Dr. Dre Apologizes To Dee Barnes For 1991 Assault In Upcoming Documentary (Video)
Director Allen Hughes, one half of the Hughes brothers (who are responsible for films like Menace II Society, Dead Presidents and The Book of Eli), sat down with Sway In The Morning to discuss his new documentary series about Dr. Dre and Interscope Records co-founder Jimmy Iovine titled The Defiant Ones. It premieres next month on HBO. Starting near the 5:30 mark, the filmmaker spoke to some of the intimate details of his latest work. According to Hughes, not only does Dre have an apology for music journalist and former Pump It Up host Dee Barnes, who he infamously assaulted in January of 1991, but she is apparently going to be in the documentary, as well.
This may come as surprising news for N.W.A. fans, as their 2015 biopic Straight Outta Compton neither portrayed nor addressed the incident (sparking Barnes to write a Gawker editorial about the omission, as well as Dre’s admitted history of violence against women). Dre responded with a public apology first printed in The New York Times, addressed to the women he has abused in his life. He did not mention Barnes or others by name.
Barnes responded to Dre’s words with a second Gawker article. Within, she wrote: “I hope he meant it. I hope he represents these words in his life. I hope that after all these years, he really is a changed man. Dr. Dre has matured, and the women he’s hurt, including myself, have endured. I’m proud to be able to say goodbye to the man who at one point was straight outta f*cks to give, as he consistently dismissed and disrespected any mention of his assault history.” Barnes also further criticized Dre for making light of their 1991 incident in Eminem’s “Guilty Conscious” video single eight years later.
Hughes attests that The Defiant Ones deals with what Straight Outta Compton did not. He confirms that Dr. Dre himself both addresses it and regrets the physical attack that transpired. “He laid it all out on the line,” said Hughes. When asked by Sway if Dre apologizes, Hughes replies, “Absolutely. I wouldn’t have done it, and he wouldn’t have done it [otherwise].”
Hughes also confirms that Ice Cube, whose 1991 beef with Dre and former band-mates N.W.A. inadvertently sparked the assault, will appear in the segment as well. Furthermore, he claims that Dre already had an apology planned before Barnes published the first of her 2015 editorials. Whether or not Dre will address other allegations of abuse remains unclear, however.
Following the 1991 incident, Dr. Dre was fined $2,500 and given two years’ probation and 240 hours of community service. His former fiancé and onetime collaborator Michel’le has also come forward with accounts of domestic abuse. She portrayed that violence in her own made-for-TV biopic, Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Michel’le. Another female collaborator, Ruthless Records artist Tairrie B, recounted an attack to The L.A. Weekly in 2015 as well.
Elsewhere in the Sway conversation, Hughes alleges that Dre left behind his co-ownership stake at Death Row Records in 1996 following the violent attack of a studio engineer. At the 18:00 mark, the director adds that Dre also indirectly addresses the loss of two brothers as well as one of his son in The Defiant Ones.
#BonusBeat: The latest trailer for The Defiant Ones, featuring Dre, Jimmy, Em’, Snoop Dogg, and others:
The HBO series premieres July 9.