Rapper, DJ and music producer Deidra "Dee Dee" Roper was born on August 3, 1971, in Brooklyn, New York. As a teenager she began performing as a DJ in New York's emerging hip-hop scene. Taking "Spinderella" as her DJ name, she joined Cheryl James and Sandra Denton as the third member of hip-hop group Salt-N-Pepa in 1987. The trio released several successful albums in the late 1980s and '90s, and won a Grammy Award in 1994.
Childhood and School Years
Deidra Muriel Roper was born on August 3, 1971, in the borough of Brooklyn in New York City. She grew up in Brooklyn as one of five children. She would later recall that her father's extensive record collection had given her an early appreciation for music.
In high school, Roper—known to friends as "Dee Dee"—dated a boy who was a DJ at local parties and clubs where early hip-hop music was being played. She learned some DJ techniques from her boyfriend and began making her own appearances as a DJ in the local music scene. When she was 16 years old, a classmate approached Roper at school and asked her whether she would be interested in joining a female hip-hop group. The classmate was connected to hip-hop producer Hurby Azor, the manager of the up-and-coming group Salt-N-Pepa. Roper auditioned for Azor and was invited to join Salt-N-Pepa as their DJ.
With her parents' permission, Deidra "Dee Dee" Roper left school and joined Sandra "Pepa" Denton and Cheryl "Salt" James as the newest member of Salt-N-Pepa. Denton and James had recently parted ways with their original DJ, Pamela Latoya Greene. Only a few weeks after Roper joined the duo, taking "Spinderella" as her DJ name, Salt-N-Pepa's single "Push It" became a hit. Roper was included in the song's video and began to tour as part of Salt-N-Pepa, backing up the two rappers with instrumental music and sampling on her turntables.
Roper participated in the recording of Salt-N-Pepa's second album, A Salt with a Deadly Pepa, released in 1988, as well as the group's following three albums. She shared their success with hits like "Shake Your Thang," "Let's Talk About Sex" and "Shoop," as well as the single "None of Your Business," which garnered a Grammy Award for best rap performance in 1995.
By the time Salt-N-Pepa disbanded in 2002, the group had sold more than 12 million records worldwide. Roper, James and Denton were recognized as trailblazers for other women in hip-hop and as an important force in hip-hop's gradual crossover into mainstream pop music.
Deidra Roper has continued to perform as a DJ at events nationwide. She co-hosted a radio show in Los Angeles from 2003 to 2006, and from 2007 to 2008 she made several appearances on a reality-television show about James's and Denton's lives after the break-up of Salt-N-Pepa.
She has also been involved with the American Diabetes Association as a spokesperson in the fight against diabetes.
Roper had a daughter, named Christenese, with former National Basketball Association player Kenny Anderson in 1992. She has also dated basketball player Kermit Holmes.
(Profile photo of Deidra "Dee Dee" Roper by Tim Roney/Getty Images)
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