A recently published interview on HipHopDX.com revealed that trailblazing hip-hop journalist Dee Barnes has officially found herself destitute and without home. Barnes is most notable for two very polarizing reasons: for being the first woman journalist in hip-hop with a broadcast television show as host of Pump It Up! and for being viciously attacked by then NWA affiliate and beloved hip-hop mogul Dr. Dre.
While Dr. Dre only recently admitted he was “out of his f*cking mind” for his actions against Barnes on an episode of HBO’s The Defiant Ones, Barnes’ violent assault at the hands of the superproducer has often over the years been the target of misogynoir and cheap ridicule. Even Eminem made light of her experience, diminishing Barnes to a moment in time: “You really gonna take advice from the guy that slapped Dee Barnes,” he rapped on “Guilty Conscious.”
In a hazardous turn of events, nearly three decades after the attack (a trauma that has resulted in perpetual migraines to date), Barnes is exercising complete transparency with her public, speaking out and asking for help as she faces homelessness.
“Right now, I am officially homeless. My goal with the campaign is to regain stability, which is imperative for survivors of any trauma,” she told HipHopDX on the subject of her GoFundMe page. “I had never asked for public help before, but I then remembered a long time ago while I was going through the assault trial in 1991 people were sending me checks for my legal fees. I never cashed any of them – not one – but knowing I had that support kept me strong enough to continue to face each court date.”
According to the same interview, Barnes has had no contact with Dr. Dre, but offered some choice words in light of the social and political climate plaguing Hollywood:
“As far as the subject matter of my past history with Dr. Dre and my current situation, I will say any time a woman tells her account of abuse from a public figure, there is always extreme backlash. There are too many examples of this — the Hollywood actresses who found themselves jobless after taking a stand against [Harvey] Weinstein, the women who gave up their dreams of comedy after incidents with comic Louis C.K.”
Since the interview went live on Monday (March 25), few members of and around the hip-hop community have taken to social media to express words of sympathy and support. Hip-hop legend Chuck D doubled down on his solidarity when he took to Twitter in a clear-cut call to the very community Barnes helped to expand and continues to support, and singled out those privileged with financial wealth.
Others, like Hollywood actor and comedian Jon Cryer, echoed Chuck D’s sentiments, crediting Barnes for exposing rap music to people who sonically benefited from the culture.
Following those comments is a slew of other Tweets that throws down the gauntlet, specifically at Dr. Dre, demanding he step up to the plate.
Barnes is a reminder of what women have often been subjected to throughout hip-hop history, and at the hands of their male counterparts, be it physical danger, career derailment, or worse, both.
“Women are punished first by the crime committed against them and then for holding abusers accountable for their actions and speaking out against domestic violence and sexual assault,” she said. “Survivors should be able to hold people in positions of power accountable for their actions without losing their own power. Time's up."
To help support Dee Barnes, visit here.