Beat(ing)s By Dre: Why Powerful People Get Away With Wrongdoing

by Joanna Rondon

In the summer of 1993, there was no better soundtrack to my life than Dr. Dre’s The Chronic. It didn’t matter that I was a geeky girl with braces who dreamed of one day becoming a writer; "Nuthin’ but a 'G' Thang" was my sh*t.

Over the next decade, countless other hits by Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre denoted good times for me and my girlfriends. And, of course, if it meant getting a chance to see my hip-hop idols in concert, I couldn't wait to tear through my allowance.

When “Straight Outta Compton” memes started popping up all over Instagram last week, I was curious to see what kind of reviews the movie had garnered, in an attempt to drag my boyfriend to the theaters.

In my search, I came across several articles denouncing the movie’s failure to acknowledge NWA’s history of violence against women.

At first, I was outraged. There was no way one of my favorite rappers could be guilty of treating women like rag dolls, much less pretend like it never happened. As I read on, though, I felt embarrassed by how much I'd ignorantly idolized this man over the years.

“Why does this surprise you?” my boyfriend asked over dinner, as I told him about the articles. “People with money get away with worse, and no one gives a damn.”

I spent the remainder of my night in bed, reading about various NWA scandals, the most prominent being Dre assaulting then-hip-hop-journalist Dee Barnes in a club.

Clearly feeling no regrets, Dre revealed to Rolling Stone in 1991, “[If] somebody f*cks with me, I'm gonna f*ck with them.”

He referenced the incident on a joint track with Eminem years later.

His ex-girlfriend and R&B singer, Michel’le, also came out after the movie’s release and confessed to being beaten by the rapper and now-business-mogul on more than one occasion.

Michel’le recently told Huffington Post she was not impressed with his half-assed apology to the women he had physically wronged, herself included.

As a hip-hop lover and realist, it’s no surprise to me the genre often centers on dubious behavior like drug use and misogyny. But if a pop culture icon can get away with something this serious, completely unscathed, what does that say about us as a society?

For one, we’re forgiving as f*ck when it comes to celebrities and people in power, but also, we’re a bunch of hypocrites when convenience strikes.

Why aren’t more women outraged and demanding of a true apology and explanation? More importantly, why is this double standard still a thing in 2015, and how do we eradicate it for good?

Matthew Broderick kills two people while carelessly driving in Ireland and only comes off with a fine. Halle Berry has more hit-and-runs than successful movies, and she rides away with probations.

How would we feel if Dre kicked our sisters or mothers in a club, and he had his bouncers throw her outside like a pile of garbage once he was done? Would we be so forgiving then?

I don’t think so.

In a formal apology issued to the The New York Times on August 21, Dr. Dre apologized to the women he hurt and stated he “deeply regret[s]” what he did.

To me, this is simply a last-ditch effort to save face and come correct, especially after two decades of excuses and mostly radio silence. Yet, if people simply choose to look the other way while rolling down the street, sipping on gin and juice, it’ll be their sons who grow up and think beating women is no big deal.

Hey, Dre, if you’re feeling genuine remorse over your past “mistakes,” maybe you should put your money where your mouth is in an act of good faith. I have no doubt the public will have an easier time swallowing your bullsh*t if you donate a million or two to the battered women foundation of your choice, rather than issuing some apology you didn’t even write to a major news outlet and waiting for things to blow over.

Maybe, it’s time to wake up and demand people in power pay for their mistakes, just like regular people would if they committed them.

Maybe, it’s time to start idolizing the right people and kicking down the pedestals of those who evidently think they’re above it all.