Dee Barnes Opens Up About Dr. Dre Assault, Points Out Lack Of Female Characters In ‘Straight Outta Compton’
Dee Barnes, the woman who was attacked by billionaire rapper Dr. Dre in 1991, wrote an essay criticizing Straight Outta Compton as “revisionist.”
Dee Barnes Speaks Out About Dr. Dre Attack
Barnes, former host of the Fox’s hip-hop show Pump It Up!, was attacked by Dr. Dre back in 1991 at a Los Angeles nightclub. The incident is noticeably absent from the narrative presented in Straight Outta Compton, the N.W.A. biopic that covers the rise and fall of the group — including the year of the assault. Barnes described the assault in a new essay for Gawker, writing that its omission from the film was proof that “the truth is too ugly for a general audience.”
Barnes wrote that, though the film does depict a lot of the violence that surrounded N.W.A. at the time of the group’s success, Straight Outta Compton completely skipped over any violence against women committed by Dre, and other members of N.W.A.
“Dr. Dre straddled me and beat me mercilessly on the floor of the women’s restroom at the Po Na Na Souk nightclub in 1991,” Barnes wrote of her attack. “That event isn’t depicted in Straight Outta Compton, but I don’t think it should have been, either,” she continued, before adding that she didn’t even “want to see a depiction” of her attack onscreen.
Straight Outta Compton Omitted Female Roles
Barnes may not have wanted to see her attack re-crated in the film, but she did hope to see more of the women who contributed to N.W.A.’s success. Women barely appear in Straight Outta Compton as little more than sexual objects, “naked in a hotel room or dancing in the background at the wild pool parties,” Barnes said.
“What about Michel’le, who at the young age of 17 was singing vocals on World Class Wreckin Cru’s ‘Turn Off the Lights’?” Barnes also talks about “Tairrie B,” described at “Eazy E’s protégé” and “the first white female hardcore rapper.”
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Dre recently talked about the violent acts he committed decades ago. “I made some f–king horrible mistakes in my life,” he admitted. But he added that he had “paid for these mistakes,” and that “there’s no way in hell” he would ever repeat his past mistakes.
On Wednesday, The Los Angeles Times revealed that Barnes’ attack was originally set to be featured in Straight Outta Compton. “Barnes’ run-in with Dre was included in an earlier version of Jonathan Herman’s screenplay for the film” wrote reporter Gerrick D. Kennedy.
F. Gary Gray, the director of the movie, also explained during the movie promotion why the scene didn’t make it to the final cut. “There are so many things that you can add or subtract,” he said, before quoting Ice Cube, who once said “You can make five different N.W.A movies.” In the end, Gray doesn’t regret leaving out Dre’s history of violence against women, saying, “We made the one we wanted to make.”