Straight Outta Compton ignores Dr Dre's abuse of women, say two former victims

An ex-girlfriend and a TV reporter allegedly assaulted by Dre say the film leaves out his mistreatment of women

Two women have spoken out about the NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton, saying the film fails to show the truth about Dr Dre’s abusive attitudes to, and relationships with, women during that period.

The R&B singer Michel’le, who was in a relationship with Dre from 1990 to 1996, noted her omission from the film in an interview with VladTV, saying: “Why would Dre put me in it? I was just a quiet girlfriend who got beat up and told to sit down and shut up.”

Meanwhile, the journalist Dee Barnes, who sued Dre following a January 1991 incident in which he kicked and punched her at a record-release party (he pleaded no contest to the assault charges, and settled out of court), has written for Gawker about the incident.

“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,” she wrote. “But what should have been addressed is that it occurred … Like many of the women that knew and worked with NWA, I found myself a casualty of Straight Outta Compton’s revisionist history.”

The film team review Straight Outta Compton

She added: “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.”

In her article, Barnes also highlights the role of the film’s director, F Gary Gray. Gray, she writes, was the cameraman on her early 90s TV show Pump It Up, and she suggests he indirectly caused Dre’s attack on her (blamed on an interview she had done with Ice Cube that angered the NWA camp) by provoking Ice Cube before she spoke to him.

She said the incident with Dre ended her career because she was, in effect, blacklisted. “Instead of doing journalism, I’ve had a series of nine-to-five jobs over the years to make ends meet.”

Michel’le has spoken about her abuse by Dre in other interviews. Speaking to The Breakfast Club, 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.’ That was the only time he ever said he was really sorry. And he said, ‘I’ll never hit you in that eye again, OK?’” He did, she said, hit her in other places.

Dre recently spoke to Rolling Stone about the incidents with Barnes and Michel’le, and other accusations of an abusive past, saying: “I was young, fucking stupid.” He continued: “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.”


Guardian music

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Straight Outta Compton: hit biopic raps up NWA story cleanly
The NWA-backed sweep of the rappers’ rise to success fails to note some important moments, such as Dr Dre’s violence towards women

Alex von Tunzelmann

02, Sep, 2015 @7:44 AM

Article image
How NWA came straight outta Compton and went mainstream
From pariahs to candidates for the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame: ahead of a biopic tracing NWA’s career, Danny Kelly recalls their incendiary 1980s arrival and salutes their influence on music, fashion, business, language and social activism

Danny Kelly

14, Aug, 2015 @2:00 PM

Article image
F Gary Gray in talks to direct NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton
Law Abiding Citizen director has reportedly been recruited by producer and ex-NWA member Ice Cube to direct the story of the legendary rap group

Ben Child

11, Apr, 2012 @11:51 AM

Article image
Straight Outta Compton: fact-checking the film … with Ice Cube
Did Dr Dre really DJ in a lavender puffer jacket? What was Fuck tha Police really inspired by? And was an NWA reunion really in the cards? We sit down with Ice Cube to sort the true say from the hearsay

Ben Westhoff

13, Aug, 2015 @7:00 AM

Article image
Extra security plan for US cinemas showing Straight Outta Compton
NWA biopic opens against a background of fatal shootings in cinemas, and with US racial tensions at a high following protests in Ferguson, Missouri

Ben Child

13, Aug, 2015 @1:02 PM

Article image
Ice Cube says Straight Outta Compton critics should make their own NWA movie
Rapper suggests a different take on the rise of the 80s hip-hop outfit might one day emerge after being asked about Dr Dre’s abuse of female peers

Ben Child

08, Sep, 2015 @7:23 AM

Article image
Straight Outta Compton review – A-side is let down by a bloated B-side
This much-anticipated NWA biopic has inspired and exuberant moments but its second half plays it too safe

Jordan Hoffman

31, Jul, 2015 @12:27 PM

Article image
Straight Outta Compton film puts California city back under scrutiny
The highly anticipated biopic about NWA will put the 10-mile sprawl back in the public eye. Is Compton still a violence-riddled ghetto? Has anything changed?

Rory Carroll in Compton

08, Aug, 2015 @4:46 PM

Article image
NWA member MC Ren says Straight Outta Compton trailer is 'disrespectful'
The rapper has used Twitter to express his unhappiness over the upcoming biopic and what he believes to be an unfairly biased picture of the group

Joe Evans

11, Jun, 2015 @12:38 PM

Article image
Women assaulted by Dr Dre respond to his apology
Dee Barnes says the apology is what mattered, not what motivated it, but ex-fiancée Michel’le says the producer was just making a PR play

Guardian music

25, Aug, 2015 @7:14 AM