POSSE IN EFFECT Danica, Kami, Julie, and Jill (kneeling).
Let's start with the text message I sent to half a dozen of my closest friends on a recent Saturday night:
Sent: Sat, Jul 7, 8:05 pm
I AM WATCHING SALT N PEPA DO SHOOP RIGHT NOW LIFE GOALS COMPLETELY MET GAME OVER
That's right. It was 2012, I was at the Tulalip Casino, and I was standing in a crowd of people dancing and shouting along with every single word of "Shoop" while actual Salt-N-Pepa shooped it up onstage. To make the scene crazier, they were only the openers. (Which: WTF?) The bill for the sold-out evening was, and I still can't say this with a straight face, Salt-N-Pepa, En Vogue, and Boyz II Men. Go on, take a minute. Let it sink in. I saved the wristband as proof, after wearing it for five days. It's still on my nightstand.
Let me back up: My love for Salt-N-Pepa is the sort of full-throttle, boundless adoration that comes close to zealotry. I rediscovered them in a bargain bin at Value Village years ago, where I bought Very Necessary as a nostalgic-for-the-'90s joke. Now I listen to it weekly. Theirs is a funny, frank feminism that somehow, through a layer of goofiness, reads to me as the closest music ever comes to the way my female friends and I actually talk about sex and life and gender dynamics. You know what is an automatic pick-me-up after a shitty street-harassment moment? Piping "Somebody's gettin' on my nerves/Forget that you're a lady and give 'em what they deserve!" straight into your ear holes. And no song laughs harder in the face of slut-shaming than "None of Your Business": "How many rules am I to break before you understand/That your double standards don't mean shit to me?"