live ’n’ loud: Salt-N-Pepa know how far to push it ........

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY CONTENTS - – ROSE SADLEIR

THEY carved the way for women in hip hop but when it comes to over­sex­u­al­i­sa­tion, New York-based duo Salt-N-Pepa know how far to push it.

Cheryl ‘‘Salt’’ James, Sandy ‘‘Pepa’’ Den­ton and Dei­dra Roper – aka DJ Spin­derella – broke through the male­dom­i­nated hip hop scene in the mid-’80s with their sassy hits Let’s Talk About Sex, Shoop and Push It.

The Grammy Award-win­ning group, who have sold more than 15 mil­lion al­bums world­wide, ar­rive in Aus­tralia in Novem­ber and will re­turn to play the Gold Coast as part of a four-date national tour.

While Salt-N-Pepa be­lieve fe­male dom­i­nance is a long way off in the ‘‘testos­terone driven, misog­y­nis­tic, male-ori­en­tated’’ hip hop world, Salt says women in the in­dus­try shouldn’t feel pres­sured to por­tray them­selves as sex­ual ob­jects.

That said, Salt wasn’t sur­prised to see Mi­ley Cyrus’s sex­u­alised per­for­mance at last month’s VMA awards.

‘‘The com­pe­ti­tion to be sexy is very se­vere right now in mu­sic for women and some­times you can come off a lit­tle des­per­ate,’’ she says.

‘‘I feel like Mi­ley Cyrus is hav­ing a lit­tle bit of an iden­tity cri­sis, which we all have in our 20s but she is hav­ing it in front of the whole world.

‘‘It seems now a lot of young artists are be­gin­ning to ex­plore . . . we did it, but I felt like (Mi­ley’s per­for­mance) was a lit­tle bit over the top.’’

While Salt ad­mits she re­mem­bers feel­ing ‘‘the pres­sure to be sexy’’, she says it’s im­por­tant for fe­males to of­fer some­thing else that’s spe­cial to mu­sic.

‘‘We did that, Salt-N-Pepa brought fun and fem­i­nin­ity to hip hop,’’ she says.

‘‘We were dif­fer­ent in the way we dressed and peo­ple ap­pre­ci­ated our lyrics and could re­late to us. We were out­spo­ken but hav­ing so much fun.’’

Out­spo­ken rap­pers like Tyler The Cre­ator from US hip hop col­lec­tive Odd Fu­ture are crit­i­cised for in­sult­ing women with words, of­ten cross­ing the boarder with lyrics which pro­mote vi­o­lence against women.

Salt says as an artist, she’s not one to judge what acts like Odd Fu­ture say, but as a mother, she can’t agree with it.

‘‘I didn’t ap­pre­ci­ate the flack we used to get be­cause you have a right to ex­press art as an artist,’’ she says.

‘‘But a lot of what is be­ing said is damming to women. I sup­port girl power all the way.

‘‘Any­thing that in­spires women to be be strong, be sur­vivors, to love out loud and to con­quer is a pos­i­tive mes­sage to me,’’ she says.

Salt-N-Pepa play Jupiters Ho­tel & Casino on Novem­ber 12. Tick­ets start at $79.

Cheryl ‘Salt’ James and Sandy ‘Pepa’ Den­ton aka Salt-N-Pepa

Twerker Mi­ley Cyrus

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