This week, Dr. Dre told The New York Times he apologized to all the women he’d “hurt”, and I’m here to tell you – that’s not enough.
When Straight Outta Compton hit theaters last week, fans flocked in record numbers to see it, spurned on by nostalgia from the glory days of gangsta rap, and a revolutionary spirit reawakened by the Black Lives Matters movement.
In the movie’s revisionist history version of events, cleverly packaged by the studio, they would have you think that songs like “F—k the police” and “Express Yourself” are an accurate depiction of NWA’s legacy. And while from what I’ve heard the film was “dope” – I’d be hard pressed to find any journalist or hip hop head with a conscious who would call it well rounded.
By now several articles have been written about all the glaring omissions in the so called biopic. Dre’s history of domestic violence and the group’s gleefully misogynistic lyrics are common knowledge.
So last weekend when my friends, one by one, asked me “You going to see Straight Outta Compton?” I repeatedly muttered a very salty, “Nah.”
My annoyance coming from the fact that I am an insatiable movie buff and very rarely give up the opportunity to see a film that has engrained itself so deeply into the conscious of pop culture. I usually make it my business to be the first person in line for these sort of things. But something in my spirit refused to let me give a single penny to Dr. Dre or Ice Cube.
With a heavy heart, I solemnly accepted my fate and made peace with the fact that just this once – I’d have to be out of the loop.
But then yesterday morning, my best friend texted me a link to a New York Times article declaring, Dr. Dre Apologizes to the ‘Women I’ve Hurt’ and with cautious curiosity I decided to read what this man finally had to say for himself.
According to the article,
In a sign that the uproar was threatening not only his reputation but also his business dealings, Dr. Dre, who has previously spoken dismissively or vaguely about the allegations, which are decades old, confronted them on Friday in a statement to The New York Times. While he did not address each allegation individually, he said: “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.”
He added: “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.”
Before I could fully process how I felt about any of this, I went online and was immediately greeted by women posting things like “Oh m goodness girl! He finally apologized, I never thought I’d see the day” and “Good for him. Now we can put this to rest”
And in a flash I was overcome by a rage that I haven’t experienced since that time I made the mistake of watching Sandra Bland’s police dash cam video.
Maybe I’m slow, but let me get this straight; a man beats on women for God knows how many years, builds his billion dollar empire on the backs of black women specifically, glorifies misogyny for the better part of two decades, and even includes violence against women in a skit on his latest album, Compton – and we’re supposed to forgive ALL of that because he mumbled a half hearted apology in The New York Times – only after he found out not doing so might hurt him financially?
In what world is that enough?
On what planet were these black women taught that their dignity was worth so little?
Whatever the case may be, I’m hear to make it clear on behalf of all the sisters who know better, that the jig is up and we are Straight Outta Patience with NWA.
A generic statement isn’t gonna cut it Dre. It’s about twenty years and several upper cuts too late for that.
After expressing my simmering rage and disbelief on social media, many asked me, “What do you want from Dre. now?”
And without skipping a beat I repeatedly responded, “I’d ask him to go deeper than words and give back to domestic violence victims and charities.”
After all the women Dr. Dre has hurt both directly and indirectly, it’s about time he gave back, specifically, to the community he’s taken so much from. It’s about time that he put his money where his mouth is and cut a damn check.
When I made this statement, what struck me is that the first people running to Dre’s defense were black women. This is nothing new. Sisters are die hard supporters of black men, no matter how deeply they disrespect us. It’s a topic I’ve covered ad nauseum at this point.
And to be fair, I grew up on West Coast music and therefore grapple with issues of nostalgia versus social responsibility when it comes to this topic. I get the knee jerk desire to defend Dr, Dre, because in a way we’re also defending all the memories we associate with his music.
But we all need to stop acting like words without action are enough. In this current social climate especially – they most certainly are not.
In a recent Rolling Stone interview with N.W.A, Ice Cube proved he hadn’t learned anything about women’s rights over the years, when he defiantly defended the group’s lyrics by saying,
If you’re a b***h, you’re probably not going to like us. If you’re a ho, you probably don’t like us. If you’re not a ho or a b***h, don’t be jumping to the defense of these despicable females. Just like I shouldn’t be jumping to the defense of no punks or no cowards or no slimy son of a b****es that’s men. I never understood why an upstanding lady would even think we’re talking about her.
According to the gospel of Cube, a woman having consensual sex with a man makes her a “despicable female.” Got it. Since we’re handing out judgments here, what would you call the man who she’s having that sex with?
Ok. Sounds legit.
The fact that a husband and father, in 2015 is walking around thinking that he has a right to treat any woman as less than human for having sex – with him and his cronies – is beyond archaic. It’s downright offensive. And this isn’t a case of Cube’s words being taken out of context because a few days after this excerpt was released he repeated these sentiments on The View to his old friend Rosie Perez. Kudos to her for keeping a straight face. I assure you I would not have been so composed.
But even putting that aside, the most ironic thing about this quote is that Cube says he wouldn’t jump to the defense of any “punks, cowards or slimy sons of bitches” that are men. But aren’t those all accurate identifiers for grown men who continuously beat on women who they work with and/or share a bed with?
How does Cube reconcile this “gangsta” code of ethics against the fact that he’s sharing a legacy with someone who by his own standards is beyond defense?
At the end of the day, I need Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and anyone funding Straight Outta Compton to show me their receipts.
I need to see receipts from the domestic violence charities they are sponsoring. I need to see call logs and email receipts from Dre. contacting his victims directly to apologize for robbing them of their dignity. And I especially need Dre to take a page from the Black Lives Matter movement, whose momentum he’s pimped to promote this project – and #SayHerName.
You didn’t hurt “women” Sir, you threw Dee Barnes down some stairs and you whooped Michel’le’s ass so thoroughly she had to run to Suge Knight for solace. Do you know how grimy a man has to be to make Suge Knight look like a safer bet?
Like come on. Why play coy now? What’s up with this half assed semblance of an apology? Where is all that bravado that usually drips off your lyrics?
Instead of the head strong acknowledgment of wrong doing I’d expect from a grown man owning up to his mistakes, that statement to the Times is more reminiscent of the days when Dre was wearing shiny suits and singing like a tone deaf Prince with the The World Class Wrecking Cru; equal parts slippery and questionable.
(Dre can be seen in his silky red suit at the 3:10 minute mark)
You may have some people fooled with that stingy statement, but I’m onto you bruh.
Your fans deserve better, the black community that lines your pockets deserve better, and as long as you and Ice Cube continue to skirt around what you’ve done, while selling us your heavily edited version of events – I will remain unmoved.
To the people who have said, “How do we know Dr. Dre doesn’t give money to women’s charities behind closed doors?” In my not so humble opinion, that would still not be enough. Visibility matters. And the power of young men and women seeing him own his mistakes through PUBLIC advocacy is worth more than any private donation he could ever make.
In the words of Chuck D, “Right is right, and wrong is wrong, and when people start getting it confused, that means they need to sit down.”
Have a seat gentlemen.