By Jerry PDX
On January 27, 1991, at a record-release party for the rap duo Bytches With Problems in Hollywood, producer/rapper/then-N.W.A. member Dr. Dre brutally attacked Dee Barnes, the host of a well-known Fox show about hip-hop called Pump It Up! Dre was reportedly angry about a Pump It Up! segment hosted by Barnes that aired in November 1990. The report focused on N.W.A., and concluded with a clip of Ice Cube, who had recently left the group, insulting his former colleagues. Soon after the attack, Barnes described it in interviews: She said Dre attempted to throw her down a flight of stairs, slammed her head against a wall, kicked her, and stomped on her fingers. Dre later told Rolling Stone, “It ain’t no big thing – I just threw her through a door.” He pleaded no contest to assault charges. Barnes’s civil suit against Dre was settled out of court.
Barnes agreed to watch F. Gary Gray’s just-released film about N.W.A, Straight Outta Compton, and reflect on it for Gawker.
“I never experienced police harassment until I moved to California in the ‘80s. The first time it happened, I had just left a house party that erupted in gunfire. A cop pulled me over and ordered me out of the car. I was 19, naive, and barefoot. When I made a move to get my shoes, the cop became aggressive. He manhandled me because he supposedly thought I was grabbing for a weapon. I’m lucky he didn’t shoot me. There I was, face down on the ground, knee in my back. In June, I was reminded of what happened to me when I watched video of a police officer named Eric Casebolt grabbing a 15-year-old girl outside the Craig Ranch North Community Pool in Texas, slamming her body to the ground, and putting his knee in her back.
[N.S.: Note that she calls a perfectly reasonable reaction by a cop whose life was in jeopardy, “police harassment.” In other words, “racial profiling” simply means a cop doing his job.]
“Three years later—in 1991—I would experience something similar, only this time I was on my back and the knee was in my chest. That knee did not belong to a police officer, but Andre Young, the producer/rapper who goes by Dr. Dre. When I saw the footage of California Highway Patrol officer Daniel Andrew straddling and viciously punching Marlene Pinnock in broad daylight on the side of a busy freeway last year, I cringed. That must have been how it looked as Dr. Dre straddled me and beat me mercilessly on the floor of the women’s restroom at the Po Na Na Souk nightclub in 1991.
“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, 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.’
“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.”
I do recall this incident. Dr. Dre had violently assaulted a young woman, Dee Barnes, a Fox TV show host. She apparently is upset with the hero worship toward Mr. Dre and wants to challenge the image presented by the NWA movie currently out. She actually had me going for a bit, but inevitably defaults to the "blame the white man for everything" ideology that permeates black consciousness (and much of white also). At first it seemed she was going unconditionally condemn the violent misogyny so prevalent among rappers, maybe even take it a step further and comment on the pimpin' de ho's culture omnipresent in the black community, but partway through the article she adds this disclaimer:
"Accurately articulating the frustrations of young black men being constantly harassed by the cops is at Straight Outta Compton’s activistic core. There is a direct connection between the oppression of black men and the violence perpetrated by black men against black women. It is a cycle of victimization and reenactment of violence that is rooted in racism and perpetuated by patriarchy. If the breadth of N.W.A.’s lyrical [?!] subject matter was guided by a certain logic, though, it was clearly a caustic logic."
Aha! Now we know the truth. Black men beating on black women is all whitey's fault! According to Ms. Barnes, if it weren't for the white man, black men would be treating you and all other black women like the fairy princesses you are.
Hey Ms. Barnes, tell that to black women, girls and babies in Africa where rape statistics are the highest in the world.
By the way, one more thing, Ms. Barnes: Can you define this "direct connection"? Please explain how it works exactly. I won't hold my breath waiting for an answer.