Though rumors of Dr. Dre’s history of abuse against women are nothing new, Straight Outta Compton’s release has motivated R&B singer Michel’le and journalist Dee Barnes to bring the troubling conversation back into the spotlight.
Barnes has now broken her silence on the film with an essay penned for Gawker, in which she revealed that Gray actually served as a cameraman for Pump It Up!, and that he was partially responsible for the Ice Cube clip airing, which she feels played a role in his hesitance to include the event in the movie. The song debates assaulting a woman before featuring the lyric: “You gonna take advice from somebody who slapped Dee Barnes?”
“Dr. Dre straddled me and beat me mercilessly on the floor of the women’s restroom at the Po Na Na Souk nightclub in 1991”, she wrote.
A lot has already been said about the way Straight Outta Compton both glorifies violence and hypes up N.W.A., and that’s probably all true, a symptom of a biopic both made too soon and with the involvement of some of its subjects.
Barnes recounts thinking Dre would kill her that night, and though he recently admitted to making some “f***king disgusting mistakes” to Rolling Stone, he didn’t get specific. It was in the door and it went in the side of the wall in the bathroom. I wasn’t even thinking about being attacked at the time, I was just afraid that they were going to shoot each other. When I was sitting there in the theatre, and the movie’s timeline skipped by my attack without a glance, I was like, ‘Uhhh, what happened?’
Promotional material for upcoming film Straight Outta Compton says the gangsta rappers whose story the film tells- Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Eazy-E- “spoke the truth that no one had before”. After being portrayed in a minor role in F. Gary Gray’s recent N.W.A.-saluting film, L.A. DJ Greg Mack will now apparently have his own story told in an upcoming biopic.
She also told Power 105.1’s “The Breakfast Club“, “When he gave me my very first black eye, we laid in the bed and cried”. “I never understood why an upstanding lady would even think we’re talking about her”. I like being in the control room and directing people. She finally addressed the movie in an article for Gawker. “The past holds onto me”.
So when it comes to changing the equation for artists who provide music via the streaming services, Kennedy says, “I don’t think anybody has the answer”.
Barnes discusses her time with Dre and other NWA members before they “blew up” fondly. “He’s obviously uncomfortable for a reason”, she writes.
“People talk all this sh*t, but you know, somebody f***s with me, I’m gonna f*** with them”.