We all know that life in Compton during the early 90s, when Dr. Dre and his crew was getting started was hardly that of a charmed life. Guns, drugs and violence was a part of the world reflected in N.W.A’s lyrics. Meanwhile, the film has been getting stellar reviews on sites like MovieSpoon.
According to the Daily Mail, A former friend of Dr Dre’s says the recently released biopic about his trailblazing group, N.W.A., is missing one serious detail: the violent beatings the rapper has purportedly given three women on his road to becoming a music mogul.
Dee Barnes, a musician and journalist who counted Eazy-E, Ice Cube and Dr Dre among her friends back before they were household names, was brutally beaten by Dre at a 1991 party after he became enraged by his belief that she’d used her show on Fox to humiliate him.
What’s more, Barnes says she wasn’t the first. She claims Dre’s then-girlfriend and occasional collaborator, Michel’le, was routinely beaten by the rap star. Barnes also details – in a piece on Gawker about the film and her experiences with N.W.A. – the experience of a white female rapper named Tairrie B who she says was attacked by Dre at a 1990 Grammys party as New Kids on the Block, Janet Jackson and Dick Clark looked on.
Listen to “Straight Outa Compton” – N.W.A
Barnes’ relationship with N.W.A, quickly went from warm to chilly following an interview with former member turned enemy Ice Cube on the set of the film Boyz N the Hood.
For the final piece, which aired on Fox’s Pump It Up, Ice Cube’s words trashing N.W.A. were spliced into an interview Barnes had done previously with the remaining N.W.A. members.
The result, by all accounts, left Dr Dre furious.
More: Read ‘Straight Outa Compton’ review on MovieSpoon.
By Barnes’ account, Dre showed up to a nightclub in 1991, where she says Dre ‘straddled me and beat me mercilessly on the floor of the women’s restroom’. Dr Dre eventually pleaded no contest to aggravated assault charges. A civil suit Barnes filed against Dre was settled out of court.
However, following the infamous assault, Dre and his fellow members of N.W.A, were remorseless – perhaps even proud of what they’d been a part of that night. Dre would tell Rolling Stone: ‘It ain’t no big thing – I just threw her through a door.’
Fellow NWA member MC Ren told MTV News: ‘That’s what she get, I hope she get it again… She tried to play us in front of millions of people. It’s not over yet.’ For Barnes, the violence against her was over but another woman says she suffered for years at Dre’s hand – his former lover and collaborator Michel’le.
Watch clip from MTV News
In her Gawker Barnes also brings up an incident that occurred prior to her assault but which was also ommitted from Straight Outta Compton. She writes: ‘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.’Tairrie B, a white female rapper who once counted herself among Eazy-E’s own protege’s, maintains she was assaulted by Dre after recording a song dissing him and N.W.A., with whom she was feuding.
‘He punched me in the eye. And when I didn’t go down, he punched me in the mouth,’ she recently told LA Weekly.
Tairrie B never pursued charges and instead chose to continue a business relationship with the group, one that fizzled after her debut album Power of a Woman was released following the Grammys encounter.
Asked at a recent screening of his film, which made $60million last week, Straight Outta Compton director F. Gary Gray told EBONY magazine editor-in-chief Kierna Mayo that stories like Barnes’ are simply ‘side stories’ and unsuitable for a film more tightly focused on the rise of N.W.A. and its members.
Barnes acknowledges this answer-dodging while also pointing out that Gray – whose films include Friday and The Italian Job – was the very cameraman who filmed Ice Cube’s onset diatribe against N.W.A. in 1990, the one that infuriated Dre in the first place.
‘That’s right. F. Gary Gray, the man whose film made $60million 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!,’ writes Barnes. While disappointed over the omission – for herself and other women – Barnes says in a strange way she understands why the film skipped these chapters in Dr Dre’s life.
‘The truth is too ugly for a general audience,’ she writes.
Shoutout: Daily Mail