Why Is Dr. Dre Getting Another Award When We All Know About His Dark Past?

Photo: Jamie McCarthy (Getty Images)
Photo: Jamie McCarthy (Getty Images)
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Andre “Dr. Dre” Young is one of the most polarizing figures in the entertainment industry. There’s no denying his impact on the evolution of the music business. But despite the length and influence of his career as a rapper/producer, all of these accomplishments are overshadowed by his history of violence against women. With the Compton, Calif. native set to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, we’re once again wondering if the art can be separated from the person.

As previously reported by The Root, he pled no contest in the 1991 assault and battery of music journalist Dee Barnes, resulting in a $2,500 fine and a two-year probation sentence with community service. Barnes has detailed how she’s continued to suffer from “horrific migraines” due to the assault.

In court documents filed at the end of 2020 and obtained by People, Dre’s ex-wife, Nicole Young, accused him of multiple instances of abuse over the course of their relationship, including punching her “in the head/face” in 1999 and holding a gun to her head in 2000 and 2001.

“Andre has verbally and emotionally decimated my personhood to the extent that I currently suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome,” she said in the court documents.

Other women in Dre’s life have also alleged that he abused them, leading many to wonder why he’s still held in such high esteem in the music business. The simple answer is money. Through his accomplishments as a rapper/producer and his business investments, the “Forgot About Dre” artist has amassed a large fortune estimated at $500 million. When you’re that rich, you can buy all the respectability you want.

Dre is responsible for some of the most influential tracks in music history. As a founding member of the groundbreaking rap group N.W.A. he helped introduce the world to west coast hip-hop. He followed that up with the game-changing album “The Chronic” and his chart-topping productions for artists like Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent and Eminem.

However, for the women still recovering from his alleged abuse, none of this erases their pain and trauma. In fact, we imagine seeing him lauded as a trailblazer and philanthropist makes it worse.

Realistically, we’ll never get all the toxic people out of Hollywood. If we took away all the stars of problematic artists, there’d only be like three left on Hollywood Blvd. However, where Dr. Dre is concerned, we cannot let someone with a documented history of alleged violence against Black women buy his way out of accountability and portray himself as an upstanding role model.

At some point, we need to be honest about what Dr. Dre’s real legacy is.

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