‘Straight Outta Compton’ is good, but it’s missing something


MC Ren (Aldis Hodge), DJ Yella (Neil Brown, Jr.), Eazy-E (Jason Mitchell), Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson Jr.), and Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins) form the hip hop group N.W.A in “Straight Outta Compton.”

By Ivy Nguyen

This isn’t a movie just for rap aficionados. It’s a movie that tells the story of five talented men in the 1980s trying to make it big as a rap collective.

And people are listening. For the second week in a row, Straight Outta Compton (R) is the most-watched movie in the United States. Since it was released on Aug. 14, it has garnered approximately $114 million and gained praise from hip hop fans and people across many demographics.

Sophomore Armon Mahdavi said, “It showed what black people went through with the police and drew a parallel between then and now. One of the big scenes was when a cop made a slavery reference. He called Ice Cube ‘boy’ and said, ‘Run back to your master.’ It made me cringe because that stuff was still going on even after the Civil Rights Movement and it’s still going on now.”

The core of Straight Outta Compton is black survival in an America with rooted and institutionalized racism. The film also celebrates overcoming the struggle of life in the inner part of Los Angeles.

With a Rotten Tomatoes critic score of 90% positive and audience score of 96% positive, the biopic engages its viewers with the rise and fall of N.W.A.

However, the lesser known story that is missing from the film is the story of Dr. Dre’s violence against women.

There is a direct connection between the oppression of black men and the violence perpetrated by [them] against black women.”

— Dee Barnes

Dee Barnes, one of the women who Dr. Dre abused, wrote an insightful and critical essay on The Gawker about the N.W.A biopic’s omission of her story and about domestic violence against black women.

She said, “Accurately articulating the frustrations of young black men being constantly harassed by the cops is at ‘Straight Outta Compton’s’ activistic core. There is a direct connection between the oppression of black men and the violence perpetrated by black men against black women. It is a cycle of victimization and reenactment of violence that is rooted in racism and perpetuated by patriarchy.”

On Aug. 21, Dre said to the New York Times, “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.”

“It just sounds like he did it to quiet the negative publicity surrounding the controversy. He made it seem like they weren’t severe beatings,” said senior Claudia Meza.

With lyrics like “Smother your mother,” “You think I give a d*mn about a b*tch,” and “I might have to shoot the h*e,” misogyny was and is undeniably a central part of Dre and N.W.A. Hip hop is about truth, and the truth for these men was that women were disposable objects to them.

In the end, Straight Outta Compton made sharp social commentary on racism, but it failed to address the intersection of misogyny within the group.