Dee Barnes is calling out the Recording Academy for honoring Dr. Dre at this year’s Grammy Awards, given the producer’s history of assault.
During an interview with Rolling Stone, the journalist and former rapper slammed the Recording Academy for awarding the famed producer with the Global Impact Award.
Barnes, a former member of the West Coast hip-hop female duo Body & Soul, has spoken openly about her 1991 assault at the hands of Dr. Dre. The “Next Episode” hitmaker allegedly attacked her at a record release party in January 1991, after she hosted an episode of her popular show Pump It Up!, that peeled back the layers of his beef with N.W.A and Ice Cube.
“Everybody wants to separate the art from the artist, and sometimes that’s just not possible. Most people without a knowledge of [Dr. Dre’s] history are going to say, ‘Oh, he must deserve that. He must be such a great person for them to put an award in his name.’ But they named this award after an abuser,” Barnes told Rolling Stone.
“It wasn’t just a one or two-time thing; these are choices,” she continued. “The first time, it’s maybe a mistake. The second time, okay. The third time, it’s a choice. I’m not saying he is the same person now, though. I don’t know. I’m not around him anymore. I haven’t talked to him. But to name an award after someone with that type of history in the music industry, you might as well call it the ‘Ike Turner Award.'”
Dee Barnes is upset with the hip-hop community for turning a blind eye to Dre. Dre’s abusive past
Barnes said while the Grammys’ recent hip-hop tribute was “beautiful,” she couldn’t bare to think about being in the same space as Dre. As a journalist who helped to document the culture at its prime in the late ’80s and ’90s, Barnes said she was frustrated by the Recording Academy’s failure to acknowledge her assault and Dre’s abusive behavior with past victims. She also criticized members of the hip-hop community for turning a blind eye to his history of domestic violence.
“I shouldn’t have to suffer by not being able to exist in a space and in a culture that not only did I grow up in but that I contributed to in a major way,” she said. “Is this about his feelings? Is this about his legacy? Or is it about ego and toxic masculinity? What is it about? My whole history has been erased—as an artist, as a music journalist, and as a television host,” Barnes said before adding:
“When I think of what atonement looks like for Dre and me, I think of a missed opportunity where we could have sat down together on camera and hashed it out. I think that would’ve begun a journey of healing; he’s coming face to face with me, and I’m coming face to face with him,” she said. “I’ve put out the olive branch. Black women and grace, you know how we are. It wasn’t accepted.”
During the 1991 assault, Barnes claimed Dr. Dre dragged her by her hair and smashed her face into a wall. She also alleged that the California native kicked her as she was on the ground and stomped on her fingers. Dre later apologized for the violent attack but did not directly name Barnes.
“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,” the Grammy-award-winning producer told the New York Times in 2015.
“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,” he added.
What do you think? Should Dr. Dre’s award be taken away due to his abusive past?
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