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The success of the N.W.A biopic, its widespread acclaim and $60.2 million opening weekend has also come with its slice of criticism, much of it valid. Many critics have cited the group’s long history of misogynistic lyrics detailing graphic sexual exploits and abusing women. One of the members, Dr. Dre actually faced charges over his January 1991 assault of Dee Barnes, the hip-hop journalist of Pump It Up! fame. The details of said assault have been laid bare in numerous articles and court documents. The byproduct of N.W.A being back in the headlines is that Dee Barnes has to be reminded of the night that changed her life and how the film whitewashes numerous females who were influential in early and later pieces to the N.W.A lineage.

JJ Fad, an all-female group, were the first to release an album on Ruthless Records and score a huge hit with the impossible not to like “Supersonic”; their success is what ultimately led to N.W.A even releasing Straight Outta Compton in 1988. Tairrie B, the first white female hardcore rapper, was allegedly punched by Dr. Dre at a Grammys party in 1990. Former girlfriend and labelmate Michel’le – who had two hits of her own under the Ruthless imprint – has noted in recent interviews that she was “a quiet girlfriend who got beat on and told to sit down and shut up.” Her interview with The Breakfast Club goes into more detail in regards to her relationship with Dre, but the scars are all there. To say nothing of how Lady of Rage or Jewell – both of whom helped contribute to The Chronic – are absent from the album’s liner notes, merely reduced to footnotes on the cutting room floor.

But Barnes’ story is the most infamous. At the request of Gawker, she watched Straight Outta Compton and penned an essay following it, opining on why the acts of violence Dr. Dre committed against her and others were omitted from the film.

“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 [the assault] 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.”

Barnes discusses her history with each member of the group, how she learned of each member before her days as host of Pump It Up! when she was in a rap group of her own, Body & Soul. She admits to never being personally subjected to the language or beliefs behind songs like “A Bitch Iz A Bitch” or “She Swallowed It.” Barnes does, however, recall the exact moment she was tossed in the middle of the Ice Cube/N.W.A feud, by way of an interview she had with Cube on the set of Boyz N The Hood in 1990. The group alleged in subsequent interviews that Barnes had set them up, but she’s consistently denied that she had any involvement in what was finally aired. Instead, she places the blame on the cameraman that day – Straight Outta Compton’s present-day director F. Gary Gray.

“He was my cameraman for Pump It Up! You may have noticed that Gary has been reluctant to address N.W.A.’s misogyny and Dre’s attack on me in interviews. I think a huge reason that Gary doesn’t want to address it is because then he’d have to explain his part in history. He’s obviously uncomfortable for a reason.

Gary was the one holding the camera during that fateful interview with Ice Cube, which was filmed on the set of Boyz N the Hood. I was there to interview the rapper Yo Yo. Cube was in a great mood, even though he was about to shoot and he was getting into character.

Cube went into a trailer to talk to Gary and Pump It Up! producer Jeff Shore. I saw as he exited that Cube’s mood had changed. Either they told him something or showed him the N.W.A. footage we had shot a few weeks earlier… N.W.A. were chewing Cube up and spitting him out. I was trying to do a serious interview and they were just clowning—talking sh*t, cursing. It was crazy.”

The rest of the essay details how Barnes has practically been blackballed from working in hip-hop journalism for a variety of reasons, whether it was people’s connections to Dre; how she was denied a part in Gray’s 1996 film Set It Off due to Dre playing the character of “Black Sam”; how long it took for any settlement to be reached in her lawsuit against the producer; and how she didn’t receive anywhere close to a million dollars after the settlement was made in September 1993. Dee Barnes’ story came during an era where there was no hip-hop media 24/7, when there were a few video outlets such as MTV or BET but nothing close to the scale of media we have now.

There’s no sense in attempting to whitewash or bury history, especially that of anyone revered. If that’s the case, it means we’re entering a landscape of music where there are sanitized ideals of how we appreciate music. There’s a long, long history of conditioning in regards to hip-hop and misogyny. As I’ve written in reviews for Straight Outta Compton for a few publications, the film doesn’t attempt to mend that bridge, opting instead to shed light on how police brutality is an issue that is generational for people of color.

But there IS another discussion that needs to be had: the one regarding the treatment of women in a culture that has forever chosen macho templates and archetypes as heroes. Straight Outta Compton had a change to address this. It fumbled, and chose instead to fight something else.

Read Dee Barnes’ lengthy essay at Gawker here.