I am sorry to hear that. Are you selling your house?

P: No, Salt was thinking about me moving to Atlanta so had everyone talking about it, telling me to go to Atlanta and she was moving there. I am going to follow her one day but my daughter wants to finish school in New Jersey. She is going into the 8th grade. Salt has a lot of family and her mother is close to Atlanta so we have always talked about it. We just haven't done it. For a while we wanted to go to LA, then it was Florida. Now everyone is in Atlanta, music, film, it is really a great place.

JN: People can keep up on where you are going on with your website correct?

P: Yes, we just got P://www.saltnpepa.net" target="new">saltnpepa.net and you know what? I will be honest. I am horrible with Twitter but everyone is getting on me to keep up on it. I will try to get into it but it's really hard.

JN: I agree with you!

P: It is so hard but it is the world now and all about Twitter.

JN: You can Twitter from Milwaukee soon.

P: That's a good idea. I will see you there!

See the ladies at PrideFest Milwaukee this weekend on Saturday, June 11. Hip hop over to P://www.pridefest.com" target="new">www.pridefest.com for details.

Interviewed by Jerry Nunn. Jerry Nunn is a contributing writer to the GoPride Network. His work is also featured in Windy City Times, Nightspots Magazine and syndicated nationally.