I need to be honest, when I watched the first trailer for the new Lifetime film SALT N PEPA a few months back, I was skeptical about everything! The look, the casting, the network – we know Lifetime is not batting a thousand when it comes to biopics, although last year’s “The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel” was a very welcome surprise.
But had I researched prior to screening it last week, I would have been more trusting, especially after finding out the movie’s director is none other than Mario Van Peebles (New Jack City, Baadasssss!) with a screenplay written by Abdul Williams (The New Edition Story, The Bobby Brown Story).
The end results? It greatly exceeded my expectations, as well as leads GG Townson as Cheryl “Salt” James and Laila Odom as Sandra “Pepa” Denton – who embodied more of the legendary emcees than I imagined they were capable.
My two biggest gripes: 1) similar to The Clark Sisters biopic, I wish it was at least a two-part miniseries, and 2) that DJ Spinderella wasn’t a bigger part of the story, which the artist has addressed herself on social media (click hyperlink).
I don’t know anyone who grew up listening to Salt N Pepa that never considered Spin to be part of the group, and her story was noticeably absent.
And although I enjoyed the film, it felt rushed during the second half and could have comfortably fit in a second part to expound on all three stories further.
But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that both James and Denton served as executive producers, along with Shakim Compere and Queen Latifah, and were very much involved in what parts of their stories were shared.
And anyone who knows the group’s connection to Martin Lawrence and Kid ‘n Play will be thrilled to see that portrayed in the film as well.
All in all, I greatly enjoyed the nostalgic trip down memory lane I took with this film and appreciate that the group’s journey (as much as allowed) from Queensborough Community College students to being the first female rap act to go platinum and reach record-breaking success is being shared with audiences old and new while they are here to witness.
I rate the film 3.5 out of 5 on the MMTrometer.
SALT N PEPA premieres tonight at 8pm on Lifetime, with the special LET’S TALK ABOUT SALT-N-PEPA following at 11pm.
Until next thought, Thomasena