GIMME FIVE: Things Left Outta Straight Outta Compton
The musical biopic Straight Outta Compton directed by F. Gary Gray tells the story of the rise of the West Coast rap group N.W.A (Niggas Wit’ Attitude) and its members Ice Cube, Eazy E, Dr. Dre, DJ Yella and MC Ren. While the film was highly anticipated and well received at the box office, pulling in over $60 million in its opening weekend, its exemption of the women the rap group used and abused on their way to the top of the charts has not been winning rave reviews.
We’ve rounded up 5 female events left out of the rap biopic – notice the misogynistic theme.
1. The female rap group J.J. Fad, one of the first groups signed by Eazy E’s label Ruthless Records, and their 1988 debut single featuring the hit “Supersonic,” which earned a Grammy nomination (the first female rap group to earn such a distinction, ultimately helping establish the label.
2. Dr. Dre’s violent attacks on ex-girlfriend, rapper Michel’le.
3. Dr. Dre’s violent attack on Pump it Up! host Dee Barnes in 1991 -smashing her head into a wall, and beating her up on the bathroom floor of the Po Na Na Souk nightclub.
4. Dr. Dre’s violent attack on rapper Rapper Tairrie B at a Grammys party in 1990.
5. A lot of other women the hard core rap group worked with -Yo Yo, a female rapper with whom Ice Cube worked with after leaving N.W.A; Jewell and Lady of Rage, with whom Dr. Dre later worked with after N.W.A; collaborations with Michel’le; or even Eazy E’s protege Tairrie B, billed as the first white female hardcore rapper.
Hmm, and the director F. Gary Gray calls it “reality rap” in this Youtube clip. Really?
Dee Barnes fills in some of the deleted history and gives great insight on the culture of violence against women within the black community, music or otherwise, in a Gawker article:
“There is a direct connection between the oppression of black men and the violence perpetrated by black men against black women. It is a cycle of victimization and reenactment of violence that is rooted in racism and perpetuated by patriarchy.”
Barnes’ article on Gawker is worth a read, not only because she sheds light on the women who were left out of the film but as she reflects on the pain of the past she exhibits a level of maturity, objectivity, and restraint that is very hard to attain after surviving abuse, career malignment, and watching your abuser become a household name. At one point she even fondly recalls N.W.A., as being her brothers. Blindie can’t wait to read the memoir of this intelligent, strong woman – Music, Myth, and Misogyny: Memoirs of a Female MC.