“The truth is too ugly for a general audience” – Dee Barnes on why she was left out of the Straight Outta Compton film.
Most die-hard N.W.A. fans probably recognized that the most controversial part of the group’s history was missing from the box office hit. For those of you not familiar with the situation or for those who might need some jogging of the memory, Dee Barnes was the host of the one time popular hip-hop show Pump It Up! that aired on Fox. On one episode of the show that aired in November of 1990 Barnes hosted a segment that covered N.W.A. and concluded with a short clip of Ice Cube (who just parted from the group) dissing his former affiliates.
Fast forward to January 27th, 1991 at the listening party for the rap duo Bytches With Problems held at Po Na Na Souk club in Hollywood, CA. At the event, Barnes was brutally attacked by then N.W.A. member, rapper and producer Dr. Dre. Dre confronted Barnes about the airing of the segment on her show and things escalated quickly. Soon after the confrontation, Barnes did an interview in which she was asked to recap the vicious attack.
He picked me up by my hair and my ear and smashed my face and body into the wall…Next thing I know, I’m down on the ground and he’s kicking me in the ribs and stamping on my fingers. I ran into the women’s bathroom to hide, but he burst through the door and started bashing me in the back of the head.
Barnes agreed to watch the box office hit Straight Outta Compton directed by F. Gary Gray and write about her thoughts for Gawker. In her essay she talks about the decision to omit her story from the film. She also revealed that Gray, the director of the film was a camera man on Pump It Up! and one of the individuals who made the decision to air the Ice Cube clip.
F. Gary Gray has claimed that the decision to omit the Barnes incident stems from the fact that domestic violence was not apart of the story he was trying to tell in the film. In her essay Barnes states that she didn’t want to see herself or Dr. Dre’s ex-girlfriend Michel’le get beat up in the film but an acknowledgment that these events did in fact occur.
When Dre was trying to choke me on the floor of the women’s room in Po Na Na Souk, a thought flashed through my head: “Oh my god. He’s trying to kill me.” He had me trapped in that bathroom; he held the door closed with his leg. It was surreal. “Is this happening?”
You can read Barnes’ emotional essay in its entirety on Gawker here.
– CJ Rucker (@Ruckmatic)