Earlier this morning, we looked at why Straight Outta Compton had decided to excise a moment from N.W.A's history that saw Dr. Dre assaulting journalist Dee Barnes. The movie has come under harsh criticism for neglecting to address Dr. Dre's abusive ways towards women. The voice has steadily grown louder as the rap biopic continues to rack up big dollars at the box office. It has already earned $84.7 million to date, and looks poised to hit number one at the box office again this weekend, as it enters its second week in release. In response to some of the backlash, Dr. Dre has finally responded with an apology to all the women he has hurt in the past.
While a lot of films will face their fare share of controversy the more successful they are, Dr. Dre is proving that you can turn some of the bad press around quickly. Over the course of his career, he has had to deal with an angry critic or too, and unlike in his youth, he now knows how to play the game in his favor. Even when some of the accusations and accounts are quite ugly and damaging.
Directed by F. Gary Gray, Straight Outta Compton was an instant hit with fans and critics. It opened at number 1 last weekend, pulling in an estimate $60 million. But it wasn't all love. Some of the women from Dr. Dre's past took this as their opportunity to shine a spotlight on some of the physical abuse the rapper allegedly extolled over the course of his long career. Especially in those early years. Both journalist Dee Barnes and rapper Michel'le came forth with their tales of abuse, sharing moments of intense pain and drama that were not included in the biopic. Instead of letting the anger continue to grow and fester, Dr. Dre has decided to address the controversy head on. He gave this apology to The New York Times.
Twenty-five years ago, I was a young man drinking too much and in over my head with no real structure in my life. However, none of this is an excuse for what I did. I've been married for 19 years and every day I'm working to be a better man for my family, seeking guidance along the way. I'm doing everything I can so I never resemble that man again. ... I apologize to the women I've hurt. I deeply regret what I did and know that it has forever impacted all of our lives."
Most view this as a mature step for Dr. Dre. He has spent a great deal of time over the last couple of years trying to establish himself as a family man and a loving husband. And this changing nature certainly does fly in the face of the strong attitude that is presented by the rapper on screen in Straight Outta Compton. The apology certainly doesn't make up for Dr. Dre's past actions. But it's a step in the right direction. Apple at least thinks so. He has been working with the company as a consultant over the past year and a half. They issued this statement on his behalf.
"Dre has apologized for the mistakes he's made in the past and he's said that he's not the same person that he was 25 years ago. We believe his sincerity and after working with him for a year and a half, we have every reason to believe that he has changed."
Dr. Dre helped establish the the music company Beats, which was sold to Apple for $3 billion last year. This turned him into the self-proclaimed "first billionaire in hip-hop." Dr. Dre did not address any of the individual woman he hurt, instead issuing a statement that included them all. The New York Times has a pretty detailed account of who all the women are and some of the nasty things Dr. Dre did to them, or in their presence. It's sometimes hard to stomach, and once you get through the whole thing, you may not want to take his apology so lightly.
Michel'le was Dr. Dre's girlfriend from the late-80s to the mid-90s, and states that he was very often physically abusive. He would hit her with a closed fists, leaving black eyes, cracked ribs and many scars. She never pressed charges against the rapper during that time. Rapper Tairrie B, a label mate of Dr. Dre's, goes on reveal that he punched her in the face twice at a Grammys after-party in the 1990s because she recorded a diss track against him. As the Straight Outta Compton release date approached, even more women jumped into the conversation with their own tales of abuse.
The first draft of the Straight Outta Compton script did acknowledge some of the abuse towards women, and even had a scene that depicted Dr. Dre's altercation with journalist Dee Barnes, whom he attacked and beat-up after she conducted an interview with his former partner Ice Cube where they spoke out against Dr. Dre and some of his questionable behavior. The screenplay came in at a hefty 150 pages, and scenes such as these, which did not focus on the band as a group were cut. What do yo think? Do you think Dr. Dre's apology is sincere?