Ebie Wright, the daughter of late gangsta rap mogul Eric “Eazy-E” Wright, may be petite, pretty, and most remembered for her MTV My Super Sweet 16 episode — but don’t underestimate her fearlessness.
“I’m Eazy-E’s daughter,” she says matter-of-factly as she sits next to her mother Tracey Jernagin at hip Hollywood coffee shop Rise and Grind on a Thursday afternoon.
Ebie is annoyed about the backlash late former N.W.A manager Jerry Heller received after the release of Straight Outta Compton, a movie that depicted Heller as the villain at the center of the N.W.A’s demise.
Heller passed away in August. “I think it definitely took a toll on him,” Ebie says, referring to the criticism she deemed unwarranted. “Social media is so powerful. People are so opinionated. For Jerry, he was older. I’m younger,” she adds. Ebie, who describes Heller as “like another grandfather,” is ready to set the record straight on her father’s story.
Ebie and her mother actually like the Straight Outta Compton movie — Ebie even feels that no one could have played Eazy better than actor Jason Mitchell — but they don’t feel that the film told enough of Eazy’s story. So Ebie, Jernagin, and Erica Wright (Ebie’s sister and Eazy-E’s eldest daughter) have teamed up to produce a tell-all documentary about Eazy-E, A Ruthless Scandal: No More Lies, that they hope will fill in the gaps. They recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to help finance the project’s pre-production.
Ebie’s brother and Eazy’s son, Lil Eazy-E, however, is not one of the doc’s producers. “I talk to my brother all of the time,” Ebie says. “But me and him don’t see eye-to-eye on a lot of things.”
The project will include investigative reporting, “not just a couple of interviews,” Jernagin asserts. Their research team has a tough job. “It’s a lot,” she adds. “It’s very old. There is a paper trail but it’s very difficult, very sensitive information.”
The most sensitive information pertains to the events surrounding Eazy’s death. According to reports, Eazy died from complications from AIDS. Ebie and Jernagin believe otherwise.
When asked if she thinks her father was murdered, Ebie quips, “I do. I even posted something on my Instagram. All this stuff with gun violence and police brutality, it’s very obvious. But that’s not how everybody is murdered… With Eazy-E, you don’t know. It wasn’t obvious. It was a smoke screen.”
Former Death Row Records head Suge Knight, who feuded with Eazy-E to release Dr. Dre from his Ruthless Records contract, fueled rumors that he was involved with Eazy’s death when he appeared on an episode of Jimmy Kimmel in 2003 and joked about dying from being injected with blood from someone with AIDS. Knight referred to the process as “that slow death, that Eazy-E thang.”
Jernagin and Ebie won’t share any of their research and are not making any claims, but Jernagin offers, “If Suge was just joking around, then there’s nothing in our investigation that ties him to the murder.”
Ebie feels an urgency to tell the story of her father, who died in 1995 when she was a toddler. “You’ll watch me go back on this journey,” she explains. “I start to get really emotional talking about my dad as far as dealing with his death. I really haven’t dealt with it. I’m going to face it for the first time. My ultimate goal is to bring closure. You’ve heard rumors, conspiracy theories, whatever; it’s time to lay it all out there.”
Despite receiving early interest to produce the documentary that has been in the works for 10 years, Ebie and Jernagin have opted to start things independently. “Actually, we have had offers,” Jernagin explains, “but Kickstarter is so cool to us because people could go through the process with us.” She adds that the final documentary “is not going to be an independent project.” Their vision is to see it developed into a six- to 10-episode series, like The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, with a format similar to the Kurt Cobain documentary Soaked in Bleach.
Ebie also plans to ask Tomica Woods-Wright, Eazy-E’s widow who controls his estate, to be involved in the project. “We will ask Tomica,” Ebie says. Jernagin interjects: “Our documentary is in no way advertised or promoted it as an ‘against Tomica’ thing. This is about Eazy-E.”