The Grammys Prepare to Honor Dr. Dre — Not Everyone Thinks That’s Such a Great Idea

As the Recording Academy and Grammy Awards prepare to honor Dr. Dre, difficult questions over domestic violence and women’s advocacy are emerging.

Just last week, the Recording Academy made a surprising announcement. As part of its splashy Grammy Week in 2020, the organization is preparing a high-profile award for Dr. Dre, aka Andre Young. On January 22nd, Dre will be fêted at Village Studios in West Los Angeles for the Recording Academy’s 13th annual ‘Producers & Engineers Wing’ of the broader pre-Grammy celebration week.

“Dre breaks boundaries and inspires music creators across every genre,” said Deborah Dugan, the incoming President and CEO of the Recording Academy.  “His evolution as a producer solidifies him as a leader of the pack within our industry, and we watch in amazement as he continues to shape the future of music.”

Unfortunately, Dre has also broken a few other things — which aren’t so inspirational.  Back in the early-90s, Dre brutally beat up then-MTV veejay Dee Barnes at a nightclub in Los Angeles, then bragged about the incident.  The ugly attack was further confirmed in court papers, with Dre eventually settling charges brought by Barnes.

“When Dre was trying to choke me on the floor of the women’s room in Po Na Na Souk, a thought flashed through my head: ‘Oh my god. He’s trying to kill me,'” Barnes would later write.  “He had me trapped in that bathroom; he held the door closed with his leg. It was surreal. ‘Is this happening?’ I thought.”

Barnes, who still suffers injuries from that attack — “My life changed that night. I suffer from horrific migraines that started only after the attack”— also pointed to other alleged incidents of violence by Dre.  But most stingingly, Barnes questioned why the attack against her wasn’t documented in the film Straight Outta Compton.

“Dre, who executive produced the movie along with his former group mate Ice Cube, should have owned up to the time he punched his labelmate Tairrie B twice at a Grammys party in 1990. He should have owned up to the black eyes and scars he gave to his collaborator Michel’le. And he should have owned up to what he did to me. That’s realityThat’s reality rap.”

The omissions were certainly glaring, though Dre eventually apologized for the incidents.

Still, the selection of Dre by the Recording Academy, a group reeling from serious accusations of discrimination against women, seems ill-advised.  Multiple executives — both male and female — have expressed some reservations about the decision to Digital Music News, especially now.  None were willing to speak out against it publicly, however.

Dugan herself is taking over a broken Recording Academy, with former president Neil Portnow ushered out for telling women to ‘Step Up’ if they wanted to win more Grammy Awards.  Strangely, the Recording Academy is remaining completely quiet on this one.

Nathan Rillo of Finn Partners, which handles PR for the Recording Academy, declined to even comment on the selection.  Rillo is routinely offering statements to DMN on everything from the CASE Act to the Portnow himself, who Rillo adamantly insists wasn’t fired.  On this one, it’s crickets, however.

More as this develops.


24 Responses

  1. Luke W

    Peeps need to quit NARAS. It’s out of touch more than ever, traveling in the wrong direction. Honoring Dre is a perfect example of why paying dues to NARAS is folly.

  2. Make Me A Bird

    I want to believe in reform and recovery from bad behaviour
    Then I listen to Michelle K’s account of the beatings she endured by Dre and I cant

    • James

      You mean like Mi’chelle? Who CLEARLY continue to stay even though Dre gave her “5” black eyes? But then moves on to a WORSE dude (Suge Knight)…and has a kid by him too?? AND married him! I dont condone what Dre did because it is an awful thing to do BUT….see my point. You gotta read more than just “he hit me” and not look at the fact that she “stayed”…had a kid by him. “Left”…and went to…married…and had a kid by a dude that she KNEW was even WORSE. Dee Barnes too…went to court to settle for “MONEY”. NOT lock his ass up. Money should NEVER oversee whats right. So now they all mad because they werent in or mentioned in Straight Outta Compton. Well guess what…not nare one was part of N.W.A….they were part of Ruthless/Death Row…a damn VeeJay for MTV. So no…you’re NOT in the movie. Lol! Neither was Arabian Prince, CPO, and like 8 others who were part of the ORIGINAL N.W.A. And The Posse group. Get over it!

      • Nicole

        James, you clearly need a better understanding of victims of abuse and abusers who are predators. It’s not uncommon for a victim to go from a bad situation to a worse situation or stay in a situation no matter how many black eyes they’ve received. Abusers prey on vulnerable women and will use it against them to gain their trust and then they manipulate and gaslight and threaten. You have no idea how Suge Knight could had fucked with her mental well being to gain her trust. You comment is ignorant and ill informed. I was in a semi-abusive relationship and then wound up with someone even worse who brought me to the brink of death multiple times. Most victims of abuse also experience Stockholm Syndrome or are too terrified to leave because what the abuser will do if we leave would be worse than what we are enduring. Also, do some research and you’d quickly understand why they settled in court. Convictions are not that common for domestic violence or rape or sexual assault. Especially in the 90s. There was still the attitude that domestic violence issues should be handled by the couple and was a home matter. Stop being a sympathizer for abusers and stop blaming victims for what their abusers put them through.

        • Anon 9

          I wouldn’t try some like to excuse abuse because they are themselves abusers.

  3. Ted

    NARAS is a music industry group and they would be honoring him for his contributions to music, right? They’re not promoting his domestic violence.

  4. Truth.

    Those bitches had it coming. Get over it. You want to play in a man’s industry and at times physically act like one then you may get dealt with like one. It’s unfortunate but it happens.

  5. Larry.

    Why don’t we give these women retroactive equal rights and just call it a fight between two males. That’s how they want it right? Therefore it would not be abuse. Women are going to cry and complain about everything until every man carries and reacts like the woman herself. How do they think that shit is going to work? Dumb bitches. SMH. FUCK #metoo

  6. Very Sad

    Deborah Dugan you are going the wrong way fast, you need to fix this one.

    Dr Dre celebrates violence against women

    All of us need to re-consider the NARAS dues

  7. Quills

    If I was Dre. I would say send me the award. Make music. Enjoy my billion, and just stay away from all these critics. Smh. He can’t be celebrated for anything. Smgdh

  8. SADF Vanilla

    I agree, females have to STOP and let people heal, DrDre already apologize for what he has done, now females STOP holding another BLACK man down and let him live and be recognize for good music and the producer he is, STOP blocking his blessing because if it wasn’t meant GOD would NOT be giving this to him, GOD bless him with TALENT and he use it, now where not saying he was perfect as a young guy growing up mistakes was made he regret and paid for them now it’s time to let him LIVE, Congratulations Dr.Dre

  9. Cancel Dre

    Would you give Harvey Weinstein an Award?

    Answer: NO, you wouldn’t.

    But what Dre did is 100X worse than anything Weinstein did .

  10. Jay Cee?

    Congrats to one of the best to ever do it…..#DreDay!!???

  11. restlelss94110

    One of the greatest artists of the 20th century and you are talking this nonsense? What does it have to do with his art? Answer? Nothing. This is hysteric nonsense coming from idiots writing for this site. How dare you?

  12. Mike

    Keep beating that dead horse, Paul. Another Dr. Dre nothing burger story.

  13. Pissed Off

    Honoring him is a fucking outrage. Fuck NARAS. Fuck the Grammys.

  14. 9

    Don’t forget MLK’s pension for hookers, adultery, and community rabble rousing. Better take a look at him too Lefties.

    The Left will eat itself eventually and so welcome to Cancel-Culture. Moral Purity: are you?

  15. James

    Paul, get some sources to come forward or I have to believe that this is just you self-righteously beating this same very dead horse. You tired it when he got the job at Beats and you tried it again when Beats merged with Apple. It’s tired and you look like a hater.