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Hip Hop Mogul Dr. Dre Apologizes to Women He's Hurt: 'I Deeply Regret What I Did'

Dr. Dre attends the premiere of the film <em>Straight Outta Compton</em> in Los Angeles.
Jason Kempin
Getty Images
Dr. Dre attends the premiere of the film Straight Outta Compton in Los Angeles.

Hip hop mogul Dr. Dre was enjoying one of the best weeks of his 30-year career.

A biopic about his groundbreaking rap group N.W.A., Straight Outta Compton brought in more than $60 million at the box office last weekend. His first solo album in more than a decade-and-a-half Compton spent its first week in the #2 spot on the Billboard charts.

A week later, the hit-maker has issued an apology for the more repugnant parts of his past.

In a statement issued to the New York Times, Dr. Dre writes:

"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."

The rumblings about Dr. Dre and his abusive treatment of women are nothing new. They've been around for decades. But with the success of his current projects, not to mention last year's $3 billion dollar sale of the Beats company he helped build, have opened him up to renewed scrutiny.

The Times spoke with three women — hip hop journalist Dee Barnes, 90's R&B singer Michel'le who was romantically involved with the rapper and Tairrie B, a former label mate. All three women give their accounts of how they suffered abuse at the hands of Dr. Dre.

Earlier this week, Barnes wrote up her own account for Gawker which gives details from a 1991 encounter when she said Dr. Dre "straddled me and beat me mercilessly."

"That event isn't depicted in Straight Outta Compton, but I don't think it should have been, either. The truth is too ugly for a general audience. I didn't want to see a depiction of me getting beat up, just like I didn't want to see a depiction of Dre beating up Michel'le, his one-time girlfriend who recently summed up their relationship this way: 'I was just a quiet girlfriend who got beat on and told to sit down and shut up.' "

"But what should have been addressed is that it occurred. When I was sitting there in the theater, and the movie's timeline skipped by my attack without a glance, I was like, 'Uhhh, what happened?' Like many of the women that knew and worked with N.W.A., I found myself a casualty of Straight Outta Compton's revisionist history."

In the same statement to the Times, Dr. Dre said the following:

"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."

As Business Insider reports, Dr. Dre has said he will donate all proceeds from his album Compton to a children's arts center in the city of Compton.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Brakkton Booker is a National Desk reporter based in Washington, DC.