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When films reach a certain level of success, they often have to deal with backlash. However, in the wake of Straight Outta Compton rising to the top of the box office charts, founding N.W.A member Dr. Dre is conducting a Master class on how to handle controversy… and quickly.
Shortly after F. Gary Gray’s musical biopic Straight Outta Compton opened at No. 1 and banked north of $60 million, reports started coming out from women in Dr. Dre’s past who had been physically abused and victimized by the rapper. Dee Barnes and Michel’le, ex-girlfriends of the iconic rapper who were part of the misogynistic culture that was prevalent in rap at the time, have spoken out this week about their experiences not being part of the final film. But instead of letting the controversy fester and threaten to overwhelm the success of the film, Dre has addressed it head on, telling 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."
And that, everyone, is how you stand up to haters and squash a potential uproar before it happens. This is a mature step by Dre, who has spent years trying to establish his presence as a family man and a loving husband. Does it fly in the face of the persona that he once put out there in N.W.A and in the band’s music? Does it make what Dre did right? No. But it puts it into perspective, categorizes it as an event that happened in the past, and backs up the claim that when it came to Straight Outta Compton, it just wasn’t a component that the director and his producers felt was part of the narrative they were choosing to tell.
Straight Outta Compton is heading into its second week, and by most accounts, is expected to triumph over the likes of American Ultra and Hitman: Agent 47 to win the weekend once again. And seeing as how Dre stepped up to the plate and addressed his past mistakes makes me want to go out of my way and support his film all the more, this weekend. Do you agree?