Andre Young, or Dr. Dre as he’s famously known, became one of Apple’s newest executives last May when the company purchased Beats Electronics for $US3 billion, which he co-founded with renowned record executive Jimmy Iovine.
Since Apple launched its own streaming music service called Apple Music in June, both Dre and Iovine have become the face of Apple’s music efforts.
They have appeared together on the cover of Wired, in TIME, and various other publications. Apple’s Eddy Cue, the company’s senior vice president of software and internet services, even called Dre on stage during a keynote once.
But now that “Straight Outta Compton” has been released, the new biographical movie made by director F. Gary Grey about Dr. Dre’s old rap group N.W.A, new attention has been called to some of the uglier parts of his past.
Dee Barnes, who hosted a show about hip hop on Fox called “Pump It Up!,” says Dre assaulted her in 1991. Barnes recently wrote a column for Gawker in which she recollected her experience and reflected on the film.
Dr. Dre is said to have attacked Barnes because of a segment that aired on her show in late 1990 in which rapper Ice Cube, who was previously part of N.W.A., insulted his former colleagues. The interview angered Dr. Dre so much that he was prompted to attack Barnes in the bathroom of a nightclub.
Here’s how Barnes described the assault in her Gawker essay, where she also accused Dre of “beating up” one of his girlfriends.
Dr. Dre straddled me and beat me mercilessly on the floor of the women’s restroom at the Po Na Na Souk nightclub in 1991.
That event isn’t depicted in Straight Outta Compton, but I don’t think it should have been, either. The truth is too ugly for a general audience. I didn’t want to see a depiction of me getting beat up, just like I didn’t want to see a depiction of Dre beating up Michel’le, his one-time girlfriend who recently summed up their relationship this way: “I was just a quiet girlfriend who got beat on and told to sit down and shut up.”
Barnes had also described the attack in a statement following the initial assault. Here’s a clip from a Rolling Stone article written in 1991:
According to a statement issued by Barnes, Dre picked her up and “began slamming her face and the right side of her body repeatedly against a wall near the stairway” as his bodyguard held off the crowd. After Dre tried to throw her down the stairs and failed, he began kicking her in the ribs and hands. She escaped and ran into the women’s restroom. Dre followed her and “grabbed her from behind by the hair and proceeded to punch her in the back of the head.” Finally, Dre and his bodyguard ran from the building.
Dr. Dre pleaded no contest to assault and settled the civil lawsuit Barnes filed against him.
Barnes’ words have led some to think about what this means now that Dre is an Apple executive.
The story has been around for more than 20 years, and Dr. Dre has expressed remorse.
Dre recently told Rolling Stone that some of the allegations are true, although not all of the are, and said that he “made some f–king horrible mistakes:”
I was young, fucking stupid. I would say all the allegations aren’t true — some of them are. Those are some of the things that I would like to take back. It was really fucked up. But I paid for those mistakes, and there’s no way in hell that I will ever make another mistake like that again.
He has been pouring his efforts into charitable causes since then while he’s been growing the Beats business with Iovine. He recently announced that he plans to donate all of the proceeds from his new album “Compton” toward the construction of an arts center for children in Compton.
Even so, the past is still pretty raw for Barnes, who wrote that she still gets migraines that only started to occur after her incident with Dre.
When I get migraines, my head does ring and it hurts, exactly in the same spot every time where he smashed my head against the wall. People have accused me of holding onto the past; I’m not holding onto the past. I have a souvenir that I never wanted. The past holds onto me.
Apple has declined to comment on this story.