The iconic hip-hop group — consisting of Cheryl "Salt" James, Sandra "Pepa" Denton, and Deidra "DJ Spinderella" Roper — earned the distinction when they reunited Friday to unveil their plaque in Los Angeles.
"Your setback is a setup for your comeback," James, 56, said. "Everything you're experiencing and learning along the way is preparing you for what you asked for, for what you prayed for."
The ceremony gave all three women, who rose to prominence in the '80s with hit singles like "Shoop," "Push It," and "Whatta Man," a chance to share what the experience means to them in separate speeches.
This moment marked the group's first public appearance together since Spinderella left the group in 2019 which followed a lawsuit over alleged unpaid royalties. She also claimed to have received a "termination" email to leave the group. Since that time, Spinderella said she's been "wrongfully excluded" from Lifetime's biopic about the group and that their relationship was "over." But on Friday, the band put issues aside momentarily to celebrate their lasting legacy.
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"Women everywhere were inspired, forever changed by the message of strength and independence," Spinderella, 51, said. "And what our message did for you guys, it also did for me as well... Thank you S and P for mentoring me. Salt, Pep, life lessons. We've been through the ups and downs. But I have to thank you for those lessons. Because it wasn't just the music to me. It was our relationship. And that means everything to me. So whatever we gotta do to fix that, let's get some unity back in this. Let's figure it out and be iconic and be what the fans want."
Elsewhere during the ceremony, Denton, 55, said she was "honored" by the distinction as she reflected on the death of her father, and how his words helped her decide to attend school in Queens. That's where she met her musical partner for the first time. "When he passed, that's all I could think about, 'Oh, my god, I gotta make my daddy proud, be strong, do these things."
Denton also looked at the current state of hip-hop, specifically as it pertains to women in the game, and how Salt-N-Pepa contributed to paving the way.
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"It was a No. 1 question, will hip-hop last," she said. "And I was like, 'Yo, they love us all over this world.' And look at that. Hip-hop has lasted for the women. We gotta keep empowering each other like we do, lifting each other up, pass the torch. And I'm telling you, this is our time as well. And it goes to show you that Salt-N-Pepa got a stamp on the Earth."
Salt-N-Pepa will soon perform on Dancing with the Stars for "'90s Night" on Nov. 7, which will also feature other memorable acts from the decade like Kid 'N Play, En Vogue, and Vanilla Ice on Disney+.