All Articles Tagged "domestic violence"
Last week, we published the apology Dr. Dre issued to all the women he abused in his life. Dee Barnes, one of his victims, the journalist who Dr. Dre assaulted after she interviewed Ice Cube, has since written a response to his words. Here’s what she said below.
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. Goodbye to the man who didn’t deny it and even bragged, “I just did it, you know. Ain’t nothing you can do now by talking about it. Besides, it ain’t no big thing–I just threw her through a door.”
Goodbye to a general public that accepted these indiscretions without so much as a second thought. When news of the apology broke, my social media feeds were immediately flooded with responses ranging from good to bad to ugly. I saw comments like, “That was the worst apology,” “Fake apology,” and, “He did not have the decency to state your names and do it face to face after all those years—that’s the least he could do.”
I understand people’s apprehension. The stakes are high now and money talks, loud. Is this is a PR move by Universal, which released Straight Outta Compton? After all, the film just crossed the $100 million mark its second weekend in theaters. Is it damage control by Apple, which can no longer ignore that if you take the “Beats by Dre” logo and remove the “S,” you get a double entendre describing several woman he just apologized to? Is Dre himself really remorseful or just saving face? To me, the answers to these questions matter less than the fact that Dre stepped up and performed his social responsibility by finally taking accountability for his actions. Who cares why he apologized? The point is that he did.
I know what it’s like to speak out and have your intentions criticized. While my essay about my experiences with Dre and N.W.A. received a lot of positive support, I was also repeatedly asked, “Why now?” To be clear, I spoke out after a Rolling Stone interview promoting Straight Outta Compton—released August 12, 2015, just two days before the movie’s opening weekend—named me as the TV host assaulted in a 1991 “incident.” This is the first time Dre supposedly “apologized” in public to the women he hurt. He vaguely acknowledged his “fucking horrible mistakes.” But he didn’t actually apologize: “I would say all the allegations aren’t true–some of them are.” And that is why I spoke out. That is “why now.”
Then last week, the L.A.Times published an article about an early draft of the Straight Outta Compton screenplay that included a depiction of my brutal encounter with Dr. Dre, in which my character throws a drink in his face after being confronted. It’s only after the drink is thrown that the Dre character retaliates with physical violence. That is a fabrication intended to excuse his actions.
I’ve also received harshly worded comments stating that the biopic is not the Dr. Dre story, it’s N.W.A.’s. But when other members of the group publicly condoned the assault, their confirmation made it officially an N.W.A. issue. Eazy E, MC Ren, and DJ Yella verbally bashed me after Dre did it violently. It was nothing short of character assassination.
In 1999, eight years after the incident, Dr. Dre added insult to injury by producing and releasing the Eminem single “Guilty Conscience.” This song was no “fucking mistake.” Em’s rap brought up Dre’s violent past while accusing him of hypocrisy: “You gonna take advice from somebody who slapped Dee Barnes?” Eminem also rapped: “Mr. Dre, Mr. N.W.A., Mr. A.K. coming Straight Outta Compton, y’all better make way. How in the fuck are you gonna tell this man not to be violent?”
The story goes that Dre “fell out of his chair laughing” when he heard the reference. I have been routinely accused of “living in the past” and of not letting this go, but it was Dr. Dre himself who was living in the past and couldn’t let it go so he created a permanent reminder of the “Dee Barnes incident.” And Eminem is not the only one; there are numerous songs that mention the incident, enough that essentially turned me into a, uh, punchline. Of the women assaulted by Dre, I was the only one to press criminal charges against him. I’m also the only one whose name later came up in one of his songs. “Guilty Conscience” and the other songs containing the reference are products of clear and obvious misogyny on a cultural level and for what? Jokes?
The hypocrisy of it all is appalling. This is bigger than me, and bigger than hip-hop. This is about respect and awareness. As a result of speaking on my personal experience with violence, I have been vilified. Women survivors of violence are expected neither to be seen nor heard, and the pressure increases when it involves celebrities. No one wants to see their heroes criticized. And if they are African American, the community at large becomes suspicious of an underlying motive to tear down a successful black man. Excusing pop culture icons from scrutiny over their history of violence against women because they are elevated to “hero” status is wrong on so many levels. Creating notable, brilliant art does not absolve you of your faults. In the past, great art was enough to exalt men of their bad behavior, but in 2015 it’s no longer the case. Survivors have a right and an obligation to speak up (#NoSilenceOnDomesticViolence). We are too loud, too correct, too numerous to be ignored.
After a good two weeks of rightly catching hell in the media for his past hellish actions, Dr. Dre has issued an apology to the women he’s abused in his past.
In a statement, given to the New York Times, he said:
“Twenty-five years ago I was a young man drinking too much and in over my head with no real structure in my life. However, none of this is an excuse for what I did. I’ve been married for 19 years and every day I’m working to be a better man for my family, seeking guidance along the way. I’m doing everything I can so I never resemble that man again. I apologize to the women I’ve hurt. I deeply regret what I did and know that it has forever impacted all of our lives.”
Then, Apple Music issued a cosign.
“Dre has apologized for the mistakes he’s made in the past and he’s said that he’s not the same person that he was 25 years ago. We believe his sincerity and after working with him for a year and a half, we have every reason to believe that he has changed.”
Dre and Apple have a relationship. You may remember Apple famously purchased Dr. Dre’s Beats for $3 billion, making him the “first billionaire of Hip Hop.” Later, it was announced that Dre partnered with Apple Music as a consultant.
Still, their two cents didn’t add anything to his original statement.
I’m the first person to argue that celebrity apologies are almost always heavily and unfairly scrutinized. And I’m sure public figures know that when you’re apologizing to this many people, someone’s always going to have a problem with it. But in this instance, with this apology, there’s good reason for it.
Apple made this worse.
People assume that celebrity apologies are sincere because they’re only attempting to protect themselves from litigation, damaging your reputation in the public eye or losing endorsements/ business deals.
For Apple, the company who is working so closely with Dre, to come out and speak this boldly about his personal life, when they don’t go home with him at night is just ridiculous. No one can swear for how much Dre has changed except for his current wife. Apple is simply trying to protect their brand and their investment. That’s crystal clear.
When I first read Dr. Dre’s apology I thought it was pretty decent, sincere even.
But I’m a sucker for the comment section and the people on Jezebel took issue with the line I deeply regret what I did and know that it has forever impacted all of our lives.”
They felt he shouldn’t have likened any guilt or consequences he experienced because of his abuse, to any of the physical, emotional, mental and psychological scars the women endured and are still dealing with today.
I don’t know about that. Sure, Dr. Dre hasn’t suffered like they’ve suffered. And I actually don’t think he was trying to insinuate that he has. But his life was impacted. I’d assume negatively so. And I don’t think acknowledging that abusing others takes a toll on the abuser too, makes the apology any less sincere. Remember, he and Michel’le share a child together. I’m sure their abusive relationship affected his son, in one way or another. I think acknowledging that shows the ways in which he’s taking further responsibility.
One of the more salient points though came when someone mentioned that an apology for this type of abuse would seem far more sincere if it were done privately. I’m not saying Dre needs to show up to each and every woman’s door steps; but a letter, a phone call or something would be nice.
Again, it’s a shame that this apology only came after he was dragged for completely omitting it in his highly successful group biopic. The timing will always make people question it.
Still, I don’t think real change and growth eludes Dr. Dre. If he handles his personal matters privately, without the interference of his business partners, then perhaps his victims, Dee Barnes, Michel’le and Tairrie B (real name Theresa Murphy) will find some closure.
What do you make of Dr. Dre’s apology?
While there’s all this discussion about the brilliance of Straight Outta Compton and how it dominated in the box office, there is another story, running simultaneously, just below the surface. It’s the discussion of N.W.A.’s history of misogyny, particularly Dr. Dre’s domestic violence issues.
We’ve discussed the Dee Barnes incident and even included the essay she recently wrote for Gawker. In it, Barnes wondered why her assault was omitted completely. For those who have seen the movie, read her essay and know a little bit about N.W.A.’s beef, then you know her interview with Ice Cube was the catalyst for most of it.
DJ Yella explained why in a recent interview with Vlad TV
And while it didn’t make the final cut, at one point or another, there were plans for it to appear in the film.
According to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, the incident did appear in an earlier screenplay written by Jonathan Herman.
It’s written as follows:
…the fictional Dre, “eyes glazed, drunk, with an edge of nastiness, contempt” (per noted from the script) spots Barnes at the party and approaches her.
“Saw that [expletive] you did with Cube. Really had you under his spell, huh? Ate up everything he said. Let him diss us. Sell us out.”
“I just let him tell his story,” Barnes’ character retorts, “That’s what I do. It’s my job.”
“I thought we were cool, you and me,” Dre fires back. “But you don’t give a [expletive]. You just wanna laugh at N.W.A, make us all look like fools.”
The conversation escalates, Barnes throws her drink in Dre’s face before he attacks her “flinging her around like a rag-doll, while she screams, cries, begs for him to stop.”
It was one of several scenes that didn’t make the final cut. F. Gary Gray has said on several occasions that the original cut of the film was three hours long and there were several scenes that were nixed.
During his Breakfast Club Interview with Ice Cube, he did seem to allude to the fact that these additional scenes might show up on the DVD.
But before that, when asked by a viewer as a pre-release screening why it was missing, Gray said, “There are so many things that you can add or subtract. Cube always said, ‘You can make five different N.W.A. movies.’ We made the one we wanted to make.”
Ain’t that the truth.
What perhaps is most troubling to me is not only did they leave out a key part of the story to save Dr. Dre’s reputation, they did so with the intent to save director F. Gary Gray’s as well. You may remember in Barnes’ essay, she said Gray was working as the cameraman during her now infamous interview with Ice Cube. And while I’m not sure who served as editor; whoever placed Ice Cube’s derogatory comments right in front of an N.W.A performance knew full well what type of message that might send to the remaining members of the group.
So, it’s a shame that Dee Barnes was beaten and blacklisted from the industry for putting a mic in Cube’s face, while Gray, who might have had a hand in the editing, gets to make millions off of the story. It’s just not easy being a woman…particularly in Hip Hop.
Additionally, the whole ordeal is sad because they didn’t take the opportunity to address many of the group members’ shortcomings. Honestly, the only person who’s given a fully human story is Eazy E. He’s the only character with flaws, highs and loves, triumphs and setbacks. And the audience loves him for it. He’s human. The audience loves Cube and Dre too but you leave the film thinking Dr. Dre and Ice Cube are saints.
I remember watching the domestic violence portion of James Brown’s biopic Get On Up. And though it was painful and disappointing, I still left the theater regarding Brown as a great man. The same could have been true for Dre.
Personally, I loved Straight Outta Compton. (That might speak to me being a “bad feminist,” unprincipled or just not fully woke when it comes to feminist philosophy. I’m not sure.) Still, the movie would have been so much more grounded if Dre and Cube had allowed themselves to be presented as less than perfect. The information was already out there anyway. It was in the lyrics, in the court documents and in the interviews in which Dre brushed off the incident, saying he just threw her through a door.
If they’d put that incident in the movie or acknowledged that it happened, we could have started a dialogue. People would have asked Dre questions about it but then that would have been his opportunity to speak publicly about how he’s matured and changed. Omitting it or pretending it wasn’t central to the N.W.A. story, as well as Dre’s story, seems to not only suggest it never happened but also that the Dr. Dre we know today still doesn’t see a problem with it or doesn’t believe beating women is “that big of a deal.”
Hell, Ice Cube is still stuck in the past.
And when you pretend things didn’t happen, that’s when folks start throwing things back in your face.
It’s clear that Dr. Dre and Ice Cube wanted audiences to walk away regarding them as heroes. And in many respects they are. They developed a brotherhood, they gave a voice to the hood, followed their passions, empowered other artists, and perhaps most importantly, they spoke up about police brutality. In my opinion, for a group that prided themselves on being raw and real, they could have been even more heroic if they’d told the truth as well.
There is something quite peculiar about the bravado coming from Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) titleholder Ronda Rousey.
If you don’t know the name, perhaps you know the work. The mixed martial arts fighter is the first American woman to earn an Olympic medal in Judo (it happened at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics). The 12-0 fighter has also successfully defended herself in six UFC bantamweight championships. Most recently, a title match with Bethe Correia in which she knocked her out in a 34-second victory.
Rousey’s meteoric rise among the American athletic elite has earned her plenty of praise and accolades, both within and outside of the sports world. UK Telegraph writer Gareth A Davies calls her “a total trailblazer” and speculates that she is, perhaps “the baddest feminist in the world?” Bustle writer Hilary Weaver calls Rousey “a symbol of power and empowerment.”
Of course, she is not without her critics. Particularly the critics who have taken issue with comments she’s made over the years about transgender MMA fighter Fallon Fox’s ‘unfair advantage’ over cisgendered women in the UFC. In a two-year-old interview with the New York Post, Rousey said of Fox’s inclusion in the UFC: “She can try hormones, chop her pecker off, but it’s still the same bone structure a man has. It’s an advantage. I don’t think it’s fair.”
Rousey would double down on those controversial statements last year after Fox’s first professional match as a woman left her opponent with a concussion, an orbital bone fracture, and seven staples in the head. And in an interview with TMZ, the reigning women’s bantamweight champ said that while she was not afraid of any fighter, she thought Fox, who had gender reassignment surgery in 2006, should only be allowed to fight male opponents. “If you go through puberty as a man it’s not something you can reverse…There’s no undo button on that.”
Naturally, Rousey has been labeled transphobic. I, on the other hand, find her statements ironic. Or maybe it’s coincidental?
No matter the plot device, it is quite odd that Rousey does not want to face a transgender contender (and hides it behind concerns about a so-called “unfair advantage”). However, she has no problem envisioning herself fighting Floyd Mayweather.
Granted, there aren’t many people I know who haven’t daydreamed about the welterweight champion getting the crap beat out of him. But Rousey has been taking unprovoked jabs at Mayweather and making idle threats about him for a while now. Like in an interview with Access Hollywood from earlier this year, where Rousey said she doesn’t think she and Mayweather would ever fight unless “we ended up dating.” Nice one. I’ll definitely give her that.
However, when Mayweather responded by saying he doesn’t know who “he” is, Rousey continued her poking. She told an audience during her Best Fighter ESPY Award acceptance speech, “I wonder how Floyd feels being beat by a woman for once…I’d like to see him pretend to not know who I am now.”
She continued her offense during a recent Ask Me Anything chat on Reddit. According to Sports Illustrated, when asked if she could beat Mayweather in a fight without rules, Rousey said:
“Floyd is one of the best boxers of all time,” Rousey replied. “He would definitely beat me in a boxing match. I unfortunately don’t get into ‘matches.’ I fight for a living.”
“In a no-rules fight, I believe I can beat anyone on this planet,” she concluded. “Boxing is a sweet science with strict rules that I respect very much and aspire every day to improve at. But you said ruleless fight, and that’s my honest answer.”
We can blame it on the general public’s obsession with comparing a woman’s strength to her ability to successfully challenge and keep up with a man. I mean, why do folks keep asking her questions about fighting male contenders anyway? Do they ask male boxing champions about fighting women? But there is no doubt that Rousey not only feeds into the narrative but also thrives on it.
And while some may choose to see her solely as a powerful symbol of feminism, she is also an example of how mainstream feminism fails to be intersectional. Of course, some folks might take real issue with a transgender fighter in a women’s league or a woman beater. And of course, women should have the space to speak their blunt truths just like anyone else. But the comfort level Rousey feels in expressing her disapproval of the two is shroud and protected by a society that regularly takes great pleasure in the conquest and dominance of Black and brown bodies specifically. And that includes the denial of Black and brown bodies into spaces, which might threaten their (White) privilege as well as the constant need to physically prove how much stronger they are than everyone else.
But perhaps I am reading too much into this. I am open to an honest debate. So what do folks think? Is Rousey just calling it like she sees it or have her recent jabs been motivated by a need to assert herself over Black and brown bodies?
You won’t get much argument from me when it comes to the importance of N.W.A in the fabric of hip-hop music.
N.W.A was hip-hop’s version of A Clockwork Orange; they gave us the important narrative of the disaffected Black youth spawned from the implosion of Black rights and pride movements of the ’60s, reared during the Ronald Reagan crack era of the ’80s.
With that said, you also won’t get any argument from me when it comes to the fact that the notorious hip-hop quartet was also violent, homophobic and misogynistic. Hell, you won’t even get that argument from some of the group’s members. As Ice Cube shared with Rolling Stone about the group’s anti-Black women lyrics:
“If you’re a bitch, you’re probably not going to like us. If you’re a ho, you probably don’t like us. If you’re not a ho or a bitch, don’t be jumping to the defense of these despicable females. Just like I shouldn’t be jumping to the defense of no punks or no cowards or no slimy son of a bitches that’s men. I never understood why an upstanding lady would even think we’re talking about her.”
Drug dealers are despicable. Gang bangers who shoot up their own communities are despicable. Pimps who trade in the flesh of other human beings are despicable. Thugs who do nothing but terrorize their neighborhoods all day are despicable. Cube and the gang made no qualms about “jumping to the defense” of dealers, pimps, gang bangers and thugs. And yet, being a “ho” and a “bitch” is a bridge too far for him?
The dreaded double standard, I tell ya…
It’s the same standard that tells us that men can exercise the most destructive of behaviors and still be considered heroes and revolutionaries. The same standard which tells us that they can live outside of the scope of what traditional gender roles and respectability politics expect of them – including providing for and protecting women and children – and still be seen as men of good standing. The same standard that would allow men who made songs about killing other men to be in a rap song about stopping the violence. And a standard that would allow one of its members to be transformed into a family man, white-water rafting down a river with his preppy-looking wife and kids.
We know that life in America is much harder for Black men. There are the police and biased court systems, which prey on them. There is the school-to-prison pipeline and mass incarceration that holds them back. There are companies, which won’t hire them and gangs that want to kill them. We are quick to understand how systems of racism work to their disadvantage. That is why we protect them and give them leeway, even when their angst over their conditions is (often) directed at us.
But racism isn’t, and has never been, gender specific. And just like Black men, Black women also find themselves in extremely difficult positions based upon their race in our society. We too have to deal with the police and disproportionate prosecutions by the courts. Our girls also face unfair disciplinary practices at school. We too aren’t hired for jobs (or, when we are employed, we find ourselves represented more in low-wage work) and even face an unemployment rate that is as high as Black men’s.
Coupled with our racial oppression is the subjugation we face just for being women. Like the gender wage gap, which not only pays us less than Black men but our White women counterparts too. And like our above average domestic violence rates, abuse that most times is at the hands of those who look like us.
However, this is not a game of Oppression Olympics. But it is an acknowledgment that life for Black women ain’t been no crystal stair either. And yet, when it comes to a mass outcry about the often difficult task of being a Black woman in America, particularly for the so-called bitches and hos, very few seek to understand and defend.
There is an actual term for this double standard, particularly as it relates to the Black community. According to Trudy, creator of the blog Gradient Lair, the term “misogynoir” can be defined in the following way:
…a word used to describe how racism and anti-Blackness alter the experience of misogyny for Black women, specifically. It alludes to specifically Black women’s experiences with gender and how both racism and anti-Blackness alters that experience diametrically from White women (as anti-Blackness and White supremacy make White women the “norm” in terms of intersectional experiences with gender, even as solely via gender, misogyny harms all women) and differently from non-Black women of colour (as though they face racism, the dehumanization associated with anti-Blackness is more than racism or sexualized objectification alone, but speaks to the history of Black bodies and lives treated as those of non-persons). I recently saw a thread of false information and non-Black women of colour co-opting to erase Black womanhood, Black women’s experiences and Black women’s epistemology from the concept of misogynoir. Again, the origin is in Black womanhood and the term was coined by a queer Black woman, Moya Bailey.
Since way before the time when our bodies were being paraded around in human circuses, both our race and our gender has made us vulnerable to sexual exploitation. As noted in this article titled “Reclaiming Their Lives and Breaking Free: An Afrocentric Approach to Recovery From Prostitution,” which appeared in the Journal of Women and Social Work:
Childhood risk factors and limited access to economic and educational resources place poor African American women and girls at significantly higher rates of risk for entry into prostitution at earlier ages as a consideration for survival (Kramer & Berg, 2003). African American women and girls are disproportionately represented among women who are involved in street prostitution—the lower echelon of the prostitution hierarchy (Kramer & Berg, 2003). They are disproportionately (90%) represented among female victims of prostitution-related homicide (Goktepe et al., 2002), and are more likely (60%) to be controlled by a pimp (Giobbe, 1993; Norton-Hawk, 2004). Prostituted African American women are more likely to be arrested, have higher fines levied, receive more jail time, and have their children removed by the child welfare system (Nelson, 1993).
And yet, where are their swan songs?
Where are the odes to the Black bitches and hos who sell tricks to feed their families? Where are the lyrical shout-outs to the Black bitches and hos who are trapped by “Amerikkka” in the vicious cycle of incarceration? Who screams out “F**k tha Killers” for the Black bitches and hos who are raped, murdered and dumped on the side of the road like garbage? What really is the purpose of a musical movement, which seeks to bring understanding to the harsh realities of the Black dealers, bangers and killers in our community, but can’t defend, nor respect, the plight of the Black bitches and hos?
While Cube and his cohorts should be noted in history for being one of the first musical acts to shine a much-needed light on the brutality faced by young Black men, we should not forget how this group also threw Black women under the bus in order to empower themselves. And not only has their music continued the long-standing tradition of sexually exploiting the most vulnerable members of our oppression (Black women and girls who are indeed caught up in prostitution), but it has also continued the equally long-standing tradition of defining the entirety of Black womanhood as nothing more than so-called bitches and hoes.
After all, some of us got other jobs. Try telling that to hotel staff or the White man who propositions you at the bus stop, all because they don’t know or don’t care to know the difference.
So yeah, F Ice Cube for that. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m going to keep defending the Black bitches and hos.
Earlier, we reported that an Atlanta judge granted Erica Dixon a temporary protective order against the father of her child and former fiancé, Darryl “Lil Scrappy” Richardson.
In that article we mentioned that at a later date, a judge would decide whether or not the protective order would be permanent.
According to our sister site, Bossip, a decision has been reached. On Wednesday, the judge had reason to believe Erica’s claims and signed a “family violence” protective order, preventing Lil Scrappy from being within 100 yards of Dixon for the next full year.
She told the court that Richardson assaulted her, “aggressively attempted to attack me and had to be restrained on several occasions. During a scheduled work related filming, the respondent became enraged during a conversation while attempting to attack me and further throwing an object at me.”
Dixon said that she’s scared of what Scrappy might do. “Although we meet to exchange custody of our daughter, I am extremely uncomfortable doing so after his erratic behavior.”
In addition to the alleged violence, Dixon is seeking sole custody of their 10-year-old daughter Emani and is asking the courts to require Scrappy to get tested for drugs and alcohol, and go to rehab.
What’s Scrappy’s take on this situation? He said that Emani has lived with him for the past 2 year. He took it a step further saying that he was scared of Erica. He said she dissed him in front of their daughter, won’t speak to him and refused to co-parent with him.
We haven’t been privy to the ins and outs of Erica and Scrappy’s relationship. But it’s a shame that things are transpiring the way they are with these two, particularly when they have a daughter to raise.
Recently, with the release of Straight Outta Compton, people are recalling incidents from their own memories about the members of N.W.A. And during this mental exercise, Dr. Dre’s history of domestic violence with women, ranging from his romantic partners to female journalists, came up.
People were wondering if it was going to be addressed in the movie.
And when they saw that it wasn’t, folks wanted to know what Dr. Dre had to say about it.
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, the super producer and music mogul commented on his past as an abuser.
“I made some fucking horrible mistakes in my life. 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.”
Personally, I’m ok with this apology. For an incident more than 20 years old, that has been settled out of court, I don’t know what more Dre could do. We can only hope that he has since stopped the behavior and his words are as sincere as they appear to be.
This talk about his treatment of women also led the interviewer, Brian Hiatt, to ask about the group’s lyrical content when it comes to addressing and referencing women, you know, the prevalence of words like “bitch” and “ho.”
Ice Cube took the lead on this one:
“If you’re a bitch, you’re probably not going to like us,” he says. “If you’re a ho, you probably don’t like us. If you’re not a ho or a bitch, don’t be jumping to the defense of these despicable females. Just like I shouldn’t be jumping to the defense of no punks or no cowards or no slimy son of a bitches that’s men. I never understood why an upstanding lady would even think we’re talking about her.”
As much as I love me some Ice Cube, this here ain’t it. The whole problem with the words like “bitch” and “ho” is that they’re never reserved for a “certain type of women.” Eventually, they can apply to anyone with a vagina. And it’s not long before “bitch” and “ho” are synonymous with any “woman” or “girl” who’s not your mother or daughter. When men constantly use those words, many of them start to view the women as less-than, mere objects. Which N.W.A. might have been guilty of.
Furthermore, what is an “upstanding” woman? Human beings are, by nature, complex. I don’t know a soul who was always upstanding. Not a single person. So if you catch any woman, even an “upstanding” one on a bad day, she too could be a “bitch.” I don’t know if the members of N.W.A would even describe themselves as upstanding. The point is, they shouldn’t have to in order to be respected.
Whether that was N.W.A.’s intention or not, people, particularly young listeners, aren’t able to make that distinction. But that’s the battle with Hip Hop: free expression. Often, with this type of realness, the good, bad and ugly is exposed, not only in society, but within the artists themselves.
It’s sad some of the old Hip Hop legends won’t ever see the error in their ways, past or present. My hope, though, is that as we evolve as a society, men won’t address women in such derogatory terms and, as a result, it won’t show up in the music.
What do you think of Dr. Dre’s comments and Ice Cube’s rationalization?
Can a domestic abuser be redeemed?
It is a question I find myself asking after watching a recent interview with Ray Rice on Outside the Lines. The interview, which aired last Tuesday, featured the former Baltimore Ravens running back expressing his remorse about the now infamous domestic abuse incident in which he knocked out his then-fiancée Janay Rice. Afterward, he dragged her unconscious body out of an elevator at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City. The incident, which was caught on video, resulted in Rice being temporarily banned from the NFL (he has since won his appeal to be reinstated) and earning the scorn of millions.
In the interview, which you can watch here, Rice admits to being “out of my mind.” And if he could have done something differently that evening, it would have been helping Janay up after he cold-cocked her in the face. He also said, “Over time I want to be able to rewrite my script and tell my daughter, ‘Daddy made the worst decision of his life, but this is what I did going forward.’ And to the survivors of domestic violence, I understand how real it is and I never want to ever take that for granted because it is a real issue in our society. My video put the light there.”
According to the Huffington Post, Rice has been working diligently to rebuild his tarnished image, including speaking at colleges and high schools about the consequences of domestic violence. Likewise, the Post reports that one of the anti-domestic violence organizations that Rice has worked with told ESPN that he deserves a second chance. Still, the running back, who is now eligible to play for an NFL team again, has yet to be signed. While some argue that it was his dismal performance in the season prior to the lifetime ban that has kept Rice from being signed, others suspect that it is his domestic violence controversy, which some teams may not want to associate their brand with.
Personally, I am less interested in the discussion of whether or not he should be allowed to play in the NFL again. I’m not even really that interested in the question of whether or not the general public can and should forgive him. Instead, I’m interested in finding out if Rice really is a changed man and if a person with a history of domestic abuse can truly stop being an abuser.
I think it is possible that Rice has changed. But while it seems like he has been putting in work, I do wonder if his attempt at redemption is motivated by the desire to play again, as opposed to recognizing that what he did was wrong.
Besides acknowledging that he shouldn’t have put his hands on his wife, and at the very least, he should have helped her up after he did (like a proper gentlemen), what about his attitude and temperament has changed? Has he stopped drinking? Has he discovered what was at the root of his problem that made him act out so aggressively towards Janay?
I think those questions need answering before a person could claim that they have changed. And it matters because domestic violence abusers are likely to put their hands on someone again, even if they have had an intervention. According to this study entitled “Predicting Abuse and Reassault Among Batterer Program Participants,” more than 40 percent of those who participated in batterer programs reported that a reassault occurred during the 30-month period following their initial violent act.
There are other factors at work that determine whether or not a person with a history of violence can be successfully rehabilitated. As the website for the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence states, there are a number of things that must happen in order to see lasting effects:
“First, they must be ready and willing to change. Second, they must be willing to relinquish the power and control they’ve held in their relationships, sometimes for many years. And they must be willing not to ‘trade’ physical abuse for other kinds of abuse such as psychological or financial. These kinds of abuse are just as hard on victims.”
Honestly, I think that it is too early to know if Rice has really been rehabilitated. Outside of training and speaking engagements, there is simply not enough evidence available to know if he has stopped his abusive ways. And again, would Rice’s anti-violence advocacy be so vocal if he hadn’t been hit with such steep consequences? Would he believe what he did was wrong if it had not been caught on camera? And why is one of his biggest regrets that evening not that he hit his then-fiancée, but that he didn’t pick her up after he did?
And what exactly is rehabilitated here? His image or his actual life?
White House staffer Barvetta Singletary, 37, was arrested Friday on charges of assault and reckless endangerment following what appears to be a lover’s quarrel that went extremely left.
According to CNN, cops say that Singletary threatened to shoot and eventually fired a shot at a Capitol Hill police officer whom she had been dating. According to a police report, the incident occurred early Friday morning after Singletary sent the officer a text message “asking him to come to her residence…for sexual intercourse.” After “a brief sexual encounter,” Singletary began questioning the officer about another woman he was seeing and requested to see his cell phones. Police say that things escalated from there, and Singletary picked up the man’s gun and fired one shot in his direction.
“You taught me how to use this, don’t think I won’t use it,” Singletary allegedly told the officer prior to opening fire.
It is alleged that she then wiped the weapon down with a towel. An incident report explains that the victim fled the home and called 911. Shortly after, officers arrived at the scene and arrested Singletary, who works as a special assistant to the President and House legislative affairs liaison. She has since been placed on unpaid leave, and her access to White House grounds have been revoked.
“We are aware of the matter and have temporarily placed the employee in question on unpaid leave and revoked her access to the complex until we have more information. We will take additional actions as needed,” a White House spokesperson explained in a statement.
Singletary was released from prison Monday after posting $75,000 bond.
“I get angry about it because it’s the furthest things from the truth,” said the wife and mother.
Rice went on to say that prior to the February 2014 incident, the ex-Baltimore Raven had never put his hands on her.
“It has never happened before, and that’s not him. He’s been made out to be this monster, and he’s not a wife beater. He’s someone who made a mistake. He’s human.”
While she insists that she is not trying to downplay her husband’s actions, she expressed confidence in his rehabilitation.
“I’m not taking the light off of anything that he did. He’s human, and he has done everything he’s supposed to do to redeem himself. So it kind of makes me quite mad.”
Rice also found it necessary to dispel gold digger rumors. When asked what she felt the biggest misconception that the public has about her is, she responded:
“That I’m with Ray for all of the wrong reasons, or that I stayed with him for the wrong reasons. One thing that I’ve heard a lot is, ‘Why did she stay? Is it because of the money? Is it because of who he is?’ That’s the biggest misconception. A lot of people assume that I’m with Ray for what he can do for me. But anybody who knows me knows that I don’t need Ray. I’m with him because I love him, and he just happens to be a football player.”
Earlier today, the network also released a clip from the former Ravens star’s interview with Hill, which drew criticism due to his comments about having regrets that he didn’t help his wife up off of the floor after hitting her.