Depending on who you ask, many may remember the iconic hip-hop girl group Salt-N-Pepa as a duo consisting of Sandra “Pepa” Denton and Cheryl “Salt” James. However, those familiar with the group’s history know them to be a trio, with its third member the DJ Deidra “DJ Spinderella” Roper.
Roper, who was with the Grammy Award-winning group for over 30 years, has been very vocal about her troubles with her former band mates and feeling left out of significant decisions relating to the group.
During an interview on Fox Soul, Roper spoke to Claudia Jordan about her time with the unit and how she felt playing background in the group for decades.
“Playing that role. That was the role. A DJ stands behind. Not all DJs. Some DJs are very outspoken. But I did what I was supposed to, what I was told to do, and I thought I did it very well,” Roper explained. She added, “I’m a team player. I know that there are different parts to the whole, and each part plays a role in making it what it is. Some people can take advantage of that. Because you’re not the one who’s outspoken, that’s power for them, a sign of weakness.”
Jordan reassured Roper that despite how she may have been treated in the past and while with the group, fans considered her vital member of the trio. “You don’t have to say it, but I will say you were a very big part and an important part of the group,” Jordan told Roper. “I grew up looking up to y’all. Dressing like y’all, and Spin was the one like, ‘you’re so pretty,’ and you could tell that you were just mad humble.”
Roper, who has produced many songs for the group, revealed that she believes power trips is what caused situations to play out the way they did. “When you don’t see someone that works, that does the same thing that you’re doing as an equal, and you treat them as such — I woke up to that. I woke up to that and said no more,” Roper explained.
The 48-year-old said her issue at that time was her using her voice. “It was stuck. It was hard to get out and make sense of it, but I know had to get away from that,” Roper said. She added, “and it feels really good. It feels like I’m reborn.”
In August 2019, Roper found herself in a legal battle with her former collaborators. Billboard reported that the DJ was suing her former bandmates Denton and James for fraud, breach of contract, and trademark infringement after she was fired from the group via email in January 2019. Roper also claimed that she was shorted more than $600,000 in royalties and cut out of numerous opportunities over a span of years.
Last August a U.S. District Court judge presiding over the lawsuit denied Roper’s requests for immediate relief against Salt-N-Pepa and its management and instead sent the case into mediation. The outcome of the mediation has yet to be made public.