The overwhelming success of the N.W.A. biopic, Straight Outta Compton, has been making headlines all week. Praise has been heavy for director’s F. Gary Gray‘s vision and the strong performances from the cast in depicting the lives of the influential hip-hop group. However, the group’s misogynistic lyrics and domestic violence past caught the eye of one highly connected viewer.
Dee Barnes, a media personality and rapper, watched the film with impressive objectivity and noted that one infamous incident of N.W.A.’s rise to fame was conveniently missing from the final product. In 1991, Barnes was the victim of a violent assault by Dr. Dre, who beat and kicked her while attempting to throw her down a set of stairs. Barnes brought a $22.75 million lawsuit against Dr. Dre, which was settled out of court with the famous producer only paying just over $2,000 in fines and serving community service.
Barnes offered her take of the film as a special to Gawker. Read the excerpts below:
Dre, who executive produced the movie along with his former groupmate Ice Cube, should have owned up to the time he punched his labelmate Tairrie B twice at a Grammys party in 1990. He should have owned up to the black eyes and scars he gave to his collaborator Michel’le. And he should have owned up to what he did to me. That’s reality. That’s reality rap. In his lyrics, Dre made hyperbolic claims about all these heinous things he did to women. But then he went out and actually violated women. Straight Outta Compton would have you believe that he didn’t really do that. It doesn’t add up. It’s like Ice Cube saying, “I’m not calling all women bitches,” which is a position he maintains even today at age 46. If you listen to the lyrics of “A Bitch Iz a Bitch,” Cube says, “Now the title bitch don’t apply to all women / But all women have a little bitch in ‘em.” So which is it? You can’t have it both ways. That’s what they’re trying to do with Straight Outta Compton: They’re trying to stay hard, and look like good guys.
Their minds were so ignorant back then, claiming that I set them up and made them look stupid. That wasn’t a setup. It was journalism and television, first of all, and secondly, I had nothing to do with the decision to run the package as it did. After an interview with N.W.A., the segment ended with Ice Cube saying “I got all you suckers 100 miles and runnin’,” and then, imitating N.W.A. affiliate the D.O.C.: “I’d like to give a shoutout to the D.O.C. Y’all can’t play me.” I was a pawn in the game. I was in it, but so was a true opportunist: the director of Straight Outta Compton, F. Gary Gray.
That’s right. F. Gary Gray, the man whose film made $60 million last weekend as it erased my attack from history, was also behind the camera to film the moment that launched that very attack. He was my cameraman for Pump It Up! You may have noticed that Gary has been reluctant to address N.W.A.’s misogyny and Dre’s attack on me in interviews. I think a huge reason that Gary doesn’t want to address it is because then he’d have to explain his part in history. He’s obviously uncomfortable for a reason.
To read the rest of Dee Barnes’ account of Straight Outta Compton and her encounter with Dr. Dre, click here.
SOURCE: Gawker | PHOTO CREDIT: Universal