Salt-'N-Pepa Are Still Talking About Sex
Pepa is devoted to HIV awareness, empowering women, and really, really good sex.
After 30 years, Sandra Denton, aka Pepa, is still playing huge shows with Salt-N-Pepa, the legendary hip-hop group that implored a nation to push it real good. Pepa is also an active supporter of Lifebeat, a youth outreach organization that spreads the message of HIV and AIDS prevention. I met her at an event thrown by the organization in Manhattan to talk about about sex, baby. She's got a lot to say about the importance of making sure that it's not only safe, but also incredible.
BuzzFeed: How did you get involved with Lifebeat?
Pepa: It's been about 20 years now. Salt-N-Pepa did something with them at a show, and ever since, we've been big supporters of the organization. I'm so happy to still be a part of it today. It's been that long! But from then to now, it's an ongoing process. It's important for me to play a part in this, and the public can help raise awareness of HIV and AIDS by tweeting #archesofhope — get tested and spread the word!
BF: Do people ask you for sex advice a lot?
Pepa: My friends do, because I've been through some stuff. I'm really at a great place now, even in choosing someone to be with. I don't stand for the BS no more! I don't lower my standards for anyone anymore, not a tiny bit. It doesn't work! I know who I am and what I want, and I don't settle for anything less. So that's what I say to my friends, too, along with some other little tips.
BF: Do you think that "Shoop" and "Push It" changed the way that women thought about and spoke about sex?
Pepa: We empowered a lot of women. That's what drives us. It's always been a male-dominated field, and it still is to this day! So it felt good to have a voice, and for our record to be so inspirational in that way. Women looked up to us, and I have this platform, so I feel the need to help them in any way I can.
BF: What are the crowds like at your shows these days?
Pepa: The energy is amazing. People ask me if I still love it, and I sure love it, because of the fans that to this day come out and support and sing every single lyric. You would think I had a number-one record on the radio, with the magnitude of people that come out to the shows still.
BF: Are you writing any new empowering songs right now?
Pepa: Not currently. I'm working on a Push It line of workout things and trying to get fit! I'm working hard; I got me a trainer! It's hard — bread is my safe place, so I go a little crazy thinking about it. I, like, just smell stuff now when I miss it. But I want to show people, "Look, I gained some weight, but I'm losing it to fit into my own line!" Salt's trying to get fit, too, but she's a snacker. Don't tell her I said that.
BF: What else keeps you motivated?