After watching the film, Barnes says that she did not expect either Dr. Dre’s assault of her or Dr. Dre’s alleged beatings of Michel’le, his then-girlfriend, to be depicted. They are not addressed in the film.
Barnes was assaulted by Dr. Dre at a release party in 1991. The N.W.A rapper-producer was upset over an episode of Pump It Up! where a feature on the group was followed by an interview with Ice Cube, who had left the group. Barnes sued Dr. Dre over the assault and settled the case out of court.
“The truth is too ugly for a general audience,” Barnes writes in her Gawker piece.
However, she does not give the filmmakers a pass for glossing over the events completely.
“What should have been addressed is that it occurred,” she writes. “When I was sitting there in the theater, and the movie’s timeline skipped by my attack without a glance, I was like, ‘Uhhh, what happened?’ Like many of the women that knew and worked with N.W.A, I found myself a casualty of Straight Outta Compton’s revisionist history.”
Barnes describes meeting the members of N.W.A “before they blew up” and says she came to know the rappers as brothers. She says she never saw the rappers treat women the way they rapped in the lyrics of their songs.
She continues by saying that she is not responsible for the Pump It Up! episode that upset Dr. Dre. She points out that F. Gary Gray, who directed Straight Outta Compton, was the cameraman who shot the Ice Cube interview.
“You may have noticed that Gary has been reluctant to address N.W.A’s misogyny and Dre’s attack on me in interviews,” she says. “I think a huge reason that Gary doesn’t want to address it is because then he’d have to explain his part in history. He’s obviously uncomfortable for a reason.”
Barnes says that her removal from journalism has not been by choice.
“It’s not like I haven’t tried,” she says. “I was blacklisted. Nobody wants to work with me. They don’t want to affect their relationship with Dre. I’ve been told directly and indirectly, ‘I can’t work with you.'”
Barnes remembers the last time she saw Eazy-E and says she was happy to make amends with the N.W.A rapper before he succumbed to complications due to AIDS in 1995. She believes that if Eazy-E were alive, he would have ensured the film was more accurate.
“Straight Outta Compton transforms N.W.A from the world’s most dangerous rap group to the world’s most diluted Rap group,” she says. “In Rap, authenticity matters, and gangsta rap has always pushed boundaries beyond what’s comfortable with hardcore rhymes that are supposed to present accounts of the street’s harsh realities (though N.W.A shared plenty of fantasies, as well). The biggest problem with Straight Outta Compton is that it ignores several of N.W.A’s own harsh realities. That’s not gangsta, it’s not personal, it’s just business.”