Veteran rap journalist Dee Barnes, formerly the host of the hip-hop TV news program Pump It Up!, is finally addressing criticism of Straight Outta Compton for the film's omission of Dr. Dre's assault on her at an L.A. release party in 1991. In an essay published at Gawker this afternoon, Barnes reveals that F. Gary Gray, the director of Straight Outta Compton, was the cameraman for the incendiary Pump It Up! interview of Ice Cube that provoked Dr. Dre's assault.
Barnes says she's long since moved on from the trauma of the infamous altercation, in which Dre cornered Barnes in the women's restroom of the Po Na Na Souk nightclub and beat her to the floor. Nonetheless, she says that the incident did immeasurable damage to her journalism career and film aspirations, given Dre's influence within the commercial hip-hop landscape. In particular, Barnes claims that Gray denied her a major role in the 1996 film Set It Off due to Dr. Dre's playing a minor character in the film.
Of all people parties involved in the N.W.A drama that led to her assault, Barnes says she most recently encountered Ice Cube at a King of the Mic show in 2013. Cube was "standoffish" and "very unfriendly," according to Barnes.
Barnes' essay follows an earlier Gawker essay in which writer Rich Juzwiak revisited the altercation, which led to Dr. Dre pleading guilty to a misdemeanor battery charge and settling Barnes' civil lawsuit against him out of court. Addressing Gray's omission of the assault from Compton, Barnes writes, "I didn’t want to see a depiction of me getting beat up, just like I didn’t want to see a depiction of Dre beating up Michel’le, his one-time girlfriend."