Hip-Hop Journalist Dee Barnes Calls Out ‘Straight Outta Compton’
Hip-hop journalist and former host of Pump It Up! Dee Barnes was brutally assaulted in a women’s restroom floor of the Po Na Na Souk nightclub in January of 1991 by then-N.W.A. member Dr. Dre. The group was reportedly angry about a Pump It Up! segment hosted by Barnes that aired in November 1990. They claimed that Barnes set them up to look stupid. The segment featured Ice Cube, who at that time already left N.W.A and was in a serious beef with his former group (see segment below). Dee recently watched N.W.A’s biopic Straight Outta Compton and reflected on it for Gawker. Dee Barnes points out in the essay that she didn’t want to see her assault depicted in the biopic but felt that the incident shouldn’t have been brushed under a rug.“That event isn’t depicted in Straight Outta Compton, but I don’t think it should have been, either,” she wrote. “The truth is too ugly for a general audience. 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 who recently summed up their relationship this way: ‘I was just a quiet girlfriend who got beat on and told to sit down and shut up.’”She continues to write that although she doesn’t believe that the incident should have been shown, the ugly truths about N.W.A should have been addressed instead of completely left out. She states that Dre should of should have “owned up” to what he did to not just her but to other women in his past because “that’s reality rap.” Barnes said that she has moved on from the incident however, suffers from “horrific migraines that started only after the attack.” Dee says she had nothing to do with the decision to run the segment as it did and revealed that Straight Outta Compton‘s director, F. Gary Gray, was the cameraman that filmed the portion that eventually led to her brutal attack. She continues on to say that she been able to recieve another entertainment gig because she was blacklisted. Instead she’s “had a series of 9-5 jobs over the years to make ends meet.” When Barnes auditioned for a part in the F. Gary Grey-diected hood classic Set It Off, Gary came out and said he couldn’t give her the part because he’s “casting Dre as Black Sam.”The entire essay is fascinating and heart-wrenching. Read it here.