With the release of NWA biopic “Straight Outta Compton” just days away, the surviving group members have naturally been on a promo tour. While most of the conversation has been nostalgic about the group’s trailblazing rise to fame – highlighting in part how the controversial hit ‘F**k tha Police” is still relevant in 2015 – there is a segment of people that want you also to remember the violence and misogyny the group’s era ushered into rap.
In a cover story interview for Rolling Stone magazine, Dr. Dre was asked about his personal history of violent behavior towards women.
In 1990, following Ice Cube’s bitter split with NWA behind money, there was a local video show that would air on Fox 11 in LA on Friday nights called Pump it up, the host was a female rapper named Dee Barnes.
Producers had Dee interview both NWA and Ice Cube separately and then edited the footage together. This was viewed as a diss by Dre and NWA. When Dre and Dee finally saw each other again, in January of 1991, it was at a music industry event in LA. Dre proceeded to savagely beat her. Dre reportedly body slammed her even chasing her into the women’s restroom, before people were finally able to get him off of her.
Barnes filed assault charges plus a $22.75 million lawsuit against Dr. Dre. The outcome ended up being a private settlement and Dre pleading no contest to the assault charge. He was fined $2,500, placed on two years’ probation, and ordered to perform 240 hours of community service.
In an interview with Rolling Stone in 1991, Dre, Ren and Eazy all showed no remorse for the situation.
The incident isn’t included in the film.
Dre’s longtime ex-girlfriend and son Marcel’s mother singer Michellé has also spoken about the alleged beatings she took from Dre back in the day.
“I had five black eyes, I have a cracked rib, I have scars that are just amazing. It was normal. Everybody that knew, it was the norm,” she said. “When he gave me my very first black eye, we laid in the bed and cried. He was crying and I was crying because I was in shock, hurt and in pain. I don’t know why he was crying, but he said ‘I’m really sorry.’ And he said, ‘I’ll never hit you in that eye again, okay?’”
Although Dre and Michelle were together for at least five to six years, and she was signed to Eazy E’s Ruthless records where she had three hit singles in 1990, she is left out of the movie also.
When asked about those incidents during his interview, Dre acknowledged it was horrible, but claims he would never act in that way again.
“I made some f—–g horrible mistakes in my life,” Dre said. “I was young, f—–g stupid. I would say all the allegations aren’t true – some of them are. Those are some of the things that I would like to take back. It was really f—d up. But I paid for those mistakes, and there’s no way in hell that I will ever make another mistake like that again.”
Does the fact that he has a history of violence towards women have a factor in if you’ll go see “Straight Outta Compton?” Do you think people can really move on from that type of history?