As Straight Outta Compton continues racking up millions at the box office, the film is not without its problems.
While the movie has been hailed as “powerful” and “moving” by many, including of Oprah Winfrey and Ava DuVernay, some have questioned why N.W.A’s rampant misogyny, and the vicious 1991 assault of hip hop journalist Dee Barnes, didn’t make it into the film.
When questioned about the omissions, Straight Outta Compton director F. Gary Gray said he didn’t want to include a “side story,” but instead “focus on the story that was pertinent to our main characters.”
But apparently a scene describing Barnes’ assault was in the original Straight Outta Compton script.
Gerrick Kennedy of the Los Angeles Times reports:
Barnes’ run-in with Dre, however, was included in an earlier version of Jonathan Herman’s screenplay for the film.
In the scene, the fictional Dre, “eyes glazed, drunk, with an edge of nastiness, contempt” (per noted from the script) spots Barnes at the party and approaches her.
“Saw that [expletive] you did with Cube. Really had you under his spell, huh? Ate up everything he said. Let him diss us. Sell us out.”
“I just let him tell his story,” Barnes’ character retorts, “That’s what I do. It’s my job.”
“I thought we were cool, you and me,” Dre fires back. “But you don’t give a [expletive]. You just wanna laugh at N.W.A, make us all look like fools.”
The conversation escalates, Barnes throws her drink in Dre’s face before he attacks her “flinging her around like a rag-doll, while she screams, cries, begs for him to stop.”
It’s one of a handful of scenes that doesn’t make it into the film. Director F. Gary Gray has said the original script was a lengthy 150 pages and the film’s original cut was three and a half hours long.
While Herman’s screenplay takes liberties with the truth (i.e. Barnes didn’t attack Dre), it would have been interesting to see how the film dealt with the vicious assault. Sadly, though, Gray considered it a “side story” and didn’t pursue it.
Thankfully, Barnes–and Dr. Dre’s other victims–are speaking out for themselves.