Two women assaulted by Dr Dre in the early days of NWA have responded to his apology “to the women I’ve hurt”.
As the NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton hit cinemas, the journalist Dee Barnes and singer Miche’le came forward to talk about incidents in which Dre had assaulted them. Dre last week issued a statement to the New York Times, in which he said “I apologize to the women I’ve hurt. I deeply regret what I did and know that it has forever impacted all of our lives.”
Barnes has accepted the apology. In an essay for Gawker, she writes that the statement was the important thing, regardless of its motivation.
“Is this is a PR move by Universal, which released Straight Outta Compton?” she wrote. “After all, the film just crossed the $100 million mark its second weekend in theaters. Is it damage control by Apple, which can no longer ignore that if you take the ‘Beats by Dre’ logo and remove the ‘S’, you get a double entendre describing several woman he just apologized to? Is Dre himself really remorseful or just saving face? To me, the answers to these questions matter less than the fact that Dre stepped up and performed his social responsibility by finally taking accountability for his actions. Who cares why he apologised? The point is that he did.”
However, Barnes noted angrily that the incident in which Dre attacked her had been referred to many times by Dre and his associates, including on the 1999 Eminem track Guilty Conscience, which he produced. “Guilty Conscience and the other songs containing the reference are products of clear and obvious misogyny on a cultural level and for what? Jokes?” she said. “The hypocrisy of it all is appalling … As a result of speaking on my personal experience with violence, I have been vilified.”
Dre’s former fiancée Michel’le, however, rejected the apology. Speaking to BBC Radio 5Live’s Dotun Adebayo, she said: “I didn’t ask for a public apology and I think if he is going to apologise he should do it individually. To just group us like we are nothing and nobody – I just don’t think it’s sincere. Treat us like we have names. He’s selling a movie. I just think it’s good PR at the moment.”