Angel Haze Insists Dr Dre’s Violence Against Women Shouldn't Be Forgotten
The Debrief: Here's your need-to-know on why Straight Outta Compton is getting such a bad rap...
Angel Haze has called out Straight Outta Compton, the biopic of the history of Dr Dre’s rap group NWA, for not including the rapper and producer’s history of violence against women.
Here’s your need-to-know: NWA, in their original incarnation was made up of Dr Dre, Easy E (who died of AIDs in 1995) and Ice Cube. They hit the peak of their popularity in the early 90s, and helped spawn a whole new movement of gangsta rap, and have been hugely influential on all rap that came after them.
If you don’t know him through NWA, you’ll know Dr Dre from all his noughties collaborations with Eminem, where he played the good guy and Eminem was the controversial one. The film, which includes Dr Dre, Ice Cube and Easy E’s widow as the list of executive producers, has made a whopping £71.1m at the box office so far.
But for all of the grit – this story looks at police brutality, diss tracks, riots, in-fighting in bands and, well, Suge Knight – but one huge thing it glosses over is Dr Dre’s violence against women.
Some of you might not know but, when he was younger, Dre was violent towards women, namely Dee Barnes, a journalist (he ‘straddled me and beat me mercilessly on the floor of the women’s restroom’ of a club – her words – and later told Rolling Stone: ‘It ain’t no big thing – I just threw her through a door.’) and his ex, singer Michel’le.
Dee has written about her distress about the film not looking at Dre's attack of her: ‘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 NWA, I found myself a casualty of Straight Outta Compton’s revisionist history.’
And when asked about the film, Michel’le said: ‘Why would Dre put me in it? I mean ’cause if they start from where they start from I was just a quiet girlfriend who got beat up and told to shut up.’
Dre has since apologised, being quoted on The New York Times website as saying: ‘I deeply regret what I did and know that it has forever impacted all of our lives.’
Dee has said of the apology: ‘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,’ but Michel'le is less forgiving, saying: ‘I didn’t ask for a public apology, and I think if he is going to apologise, he should do it individually. To just group us like we are nothing and nobody — I just don’t think it’s sincere. Treat us like we have names.’
As great timing as it is for Dre to apologise now – in the middle of promoting a film – oddly enough, these instances, despite their ‘impact’ never made it into said film. And Angel Haze isn’t happy: ‘I feel like if a person has done something at any point in their life, and they wanna get all biographical and shit, they should at least admit to it.’
She told NME: ‘Even if he doesn't feel like he did anything wrong, or he feels like that was a part of the culture or some shit, fine, everybody has a right to their own perspective.
‘But if you hurt someone else, the least you can do is apologise and the best form of apology is honesty. Just say, “Fuck, this is what happened.” And put it in the fucking movie. Who cares. Everybody knows about it. Everybody knows what happened.’
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