Lifetime is bringing fans the ultimate musical biopic with the release of Salt-N-Pepa on Jan. 23. G.G. Townson and Laila Odom star as the legendary duo, Cheryl “Salt” James and Sandra “Pepa” Denton. The film follows Salt and Pepa from nursing students to their rise to fame as one of the first all-female rap groups. GG and Laila opened up to HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY about playing these amazing women.
“What stood out for me the most with playing Cheryl was how open she was and how willing she was to tell her story,” GG told HollywoodLife. “Even through the process of us getting to know each other, [just] how open and detailed she was, even with things that she didn’t have to be about. We had a lot of conversations that were completely off of the script in the movie, just about life and life experiences that we shared with each other.”
As for Laila, she revealed that what stood out to her the most was she and Pepa have “this similarity that is just something that I didn’t know until I got around her. I didn’t know until I really started to talk to her. Before we were shooting, I read her book and then I met her. It was so special to meet someone that reminds you of yourself.”
Salt-N-Pepa’s biggest hits include “Push It,” “Whatta Man,” “Shoop,” and more. GG and Laila revealed what it was like tackling such well-known songs. They had to undergo weeks of training leading up to performing “Push It.”
“The day that we shot ‘Push It,’ I was so nervous and just shaking in my space boots,” GG admitted. “After we finished, I don’t know if you had this moment, Laila, but the way that the crew, because no one had seen it before, and the way that they were just cheering and even all of our background… It was as if we just had a concert, like, legit. That was such a dope moment because all the preparation that we’d been doing. But to actually put it on its feet and have that reaction and be able to pay that respect and the homage to them and get that reaction was dope for me.”
Learning choreography was tough, but it was worth it at the end of the day. “So You Think You Can Dance is what it should have been titled because we both have a dance background, we’re performers, we’ve done this since we were kids, but nothing prepares you for a biopic like this,” Laila told HollywoodLife. “Whatever the dance was, we did the full song. So we didn’t do like, oh, let’s do 30 seconds. We knew choreo for the whole song, multiple songs. We perform ‘Push It’ twice as the video and then as a performance that happens later in their career… It’s just so amazing to be a part of history because we’re watching it, and then we’re recreating it. So it’s a level of we’re a part of it, too, now. Those moments are unforgettable, honestly.” Salt-N-Pepa will air at 8 p.m. on Lifetime.