Ever since the ladies of Salt-N-Pepa started promoting their recent Lifetime biopic of the same name, DJ Spinderella, who was excluded from the film following her being kicked out of the group in 2019, has been setting the record straight on just about everything. From her time asking the ladies to address the fact that there were three members in the group but she wasn’t in the name, to feeling they’d been cruel in their treatment of her since she was pushed out, Spin, born Deidra Roper, hasn’t left a stone unturned.
In her latest conversation with Hollywood Unlocked‘s Jason Lee, the 49-year-old DJ, rapper, and producer gave some insight into a question many people have had about the group’s legacy: Why didn’t they allow Tupac Shakur’s face to be shown in the “Whatta Man” video?
If you’ve ever watched the clip for their beloved collaboration with En Vogue, you’ve noticed that ‘Pac, whose tattoos can be seen and likeness is clear, never has his face shown in the video despite his numerous moments curled up with Cheryl “Salt” James. According to Spinderella, it’s because there were concerns about Pac’s image.
“I think they were thinking Tupac’s image was a little too rough for Salt-N-Pepa,” she said.
Of course, the rapper, who was becoming a star around the time the video was shot in 1994 and would reach superstardom in 1995, was not happy to see that he’d been used, but hidden.
“He was furious about that because them not showing him was supposedly benefitting Salt-N-Pepa’s image,” she said. “That’s the take that I got, which is crazy because ‘Pac, he stood for something. He stood for something and he spoke — he was prophetic. He was just a standard that people adhere to in Hip-Hop. He was like a bible. And I don’t know, they wanted the squeaky clean image for Salt-N-Pepa.”
So why bother letting him shoot the video in the first place? Spin says she doesn’t understand it, herself.
“They showed his tattoo. You saw his tattoo,” she said. “And if that’s the case, why was Treach in it? Because Treach wasn’t the most perfect person either [laughs]. I don’t know! I love my brothers.”
Treach did appear in the video alongside Sandra “Pepa” Denton. He was dating her for some time (they would go on to marry in 1999 and divorce in 2001) and by that point, he had his own less than squeaky clean image (“O.P.P.” came out in 1991 and we know what that acronym stood for…). Nevertheless, ‘Pac got the faceless, nameless treatment.
Last year, Salt-N-Pepa said that it was because of his legal troubles that everything happened the way it did. Prior to the video being done, ‘Pac had been accused of sexually assaulting a woman in a hotel room and of shooting two police officers. Charges were dropped in the latter situation, but he was convicted of first-degree sexual abuse and sent to prison for nine months for the former.
“The record company all panicked and only kept shots where you can’t see him,” Pepa told Rock the Bells. “There were some great Tupac shots. And Salt always kicks herself. You can’t fight the record company.”
“[His reputation] was the whole reason,” Salt added. “I hate that when I watch the video, it really bothers me.”
As for Spin, she said in that HU interview that he was rightfully upset.
“I know his reaction was he wasn’t happy about that. It had gotten back to us that he wasn’t very happy about it. Because he did the work, he wanted to be seen, and he should have,” she said.
When it was mentioned by Lee that she and ‘Pac were seemingly in the same boat, being used by the ladies in one capacity or another only to not be formally recognized, she agreed.
“I never thought about that…Honey, I tell you this: When you hide things, it comes to light,” she said.