Dee Barnes Tells The Whole Story In 1st Full-Length Interview Since Dr. Dre Assault
For many of us, Straight Outta Compton captured a moment in our culture’s history; when the first truly countercultural movement in hip-hop had been realized, with NWA at its center and “Fuck The Police” as its anthem, waving a massive, communal middle-finger in the air to the men with badges that regularly humiliated, beat and even murdered black men, women and children as if it were the real national pastime. However, those of us who made our way to a theater to see this most paramount hip-hop narrative unfold, all missed a key part of the story; a beating of equal relevance to those delivered at the hands of the state, though it was erased from the film’s storyboard. That beating, infamous as it may be, was that allegedly perpetrated by Dr. Dre against journalist Dee Barnes, who was once a friend to the producer and the group that made his and her household names–we say ‘allegedly’ yet Dre’s recent comments, (as well as the revelation that the altercation was included in an earlier version of Straight Outta Compton‘s script) strongly suggest that even Dre is not in denial about the facts here any longer.
And while Barnes has done much service in shedding light on that flagrant omission in her viral op-ed/review of the film for Gawker, in her first full-length interview since the vicious assault, the trailblazing hip-hop journalist detailed life before and after the assault, adding a voice and a face to a tale of violence as old as the game itself. She speaks on how she came up in the industry, transitioning from hip-hop pipe dreams to real-life player (or pawn) in one of the most publicized feuds of the era, and how her mediation efforts made her the victim of a heinous act of violence perpetrated by one of the era’s most influential artists. It’s a painful and touching recounting of a traumatic event, still haunting a woman who’s name has at best, woefully transformed into a rap lyric punchline in the years since–at worst, forgotten entirely. But Barnes carries herself with poise and grace, merely wishing to move forward through the twenty-four year recoil. Watch the interview in its entirety by hitting the link below.