Dr. Dre (Finally) Apologizes For Abusive Past: “I Deeply Regret What I Did”

In the wake of “Straight Outta Compton”‘s box office success and renewed attention on his past abuse of many woman, Dr. Dre has finally apologized for this behavior in a statement to The New York Times:

“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.”

Since his days with NWA, Dre — born Andre Young — has joked about or downplayed his abusive behavior towards women like Dee Barnes, a hip-hop journalist who was beaten by Dre in 1991, and ex-fiancée Michel’le, mother to his son. Earlier this week, Barnes wrote an essay for Gawker about the beating that changed her life forever, and its subsequent erasure from “Straight Outta Compton,” despite director D. Gary Gray’s firsthand knowledge of the incident. Michel’le also spoke about the abuse she suffered in a separate interview with the Times:

“I’ve been talking about my abuse for many, many years, but it has not gotten any ears until now.”

During that time, she said, he was often physically abusive, hitting her with a closed fist and leaving “black eyes, a cracked rib and scars.” Michel’le said she never pressed charges because, “We don’t get that kind of education in my culture.”

She added, “Opening up and finding out there were other women like me gave me the power to speak up.”

In addition, Dre’s one-time label mate Tairrie B (born Theresa Murphy) said that the rapper punched her twice in the face at a Grammys after-party in 1990. Murphy and Michel’le connected on Facebook over their shared experiences. “I said, ‘Hey girl, I think we have something in common, and we’ve never talked about it,’ ” Murphy said.

Dre’s super-late apology appears to be enough for Apple, where Dre is a top consultant. They released the following statement in support:

“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.”

But as Jamilah Lemieux writes in her fantastic piece over at the Washington Post, Dre’s horrendous treatment of women is not the only issue:

…the issue with N.W.A. and sexism is so much deeper than Dre’s physical violence against those three women, by far. As a longtime listener of hip-hop, I’d go so far as to say that the group’s most lasting legacy — greater than “F*** the Police,” greater than Dre’s expansive catalogue as a producer and Ice Cube’s reinvention as a family film dad — is how the group contributed to hip-hop’s long-standing tradition of seeing black women as little more than “bitches” and “hoes.”

I recommend reading Lemieux’s full piece before giving Dr. Dre a pass — or “Straight Outta Compton” any of your money.

[NY Times]

[Washington Post]