BY LANWO A.
On the 14th of August 2015, the biopic “Straight Outta Compton” was released, which went on to the box office grossing over $60 million in the first week and eventually well more than $110 million. The movie is set in the late to mid-1980s to early 1990s, and chronicles the lives of artists: Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and Eazy E. (who died in 1995), their ascent in the music industry, formation of the Niggas With Attitude Label, their split, drug and gang activities among others, among other Compton adventures. This movie, however, involved subtle and not so subtle sexist and misogynist themes, especially misogyny toward black women, otherwise known as Misogynoir. These instances are considered in the six points below:
- Derogatory Lyrics
The strongly worded lyrics of many of the group’s tracks depicted contempt for women and encouraged violence towards black women. At the famous show in Detroit where they had a showdown with the police, Eazy E rapped: “…what about the bitch that got shot, fuck her, You think I give a damn about a bitch?, I ain’t a sucker…”. At yet another show with Dr. Dre on the mix, Ice Cube rapped: “ …The dope man said Cluck, I don’t give a shit if your girl goes down and suck my dick, the guy tried to choke her…Nigga didn’t care, she ain’t nothing but a smoker.” These lyrics among many others were highly patriarchal coupled with the indiscriminate use of words like “bitch” and “hoe”.
This was another recurrent theme in the movie, women were viewed and treated as objects of use at pool parties, an example is the Eazy-E “wild and wet” parties where many girls are seen scantily clad or even naked, dancing randomly, and available to provide sexual favors to members of the NWA crew. It is also a common scene during studio sessions to have hotties who are hardly referred to throughout the scene and have about as much importance as the décor.
- #Bye Felicia
Remember this hashtag that took over twitter? Well, this was from another shamefully misogynoir part of the movie “Straight Outta Compton,” where the NWA crew are having a wild party in a hotel suite with lots of alcohol and sex, of course, and then two huge black guys show up at Dre’s door with a gun and ask for a girl named Felicia. Then Dre bangs the door shut, and goes to call Ice Cube, they find Felicia fellating Eazy E, they then pick up their own guns, and take Felicia back to the door, they mock her boyfriend and his homie by telling him his girl is performing oral sex on someone else, and chase them away, but it gets sour when Felicia is pulled by her hair and thrown out of the suite, she’s then told “bye Felicia” and the door is shut against her. This scene depicted very high disregard for female sexuality, sentiment, or pride.
- Noticeable Omissions
One of the major characters on whose life the movie was based, Dr. Dre, had a history of assaulting women in his past: this included major incidents such as brutally beating up journalist Dee Barnes at a 1991 record release party hosted at the Po Na Na Souk nightclub. Other women he has beaten in the past include: his former girlfriend and baby mama Michel’le (Michelle Touissant) and Tairrie B, who was a former record label mate, and none of these incidents were depicted in the movie which shows that such sensitive incidents were of little or no importance to them.
- No major female roles
Except for Dr. Dre’s mum who appeared only twice throughout the movie, and Eazy E’s girlfriend Tomica who at best could have been said to play a supporting role, there were no significant roles for any women in “Straight Outta Compton.” Apart from the pool girls and Dr. Dre’s baby mama who only appeared less than three times, it was basically a masculine dominated movie.
- General Disrespect for Women
There are various scenes where vulgarity and disrespect are exhibited against women, two instances are: at the beginning of the movie where Eazy-E goes to get some money, he is offered alcohol, and he insults the girl who brings it to him. Another occurs where Ice Cube is about to be arrested in front of his home, his parents try to intervene, and a policeman waved a finger in his mother’s face while swearing at her.
Photo credit: The Movie – Straight Outta Compton