“The Past Holds Onto Me”- Dee Barnes, “Straight Outta Compton”, & Revisionist History

I’m the type that has to see a movie in order to believe it’s hype. Critiques and reviews will only raise my interest (and anxiety) levels, but I have to view a film, feel it’s message in my bones, and then analyze it on the way home. Very few films hit me in the gut, much like “Southpaw” did recently, and with all the talk about “Straight Outta Compton” potentially being an Oscar contender, now I just can’t wait until it lands on Netflix/On-Demand/Redbox to give this movie a chance.

Then I read this article, courtesy of Gawker, penned by Dee Barnes, a journalist who was close friends with the members of N.W.A. before and during the height of their rap career. Now I will go to see “Straight Outta Compton” with another thinking cap on. Barnes’ article is a must-read, especially because, as we know, biopics tend to leave out a lot of information and insight into the subject’s life. There’s only so much of one’s story that can be summed up in two (and sometimes close to three) hours in a dark theatre. But if Barnes’ fateful, abusive encounter with Dr. Dre had been portrayed in “Straight Outta Compton”, would talk of a possible Oscar(s) lay on the imaginary table? Would that scene have eclipsed the overall praise that this movie continues to receive, as well as its current box office success? I sit here and wonder…

Unfortunately, while reading her article, I found myself horrified as Barnes’ words laid out the events that happened after Dr. Dre attacked her. From Hollywood’s blacklisting of Barnes to the migraines and tinnitus that remains as a haunting memory, her Gawker article is another example of revisionist history. The stories that we choose to tell others have two sides and it’s better to show the mo showinre pleasing one, isn’t it? The one that paints us as a hero, rather than a villain.

I also, along with many others, now understand who the “Dee Barnes” that Emimen raps about in “Guilty Conscience” (ft. Dr. Dre) is, and this revelation in conjunction with Barnes’ article BLEW MY MIND WIDE OPEN. Read Barnes’ article and find out for yourself. I truly hope that she finds a publisher for her upcoming memoir and I am more prepared than ever now to watch “Straight Outta Compton”.

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