It looks like Dee Barnes isn’t too thrilled about Dr. Dre being honored with the Global Impact Award at this year’s Grammys. The acclaimed journalist claims she was attacked by Dr. Dre back in 1991, during the time when she hosted Pump It Up! — a weekly hip-hop show that chronicled the growth of hip-hop into the art form it is today.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Barnes called out the Recording Academy in their decision in honoring Dre.
“Everybody wants to separate the art from the artist, and sometimes that’s just not possible,” she states. “Most people without a knowledge of [Dr. Dre’s] history are going to say, ‘Oh, he must deserve that. He must be such a great person for them to put an award in his name.’ But they named this award after an abuser.”
Barnes alleged Dr. Dre assaulted her at a record release party in Hollywood, following an episode of Pump It Up! that highlighted the tension between Dr. Dre’s N.W.A. and Ice Cube, who exited the group in 1989. While Barnes gives him the benefit of the doubt about the person he is now, she makes it very clear she isn’t happy.
“It wasn’t just a one or two-time thing; these are choices. The first time, it’s maybe a mistake. The second time, okay. The third time, it’s a choice. I’m not saying he is the same person now, though. I don’t know. I’m not around him anymore. I haven’t talked to him. But to name an award after someone with that type of history in the music industry, you might as well call it the Ike Turner Award.”
Barnes also brought up Dr. Dre’s own statements from The Defiant One’s documentary, where he says she’s a “blemish” on who he is as a man.
“Well, what do you do with a blemish?” she asks. “There’s a whole industry created—skincare lines and vitamins and rituals—to get rid of blemishes,” she continued. “And, in a sense, there’s a whole network to keep me hidden.”
It’s not only the Grammys where Barnes feels some type of way, it’s the Hip-Hop culture as a whole. While she had a great run in the 90s, she feels her image and brand have been tarnished because of the instances.
“I shouldn’t have to suffer by not being able to exist in a space and in a culture that not only did I grow up in but that I contributed to in a major way. Is this about his feelings? Is this about his legacy? Or is it about ego and toxic masculinity? What is it about? My whole history has been erased: as an artist, as a music journalist, and as a television host.”
To conclude, she brought up the missed opportunity that could have transpired, if she was able to sit down with Dr. Dre on camera and talk through their differences.
“I think that would’ve begun a journey of healing; he’s coming face to face with me, and I’m coming face to face with him. I’ve put out the olive branch. Black women and grace, you know how we are. It wasn’t accepted.”