In light of the recent release of N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton, two women from Dr. Dre’s past have spoken out about his allegedly abusive treatment towards them.
While the claims being made against Dr. Dre aren’t new, journalist Denise ‘Dee’ Barnes and Dre’s one-time girlfriend Michel’le have criticised Straight Outta Compton’s apparently revisionist tone that seems to skirt over the abuse they suffered during N.W.A’s meteoric rise to prominence.
In a piece written for Gawker, Barnes claims that in 1991 Dre beat her “mercilessly” at a record release party, an event she says, surprisingly, didn’t make it to the film.
“That event isn’t depicted in Straight Outta Compton, but I don’t think it should have been, either. The truth is too ugly for a general audience. I didn’t want to see a depiction of me getting beat up, just like I didn’t want to see a depiction of Dre beating up Michel’le, his one-time girlfriend.”
“But what should have been addressed is that it occurred. When I was sitting there in the theater, and the movie’s timeline skipped by my attack without a glance, I was like, “Uhhh, what happened?” Like many of the women that knew and worked with NWA, I found myself a casualty of Straight Outta Compton’s revisionist history.”
Barnes says the physical assault on her took place after an interview she hosted as part of Fox’s Pump It Up! program, which Dre believed cast him in an unflattering light. Barnes wrote that the interview had long-lasting negative impact on her life:
“It was that interview that was the supposed cause of Dre’s attack on me, as many of his groupmates attested. My life changed that night. I suffer from horrific migraines that started only after the attack. I love Dre’s song ‘Keep Their Heads Ringin’ —it has a particularly deep meaning to me. When I get migraines, my head does ring and it hurts, exactly in the same spot every time where he smashed my head against the wall. People have accused me of holding onto the past; I’m not holding onto the past. I have a souvenir that I never wanted. The past holds onto me.”
Barnes later sued Dre over the incident and settled out of court for an undisclosed amount of money. Apparently they haven’t spoken in years.
Ex-girlfriend Michel’le, who was previously engaged to Dre and has a child by him, spoke to VladTV about her history with Dre and said of the film: “Why would Dre put me in it? If they start from where they start from, I was just a quiet girlfriend who got beat up and told to sit down and shut up.”
Addressing some of the unsavoury claims made against his name recently in a Rolling Stones articles, Dre said:
“I made some fucking horrible mistakes in my life. I was young, fucking 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 fucked up. But I paid for those mistakes, and there’s no way in hell that I will ever make another mistake like that again.”
Straight Outta Compton, named after the groups revered album of the same name, follows the hip hop group’s rise to fame and mistakes along the way. The film was released last Friday and raked in $60 million in box office sales over the weekend. Dre also recently released his long-awaited third album Compton, earlier this month.