On Sunday night time on the sixty fifth Annual Grammy Awards, hip-hop pioneer Dr. Dre was honored with an award that can newly bear his identify – the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award. The honor is a mission of the Recording Academy’s Black Music Collective, which debuted the Global Impact Award final 12 months, merely as such. The Collective was established after the mass protests of 2020, fueled by the homicide of George Floyd and the killing of Breonna Taylor by police. And for some, Dre’s moniker upon this award additionally fuels indignance — as a result of for several women who’ve accused the mogul of grave acts of violence towards them, his impression has been a lot darker than the Recording Academy is acknowledging.

Dee Barnes is a type of ladies. Barnes, a journalist and MC who, at 19, hosted Pump It Up!, a hip-hop present on Fox integral to the real-time archiving of the style’s improvement from 1989 to 1991. Before she says she was attacked by Dre on January 27, 1991, and earlier than the sequence’ subsequent finish, Barnes interviewed now-legends like LL Cool J, Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, and Queen Latifah.

Ahead of an album launch occasion the place Barnes stated that Dre assaulted her, a section on her present aired that captured the strain between Dre’s then-group N.W.A and former member Ice Cube. In a 2015 op-ed for Gawker, the place Barnes recounted the incident, she stated N.W.A later claimed Dre was indignant concerning the clip she included within the present and beat her mercilessly due to it. The police have been known as within the early hours of January 28, 1991, and a warrant for Dre’s arrest was issued. At the time, he was charged with assault and battery. He pleaded no contest, leading to a $2,500 high quality and a two-year probation sentence with neighborhood service. In the op-ed, Barnes wrote that she’s suffered horrific migraines within the years because the incident, pulsing within the precise spot the place she stated Dre slammed her head right into a wall.

Today, Dr. Dre has a net worth of hundreds of tens of millions of {dollars} after constructing a discography revered as traditional and foundational. He’s a lauded music govt, having based the label that launched the careers of Eminem and 50 Cent. More just lately, he constructed an empire with Beats and Apple alongside Interscope Records co-founder Jimmy Iovine. Conversely, Barnes has struggled immensely to deal with and supply for herself since urgent prices, saying she was blacklisted within the trade on account of talking out. She stated she’s even skilled harassment whereas working entry-level retail jobs to outlive.

As this 12 months’s Grammys approached, Barnes knew Dre could be honored with the Impact Award alongside different trade legends, together with Missy Elliott, Lil Wayne, and Epic Records CEO Sylvia Rhone. “I used to be actually enthusiastic about that,” Barnes — who remains to be an avid music fan and professional — says of Rhone. But when she discovered of the plan to call the respect after Dre, she was shocked. “I had no thought this different factor was coming in any respect,” she added. At the reside televised ceremony, Dre was graciously celebrated with a video tribute earlier than accepting his namesake award.

Here, in her personal phrases, as advised to Rolling Stone’s Mankaprr Conteh, Barnes displays on Dre’s newest victory, the violence she says she skilled at his fingers, her life earlier than and after the life-changing incident, and nonetheless loving hip-hop.  

Everybody needs to separate the artwork from the artist, and generally that’s simply not potential. Most folks and not using a information of [Dr. Dre’s] historical past are going to say, “Oh, he should deserve that. He should be such a terrific particular person for them to place an award in his identify.” But they named this award after an abuser. It wasn’t only a one or two-time factor; these are selections. The first time, it’s possibly a mistake. The second time, okay. The third time, it’s a selection. I’m not saying he is identical particular person now, although. I don’t know. I’m not round him anymore. I haven’t talked to him. But to call an award after somebody with that sort of historical past within the music trade, you may as effectively name it the “Ike Turner Award.”

What I discover most irritating about your complete factor is that [Dre and I] can’t appear to coexist in the identical area. I regarded on the Grammys’ tribute to the fiftieth anniversary of Hip-Hop — which was stunning — and I used to be pondering, “I’d’ve been there. I’d’ve been there on the purple carpet. I’d’ve been interviewing a few of these artists.” In truth, I’ve interviewed most of them earlier than.

However, they should hold one among us out of sight whereas they’re honoring one other as a result of one among us makes the opposite look unhealthy. He stated it himself within the documentary The Defiant Ones: I’m a “blemish” on who he’s as a person. Well, what do you do with a blemish? There’s a complete trade created — skincare strains and nutritional vitamins and rituals — to do away with blemishes. And, in a way, there’s a complete community to maintain me hidden.

I shouldn’t should endure by not with the ability to exist in an area and in a tradition that not solely did I develop up in however that I contributed to in a significant approach. Is this about his emotions? Is this about his legacy? Or is it about ego and poisonous masculinity?  What is it about? My entire historical past has been erased — as an artist, as a music journalist, and as a tv host. All some folks see is the [1991] incident. Whereas with him, it’s like, “Look in any respect the shiny stuff over right here! Look, we’ve obtained awards, we’ve obtained colleges, we’ve obtained headphones, we’ve obtained the Super Bowl, we’ve obtained productions, motion pictures. Don’t have a look at that


I’ve been attempting to get a documentary made since 2015. I needed it to air this 12 months for the Hip-Hop 50. I used to be the primary younger Black lady to host a present on Fox as a brand new community. It was even earlier than In Living Color obtained there. I used to be 19 once I obtained the present and 20 when it first aired, and there’s lots of historic content material in that. I’ve talked to everyone you’ll be able to consider after which some. Now, with the documentary I need on it, I’ve been met with silence or individuals who say they’re however finally ghost me. There’s completely no good motive why this documentary shouldn’t have been made. It would’ve undoubtedly helped me out of homelessness. Every couple of months, I’m crowdfunding, attempting to avoid wasting the archives of the present from being offered at public sale as a result of I can’t afford to pay the storage invoice. If I had one Netflix verify, that historical past could be preserved eternally.

The blacklisting I’ve confronted nonetheless feels energetic, and it took me a very long time to just accept that. For the longest time, I used to be like, “That’s not what’s occurring. It’s not that.” But it’s undoubtedly that. I see it. I’ve had loads of individuals who will assist me privately, however they don’t need it to be publicly identified due to their enterprise associations, dealings, or no matter.

It’s at all times and principally been Black ladies — journalists and writers — which have at all times had my again with reference to what occurred to me. Dream Hampton was the primary particular person to put in writing about my incident and present me wonderful assist. She was so fearless about what she needed to say. She stated it in The Source. She stated it in The Village Voice. She was wonderful. She nonetheless is wonderful. Pearl Cleage additionally wrote a ebook known as Deals with the Devil and Other Reasons to Riot, and she or he talked about me. It might have been the primary ebook to take action. It was wonderful as a result of she knew proper after the incident, so what she stated was fairly highly effective.

But aside from that, so far as folks in hip-hop and the neighborhood, the assist just isn’t there. Someone had just lately stated that “hip-hop wasn’t good to Dee. Hip-hop might need been good to different folks, but it surely wasn’t good to Dee.” And I used to be unhappy as a result of it’s true, however on the similar time, I nonetheless adore it regardless. I nonetheless adore it as a result of there’s nonetheless rather more to like than to hate. What occurred to me was unusual and extremely private. It wasn’t about enterprise. Lots of people assume what he did was about Pump It Up!, and I’m engaged on my memoir now to essentially get into lots of the soiled particulars. This was a private factor. 

When I consider what atonement appears like for Dre and me, I consider a missed alternative the place we may have sat down collectively on digital camera and hashed it out. I feel that will’ve begun a journey of therapeutic; he’s coming nose to nose with me, and I’m coming nose to nose with him. I’ve put out the olive department. Black ladies and style, you understand how we’re. It wasn’t accepted. But I feel that’s going to be the one factor to show the tide, so to talk — if we’ve got a come-to-Jesus second in particular person, in public. Because every part occurred publicly, it’s obtained to have closure publicly.


I’m not the unhealthy man, however I’m made into the villain — very very like how they did Megan Thee Stallion in the course of the trial towards her attacker, Tory Lanez. I watched what occurred to my little sister Megan, and it simply was heartbreaking to me as a result of we’ve got not modified in all these years. 

My monetary life is simply now stabilizing. I used to be unhoused for 3 years. I simply moved into a spot, and it was arduous. It was actually, actually arduous. I obtained evicted in 2019, after which that adopted me on my credit score, and I couldn’t get one other place. But I didn’t even have the cash to get one other place. The cash from my 2019 GoFundMe simply wound up serving to me survive these three years of being unhoused… barely. Because by the second 12 months, the cash was gone. Now, I’m lastly getting my ft moist once more, again within the sport as a journalist. It’s been just a little tough begin as a result of I’m just a little rusty, but it surely’s getting higher. The extra I do it, the higher I’ll really feel — assured once more.

: .