Salt-N-Pepa’s Cheryl James claims she was ‘asked to have an abortion’ to preserve her career
Rapper Cheryl “Salt” James of hip-hop duo Salt-N-Pepa has dropped a bombshell revelation about how the music industry treated her as a young mother.
In celebration of hip-hop’s 50th anniversary, James and her groupmate Sandra “Peppa” Denton appeared on the Tamron Hall show to speak about the challenges and triumphs of their career.
Hours before the episode’s premiere on Tuesday (9 May), the talk show shared an exclusive teaser with Billboard.
In the clip, host Hall addresses the ongoing struggles women face – particularly in male-dominated industries – and how they’re often forced to choose between motherhood and a career.
Asked what it was like in the early years, continuing to tour and make music as mothers, James admitted it was “definitely harder”.
“I don’t think I’ve ever said this out loud, oooh Tamron! I was actually asked to have an abortion – I won’t say by who,” she revealed. “But to your point, yeah, you just have to know that it’s something that you’re capable of handling if you want a kid and you want to have a career.”
To that point, Denton added: “We said, ‘We can do it’ and whatever came my way, I handled it, which was taking the good with the bad … ’cause someone has to do it!
“When they think it can’t, they panic, the labels and people. ‘Oh my god, how are you gonna? The sales! Sales, sales!’ But you know, we did it.”
Formed in 1985 by Denton and James, Salt-N-Pepa’s success in the late Eighties and Nineties paved the way for female rappers in hip-hop.
In 1990, Denton welcomed her eldest child Tyran, 33, and her second, Egypt, 23, in 1998.
Meanwhile, James had her first child, Corin, in 1991 and her second, Chapele, in 1999.
“Having my daughter, besides finding Jesus, is the best thing that I’ve ever experienced, my kids,” James said. “Like, I needed that lil’ baby in my life, you know? She kept me company on the road.”