Dr. Dre should be celebrating right now. After releasing his first album in over a decade, Compton: A Soundtrack (which notched a Top-5 slot on the Billboard 200 in its first week), his and Ice Cube‘s biopic on their earlier rap days raked in over $60 million in its opening weekend. This should be the culmination of a career which has involved millions of records sold, introducing the world to the likes of 50 Cent and Eminem, and putting his name on a bunch of headphones that made him almost a billion dollars.
However, his past demons caught up to him recently, as there was some controversy regarding Straight Outta Compton; namely, the apparent lack of commentary on the NWA’S more misogynistic days (all of which was well-chronicled in Andreas Hale’s review of the film) following Ice Cube’s departure as well as the criminal charges against Dre that he physically abused women (the most well-known – or notorious, depending on your perspective – being Dee Barnes, Michel’le and Tairrie B. Murphy). Following pressure from the three women, in which they launched an online campaign to bring more awareness to his troubled past, Dr. Dre has released a statement to the New York Times where he attempt to make amends by apologizing to them.
“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.”
It’s not really a wordy statement, and the most glaringly obvious facet is that he didn’t mention any names or actions. If anything, this may make things worse for him, but being that this is a society whose attention span is about as long as an ant people will ultimately sweep this type stuff under the proverbial rug (see: The Ray Rice mess, and the same sports networks who turned him into a villain now doing pieces on what team should sign him) while simultaneously buying
his Apple’s questionably constructed headphones as if it never happened. I mean, the actual “apology” is a 70-word paragraph that was likely written by someone not named Andre Romelle Young. Think about it.
Granted, while this was two decades ago, this isn’t something that shouldn’t be ignored either. And given the current social climate where domestic beatings are almost as popular as ice cream trucks in the hood during the summer, this disturbing trend should not be treated as simply a “passing fancy” and in my opinion deserves as equal attention as the #BlackLivesMatter movement. I mean, while I do agree that something of that nature shouldn’t really be spotlighted in a Hollywood-reared major motion picture (and instead in, say, a documentary, a comprehensive article in a major publication, or a book), it definitely shouldn’t be forgotten either.
But hey, I’m just a quasi-writer and a part-time deejay who doesn’t believe in laying a hand on women unless it’s strictly in a “life-or-death” scenario, so what do I know.
UPDATE (8/24): Dee Barnes and Michel’le have responded to the “apology” and both aren’t buying it.
“I understand people’s apprehension. The stakes are high now and money talks, loud. 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.” [Dee Barnes]
“I don’t really think it’s a sincere apology. I didn’t ask for a public apology and I think if he is going to apologize 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. He’s selling a movie. I just think it’s good PR at the moment.” [Michel’le]”