Dee Barnes and Michel’le Respond to Dr. Dre’s Public Apology
Getty ImagesFollowing Dr. Dre’s public apology, Dee Barnes and his ex-fiancée Michel’le have responded. Barnes wrote another essay for Gawker applauding Dre for showing humility but questioning the apology’s timing. “Brave, Andre. Humility is true self-knowledge,” her essay begins. She continues: “I hope he meant it. I hope he represents these words in his life. I hope that after all these years, he really is a changed man.” Barnes’ concern is not letting her message about abuse become trivialized:The hypocrisy of it all is appalling. This is bigger than me, and bigger than hip-hop. This is about respect and awareness. As a result of speaking on my personal experience with violence, I have been vilified. 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. In the past, great art was enough to exalt men of their bad behavior, but in 2015 it’s no longer the case. Survivors have a right and an obligation to speak up (#NoSilenceOnDomesticViolence). We are too loud, too correct, too numerous to be ignored.R&B singer Michel’le—Dre’s ex who was being abused by the producer and the mother of one of Dre’s children—spoke to BBC Radio 5 about Dre’s apology. “I didn’t ask for a public apology, and I think if he is going to apologize, he should do it individually,” she said. “To just group us like we are nothing and nobody — I just don’t think it’s sincere. Treat us like we have names.” Like Barnes, Michel’le also pointed out the timing of Dre’s apology: “He’s selling a movie. I just think it’s good PR at the moment.” Michel’le recently said that she was “just a quiet girlfriend who got beat up.”Last week, Dre sent a statement to the New York Times, apologizing to the women he hurt in the past. “I’m doing everything I can so I never resemble that man again,” 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.” A week prior to Dre’s apology, Barnes penned her thoughts about the N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton and the omissions of Dre’s abusive past.