As I watched her lying in the bed, stirring from sleep, happy that he had arrived home and giving him a slight smile—tears welled up in my eyes and I let out a whimper as he crawled on top of her and began relentlessly pummeling her face and shattering her self-esteem in the process. Yes, I’m talking about “Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge and Me.”
As I sat with my husband watching the Lifetime Biopic of Michel’le Toussaint, I thought, we’d each like to believe that we are far removed from domestic violence and that it doesn’t affect us or anyone we know. However, Michel’le is like many women we all know. I remember being 8 years old scrambling to the kitchen phone trying to dial 911 on the rotary dial without being detected because my step-father was in the master bedroom beating my Mom and her screams for her life woke me from my sleep.
I also had two friends who were victims of domestic violence. The first friend refused to stop dating a man who was cheating on her and ended up punched in the face (just like Michel’le) except she had her jaw wired shut. The other friend was intelligent, beautiful and very capable of caring for herself. She got married, moved out of state and went through the process of being emotionally, mentally, physically and financially abused. When we rescued her from New York (she fled there) she had nearly lost her voice because she had been screaming for her life and ended up with scabs on her vocal chords.
Many times when celebrities like Michel’le tell their stories people offer no sympathy. Why? They believe that because you have access to money, you can just GO. But pain is pain and abuse is abuse and where do you go with no support system? Where do you go when your Mother/Grandmother raise you telling you that “abuse” is just something that men do and you just have to try to be better? No amount of money will ever prepare you to wrap your mind around that. Big houses, national tours, wild pool parties with all the trimmings can still leave you feeling like there is no escape—even with a brand new birthday car parked outside.
I’ve heard people say, “I thought she was smarter than that!” “I thought she was too intelligent to let that happen to her!” What many forget is that abusers systematically brainwash their victims. They don’t prey on the “weak” they find someone, anyone and BREAK them. They don’t just meet you and pounce, they meet you, romance you, find your weak spots (we all have them) and play on them to the point that you’ll doubt what happened actually happened to you. And love, where do you put the emotions and feelings you have for them? Nobody tells you what to do with those. You may say, “Just stop loving.” But my thoughts are that just like drug addiction, many put up with it (the abuse) hoping that the pre-drug addicted (pre-abuse) person will show up again and the world will be roses.
As I watched “Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge and Me,” I’m certain Michel’le was waiting for Andre (Dr. Dre) Young to come to his senses—but abuse only makes sense to the abuser, nobody else. They have faulty reasoning. That still leaves me with several questions:
Why didn’t anybody DO anything to help Michel’le? I mean, call the police, hide her from him—give him a taste of his own medicine?
High, drunk, tired from making beats in the studio or not, how could anybody sit in a room while a woman was being punched in the face and doubled over from Dr. Dre’s fist to her stomach and do nothing?
When chronicling the rise of N.W.A. in the movie “Straight Outta Compton” my question is how do you do such damage to a person’s mind, heart and soul and simply erase them from the history of it all as an inconsequential mishap?
If could say anything to the scoffers and those who are trampling all over Michel’le’s story using three letter, four letter and five letters words to describe her it would be, “How do you with a clear conscious re-victimize a victim simply because you don’t want the image that you hold of Dr. Dre to be shattered?” Dr. Dre was on parole from battery. Michel’le wasn’t his only encounter with a fist to a face (just ask Dee Barnes). He was sentenced to several months in jail and ordered to pay a fine in 1995. Many times we don’t believe or fully understand something until it hits close to home. Let’s stop idolizing those who abuse, let’s pray for Michel’le, let’s eradicate domestic violence and let’s hope that it never has to come that close to home for you to actually believe it “can” happen. I’m done. I’ve got a boycott to join.