Last week, journalist Dee Barnes wrote a highly critical piece concerning Straight Outta Compton director F. Gary Gray and the fact that the movie painted N.W.A as saints and not the misogynistic group they were—especially considering that Dr. Dre brutally beat Barnes in 1991.
Days after that article went viral and had everyone talking, Dr. Dre issued an apology to all of the women he hurt. But that hasn’t made the women who were on the receiving end of the abuse feel any better. On Monday, Dr. Dre’s ex, Michel’le, said the apology was nothing but a publicity stunt and that the least he could have done was acknowledge the women by their names.
Shortly after Michel’le spoke out against the apology, Barnes also issued her own rebuttal in a follow-up piece for Gawker.
Barnes did question whether the apology was a publicity stunt, but also said that it didn’t matter why Dr. Dre apologized—the fact that he did was more important:
Is this is a PR move by Universal, which released Straight Outta Compton? After all, the film just crossed the $100 million mark its second weekend in theaters. Is it damage control by Apple, which can no longer ignore that if you take the “Beats by Dre” logo and remove the “S,” you get a double entendre describing several woman he just apologized to? Is Dre himself really remorseful or just saving face? To me, the answers to these questions matter less than the fact that Dre stepped up and performed his social responsibility by finally taking accountability for his actions. Who cares why he apologized? The point is that he did.
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Barnes also reiterated that she’s not coming forward out of a publicity stunt of her own, but to shed light on the fact that the voices of the abused were silent:
Women survivors of violence are expected neither to be seen nor heard, and the pressure increases when it involves celebrities. No one wants to see their heroes criticized. And if they are African American, the community at large becomes suspicious of an underlying motive to tear down a successful black man. Excusing pop-culture icons from scrutiny over their history of violence against women because they are elevated to “hero” status is wrong on so many levels. Creating notable, brilliant art does not absolve you of your faults.