It has to be tough to have a biopic produced about your life because you have to sit back and allow a team of people to bring your story to life. Oftentimes, writers and producers will take creative license in an effort to produce a more compelling story that resonates with readers, which can sometimes rob the story of its authenticity. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Cheryl “Salt” James confessed that this was a huge concern for her when she and her Salt-N-Pepa bandmate, Sandra “Pepa” Denton, were approached with a biopic opportunity.
“It’s exciting, and it’s something that Pep’s been wanting to do for years,” James said. “I’ve been afraid to do it because it’s so personal, but Pep ain’t having it. She’s like, ‘We have to tell our stories.’ So here we are.”
The divorced mother of two adds, “The reservations that I had was definitely the story being as true to life as possible. You can tell your story and then by the time it goes through a writer, director, and a movie company, sometimes it’s not exactly what you want to portray. Also when you’re telling your story, there are other people in your life that are involved you have to be… I felt like I had to be delicate about incorporating other people’s stories in my story.”
As for what was off-limits for the film’s storyline, James said that she did not allow her marriage to her ex-husband, Devin Wray, or her relationship with her father to be exploited for the movie.
“They’ve been, in the past, delicate relationships. Nothing so much with myself or with Pep, because it’s our story,” she explained.
James and Wray wed in 2000 and quietly divorced in 2018 following divorce proceedings that lasted close to four years. The iconic rapper notes that it was one of the hardest experiences she has ever gone through.
”I’m newly divorced, for about a year. And I went through a really difficult divorce. It was hard, one of the darkest times of my life because it took so long. I was with my husband for… my daughter’s 27… so 28 years,” James told The Jasmine Brand in 2019. “It was me trying to fill someone else’s void. And I didn’t realize that I was doing that. Sometimes we make ourselves small to fit in someone’s box and accommodate them. A lot of times we do that with men. And when I was coming out, it was a long process of me coming out of the dark part of being divorced.”
Salt-N-Pepa premieres on January 23 on Lifetime.
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