Ruthless is exactly what it was. The Michel’le who survived to tell her very own story today is no longer the young, sweet, and innocent Michel’le she once was. This Michel’le refuses to be written off like she wasn’t apart of the history. Not only was she apart of the history of legendary rap group N.W.A. She was apart of the inhuman abuse and the hurt and agony that unfortunately came along with it; from World Class Wreckin’ Cru, Ruthless Records, and lastly Death Row. After watching Surviving Compton a few times and analyzing the story over and over and over again, I hurt right along with her. I felt every punch, every tear, and every fake smile she gave. Ultimately she hid behind a smile that was forced by so much fear and severe deep pain. It’s amazing how such a dream could cost so much less like a death sentence. What were supposed to be the happiest times were the saddest instead.
This past Saturday, Lifetime aired Michel’le’s Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge, & Michel’le and I know much like myself the audience was not prepared for what our eyes would see. Hearing the rumors for years of the toxic relationship they had was nothing in comparison to seeing it. The roles (played by Rhyon Nicole Brown, Curtis Hamilton, and more) were portrayed so effortlessly real that you couldn’t help but to feel every moment. The intensity of the film was at an all time high and has to be record-breaking as one of the best biopics that has hit the screen.
As a fan of Dr. Dre and his music for years, having something in my heart for him to, and even a mere crush on him in my day, I was left feeling deeply dark about him; left in total disbelief that a life could be so lifeless to be so cruel and emotionally, verbally, and physically abusive to a woman. It’s pure prove that many do fall victim to their circumstances, meaning the way you are raised and what you see and what you are told as a adolescent has almost everything to do with your adulthood in many ways. However, it doesn’t have to. It doesn’t have to be you.
It was not a fault of hers that she did fall victim; she felt like this is the way it’s supposed to be because that is all that was conveyed to her as a child. She never knew what love really was and not until she found herself she began to see. It took rehabilitation from the pain pills she was addicted to that numbed her reality to bring her to the light. Although, she had many signs and warnings before with Dre and Suge Knight, she was blind to them because she felt like she finally had a way out of South Central/Compton. In a world full of violence, gangs, and guns in those mean streets; Michel’le was finally on top as the reigning Queen of R&B and Rap in that era.
Suge, similar to Dre, swooned his way in, but she felt his evil before she was indebted. She again ignored the signs and pursued a what was believed to be a real marriage and playing the Bonnie to his Clyde while he was in and out of trouble dragging down her spirit right along with him. The best thing out of the fame and poison were the children, Marcel Young and Bailei Knight. The lives that were put here for reasons, although by Dre and Suge, have a chance to live differently. Much like more than what was once their mother’s circumstances.
Leading up to the biopic, Dre released a statement in 2015 apologizing to the women he has hurt and now opposing the actuality of the film and the credibility of the 90’s songstress. Amongst those women was journalist, Dee Barnes, who also felt the brunt of Dr. Dre’s fist. Michel’le had every right to tell her story. Listening to her music now you can hear the distress and misery (although smothered), whereas before you knew her work as simply undeniable and classic. Knowing all this opens up more truth. I hope much like she does that anyone that takes a personal relation to the film, whether subject to alcohol, drugs, or abuse, get help and get out.
If you didn’t get to see the film or the “Behind the Headlines” that aired after the biopic, here is an interview with Michel’le when she explains everything. Be sure to check out Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge, & Michel’le!
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