The sins of Dr. Dre's past resurfaced when many critics pointed out that the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton conveniently glosses over the group's overall misogyny and specifically, Dre's many instances of physical abuse against women. Those women have come forward responding directly to the film's omissions, most notably Dre's ex Michel'le, Tairrie B, and Dee Barnes, the TV journalist whom he heinously assaulted in front of many onlookers.
When addressing the event over the years since, his attitude has ranged from nonchalance to downright denial. Barnes published a piece in Gawker last week, chiding the film for overlooking Dre's behavior, the industry for black-balling her since the event, and the film's director F. Gary Gray for willingly playing along. Her piece along with several others, spurred Dre to release a statement to The New York Times, finally taking accountability for his actions and apologizing albeit generically and sans names. Now, Barnes has published a follow-up piece in light of Dre's comments. She directly addresses sentiments that Dre apologized not out of maturity and remorse but to appease both his political connects, overall pop cultural standing, and ensure the film's continued success:
Is this is a PR move by Universal, which released Straight Outta Compton? 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 apologized? The point is that he did.
She goes on to correct the misguided notion that she's coming forward now with opportunistic goals, citing Dre and Cube's Rolling Stone interview which name-checked her as a call to action, as well as Dr. Dre and other rappers' references to the assault over the years on songs like "Guilty Conscience." There's no grand conspiracy, just a call to action:
"Women survivors of violence are expected neither to be seen nor heard, and the pressure increases when it involves celebrities. No one wants to see their heroes criticized. And if they are African American, the community at large becomes suspicious of an underlying motive to tear down a successful black man. Excusing pop culture icons from scrutiny over their history of violence against women because they are elevated to “hero” status is wrong on so many levels. Creating notable, brilliant art does not absolve you of your faults."
Read the full piece, where she also addresses the early draft of Compton that amended her assault to have her throw a drink in Dre's face first, here.