Straight Outta Beating Up Women

Ken AshfordPopular Culture, Race, Women's IssuesLeave a Comment

I’m looking forward to seeing the N.W.A. bio-pic “Straight Outta Compton”, but I’m not surprised that the former N.W.A. members deal with the misogyny issue by, well, not acknowledging it.  Ice Cube recently was asked about it and he said that he doesn’t understand why “upstanding ladies” would come to the defense of the “bitches” and “hos” referred to in the group’s rap music.  Sadly, I think that misses the point, since the music talks about murdering and raping “bitches” and “hos”.  I think even “upstanding ladies” would agree with me: that’s still not okay.  And let’s not forget that Dr. Dre virtually ended the career of Dee Barnes (“Pump the jam, pump it up”) after beating her to a bloody pulp.

I expect the movie to say important things, and it certainly is timely given the national focus on police violence and race.  But my understanding is that women barely appear in the movie except as mothers, wives, and you guessed it, hos — which is misogynistic in its own way (the film’s producers include Dr. Dre and Ice Cube).  Too bad.  It almost makes me wish that they would put an asterisk in the corner of the screen along with statistics about domestic violence, particularly violence perpetrated against black women.