Dee Barnes, the former TV personality who said she was assaulted by N.W.A. rapper Dr. Dre in 1991, addressed on Tuesday the "revisionist history" of the hip hop group's newly released biopic, Straight Outta Compton.
In an essay for Gawker, Barnes rejects director F. Gary Gray's argument that the film omitted Dre's history of violence against women — "f— horrible mistakes," Dre admitted in an interview with Rolling Stone — in order to avoid clouding the rap group's narrative with "a lot of side stories."
Barnes, who agreed to watch the biopic and write a reflection, drew a careful line between sensitivity and responsibility of depicting N.W.A.'s and Dre's alleged misogyny:
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 ...
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 N.W.A., I found myself a casualty of Straight Outta Compton’s revisionist history.
Barnes also criticizes fellow N.W.A. member Ice Cube for categorizing women as "upstanding ladies" or "despicable females," and Dre for not "owning up" about two other women whom he allegedly assaulted during the 1990s:
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. That’s reality. That’s reality rap.