Almost a quarter century after Dr. Dre brutally assaulted Dee Barnes at a record release party—in which time Barnes’s media career and public image took serious hits while Dre’s successes only grew—Barnes made her first on-air statements about the assault in an exclusive interview with The Huffington Post.
In Monday’s interview, which you can see here, Barnes spoke to The Huffington Post’s Kevin Powell about the night of the assault, saying that she still endures migranes from the "painful and traumatic experience." She also talked about the aftershocks of the assault, including the emotional grief she feels when she hears songs like Dre and Eminem’s "Guilty Conscience," which make light of the situation:
Somehow [the assault] was reduced to a joke, I ain’t no joke. I’m not. And domestic violence is no joke. It’s a serious issue.
Speaking on the immediate affect on her career, she talked about girls who would reach out to her after watching Barnes’s show "Pump It Up" and seeing her wear makeup to cover her bruises and use sedatives to deal with the pain:
I had young girls watching, [ages] 13 and 14 so I got emails from young girls saying, "You were my first experience with domestic violence."… I was too busy trying to survive. It was vicious.
Dre’s assault on Barnes, as well as his abuse of ex-girlfriend Michel’le, re-entered national headlines in the run-up to the record-breaking N.W.A. biopic "Straight Outta Compton," which Dre co-produced. Barnes wrote pieces for Gawker on how the film omitted that history, which eventually prompted an apology from Dre generally aimed at women he had hurt when he was younger—an apology that Barnes accepted, but Michel’le didn’t.
Click here to see The Huffington Post’s full interview with Dee Barnes.