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Let's Talk About Pep Hardcover – August 26, 2008

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About the Author

Sandy "Pepa" Denton formed Salt-N-Pepa in 1986. The group went on to become one of the most significant rap groups of all time, winning numerous awards and nominations. Denton continued to grow with acting roles in movies, on television, and with her top-rated program The Salt-N-Pepa Show.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One
The Chameleon's Curse

I was born in Jamaica. My earliest memories are of being on my grandmother's farm in St. Elizabeth's, which was considered the cush-cush or upper-class section of Jamaica, between Negril and Kingston. We lived in what they called the country, and I just remember running free and not having a care in the world. I didn't come to the States until I was about six. That's when life became complicated.

I was the youngest of eight. The baby. My mother said I was the cutest baby she had ever seen. When I six months old, she entered me in this contest to be the face of O-Lac's, which was Jamaica's version of Gerber baby food. They were looking for a fat, healthy baby, and I won the contest. I was the face -- this smiling, fat, toothless baby -- on O-Lac's for years. I guess I was destined for stardom.

My parents moved to the United States when I was three. One by one, each of my sisters left, too. I know that my father had a government job in Jamaica. I don't know what happened with it. I just remember talk of "opportunity" and "education" in America.

In Jamaica, you had to pay for education after primary school. And getting an education was big in my family. So maybe that's why they left. I never asked. You didn't ask questions when I was growing up. My family was traditional, and kids didn't ask adults questions, you just accepted things -- whatever those things were.

I ended up being in Jamaica with my grandmother and one of my older sisters. My parents would come back from time to time, but I was there for a couple of years before they finally moved me to the States, too.

I loved my family, but I never quite fit in with them. I was always a little bit different. My sister Dawn was the rebel, the black sheep. I watched how she used to get beatings -- I mean real beatings, not some little old spankings -- and I didn't want any of that. My parents, mostly my father, tried to beat the rebellion out of Dawn. It didn't work, though. It might have made her more rebellious.

By the time I got to the States, she was hanging out with the wrong crowds, staying out way beyond the curfew and trying to sneak in the house and getting caught. She used to steal my father's gun. She would fight. And eventually she turned to drugs. But that was my girl! I looked up to Dawn. I just didn't want to suffer any of those beatings, so I was a "good girl." I did what I was told -- as far as they knew -- and I stayed out of trouble. But I was always a little different.

When I was on that farm in Jamaica, I would get into all kinds of trouble. One day I remember I got ahold of a machete. I was only like five years old. Don't ask me how I got it or where I got it from, but I had this machete and a bucket. I went around the farm looking for lizards or chameleons. They had all kinds of creatures on this farm, but there were a lot of chameleons. I was fascinated by them, watching them go to a green plant and turn green, then to the ground and turn brown. I walked around looking for them, and I would chop them in half and throw them into my bucket.

By the end of the day, I had a bucket full of chopped-up lizards. My sister came out and saw what I was doing and she scared the hell out of me.

"What is that you're doing?!" she screamed. "Dem lizards gwon ride ya."

She was telling me that the lizards were going to haunt me. That my doing that had unleashed some kind of curse.

"Dem gwon ride ya!" my sister kept saying in her Jamaican patois.

Well, they did ride me. As I got older, a lot of my friends would tell me, "You're such a chameleon."

It was true. I was real good at blending in. I was good at taking on whatever was around me. If I hung out with thugs, I would be a thug. If I hung out with a prince, it was nothing for me to become royalty. My ability to fit in has been a blessing, but also a curse.

The very thing that got me into Salt-N-Pepa -- going with the flow and doing what I was told -- was the same thing that got me in a lot of bad situations. Being a chameleon or just going with whatever wasn't good for me. It allowed me to put up with things I shouldn't have put up with. It allowed me to be with people I should not have been with because I wasn't able to just be myself and say no or walk away. It never let me ask, "What do I want out of life?" It never allowed me to really think about me and my needs first.

I wanted to fit in. I wanted to be accepted. I wanted people to like me. Copyright © 2008 by Sandra Denton


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: VH1 Books; First Edition edition (August 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416551417
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416551416
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,192,113 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By N. Trought on August 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I saw that this book wasn't available until Aug 26th. Well, I pre-ordered it from Amazon and was pleasantly surprised to receive it on the 19th.

This book was a quick read and I finished it in 2 days. Overall, I liked the book. Pepa starts her story from about the age of 5 and it ends with her in the present. In between that time period, Pepa goes through ALOT with the things she has experienced. I don't want to give things away, but I emphasize ALOT based on here relationships with males, particularly her relationship with Treach of Naughty by Nature. When they divorced, I never knew why, but in this book, she reveals what she went through and why their relationship just had to end. As a matter of fact, I had to skip parts of the chapters that dealt with him because it was too much. I am happy she left, for her and her children's good. It is a powerful testimony.

As for the rest of Pepa's story, you learn about her family, childhood, rise to fame, her gifts and curses, her and Cheryl's relationship as Salt N Pepa and as friends. In the end, you learn how Pepa has grown and takes some responsibility for her life experiences and how she knows to make better choices for herself. She has learned her true worth and to not accept less.

I strongly feel that this book could help other girls and women who have had similar experiences. I was pleased with the book and would recommend it. I take off 1 star because there are times in the book where a story would veer off and not bring closure to that story until later. Also, the events didn't seem to be in order at times.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Kamah Alicia Scott on September 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I found this work very interesting. I grew up listening to Salt N Pepa. I was in 5th grade and we were all called into Assembly to discuss what could and could not happen at our talent show. This song could not be performed lol. We could not AAAAAHHHH PUSH IT. I loved this song and although I was not a freshpot, I knew what the song was talking about but the beat was amazing. We had the Juke Box network back then and Salt and Pepa were what's up. Everyone wanted the 8 Ball Jackets, and all the older girls in the hood shaved their hair on the side and had that big curl or stuck a piece of weave up in it to execute that Salt N Peppa look.

Aside from being a fan of the music I remember being a fan of the gossip and walking to the 7 Eleven to get my Word Up Magazine ripping out posters and jacking up the wall of my room.

I remember Naughty By Nature, My first concert that mattered when I was around 15, they appeared at Drexel University. Treach was the ish, his whole persona was like WOW. I still have pictures. I even fell at the bottom of the Police Athletic League trying to execute my Salt N Peppa criss cross, spin and backward dip dance move when I thought my crush would be coming into the party. Yes this book brought back memories.

I remember the rumors about Pep getting beat down etc. I was young but I was always in on the drama listening to my cousin who club hopped and always had a story to tell about clubs in New York, hanging out in Jersey etc. I never beleived those stories because Pepa was a gangsta B*tch. The kind that rapper Apache spoke about. That was true to an extent.

This book changed my perception a great deal, inside that hard exterior was someone that was hurting her whole life, trying to be accepted.

I am glad that Ms.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Delano Sampson on September 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I was looking around Barns and Nobles on Saturday and came across Pepa's Book. I got my copy and went right up to the register to purchase it. I was amazed that she went through the stuff that she did. I couldn't put the book down!!! I was really surprised about her relationship with her first husband Treach as well as her 2nd marriage. behind the smile and music there was much pain. I am happy that she wrote her story and it taught me to keep that dialogue open with young kids to speak up when they are being molested or going through any kind of hurt and pain. Thanks Pep for sharing your joys and pain with us. Continued success.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Book Butterfly on September 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I have been a fan of Salt N Pepa since the beginning so I was very excited to read Pep's autobiography. I finished it in one day. She was brutally honest about the aspects of her life, even some that I'm sure must have been difficult, if not embarrassing, to reveal. As she told her story, I could remember hearing about those things in the news. Pep did a great job on this book!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rosa on September 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent autobiography. We really get to know the real person behind Salt and Pepa.And the many trials and tribulations that she goes thru to help others to not make the same mistakes that she made. The introduction as well the epilogue by Queen Latifah and Missy Elliot was great.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I've always had a great interest in reading about celebrities and how they got started. Pepa's story was like watching a movie on HBO! It was that good. It seemed like she didn't hold anything back. She started from the beginning and let us in on some of her secrets, how she grew up, how she became Pepa of Salt n Pepa and she even gave a front row seat to all the madness that went on in her relationships and marriages.

Once I started this book it was hard for me to put it down. I thought I knew Pepa by watching the reality shows she was in, Surreal Life and the one she did with Salt, but those shows were only teasers compared to what she revealed in her book.

HIGHLY recommended for Pepa fans and women are going through and can't seem to let go of bad relationships.
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