Earlier this week, a trailer was released for the new biopic "Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge, Michel'le." The movie is set to premiere on Lifetime on Saturday, October 15 at 8/7c. The story is a sort of follow up to the blockbuster hit "Straight Outta Compton" which was released in 2015. "Straight Outta Compton" was the NWA biopic that notably left out a few important details, including Dr. Dre's alleged abuse. At the time of the movie's release, there had been talk of how the women behind the men of NWA were conveniently left out. "Surviving Compton" tells the story of Michel'le, her experience with NWA, and her relationships with both Dr. Dre and Suge Knight.
Personally, I'm excited for this. It's a story that needs to be told. However, everyone doesn't see it that way. While scrolling down my Tumblr, I came across some very interesting comments in response to the trailer, particularly from black men. Some were asking why the movie was even necessary, while others were claiming that Michel'le just wanted attention. However, there was one comment that really grabbed my attention as well as succeeded in confusing me.
Now...where do I even start?
I loved "Straight Outta Compton" and the story of NWA as much as the next person, but any woman who loves hip hop knows that loving hip hop means to constantly be at war with herself. Hip hop is extremely misogynistic, and NWA was a huge contributor to that. As much as I love the group and what they have done for hip hop, do you truly believe that it's that outlandish for them to act in the same way that some of their lyrics describe? Dr. Dre's abuse accusations are not unheard of, however, he was able to angle his biopic in a way that steered clear of mentioning them. That's fine because it was his story to tell. Should Michel'le not have the same luxury of telling the story from her angle?
Oh I forgot, black women should just shut up because there's no room for black women in black power, right?
What really bothers me about the comment is that it implies that by Michel'le telling her truth, she is out to discredit and put down a group of black men rather than simply telling the full story. Unfortunately, I see this concept all the time. Black men totally disregarding the suffering of black women simply because it's at the hands of other black men. It's frustrating; it's almost as if it does more harm than good talking to black men about anything outside of overt racism.
Why is that?
Maybe it has to do with black men not wanting to be seen as the oppressor, seeing as they know what it's like to be oppressed. Maybe it has to do with the culture of today desensitizing them to the struggles of black women. I'm not really sure, but understand that "misogynoir" is not just a term we made up — it's a problem that is alive and well. Perhaps some people need to do some self reflection, and see where their misogynistic ways are falling on a scale of one to 10. Anytime a black woman opens up about abuse, whether it be verbally, physically, mentally, emotionally, etc. by black men, she should not have to worry about being dismissed by her own. Everyone has the right to tell their story and share their experience. We should be creating safe spaces rather than ignoring their claims under the guise of it being "divisive to our people" or "targeting black men."
Black power that does not include all black people is not black power, period.
The fact that this movie is playing on Lifetime rather than the box office (I would pay money for this, to be honest) already says a lot. I'm sure it was tough enough for Michel'le to finally give her side of the story without people saying that her talking about her abuse is unnecessary. Black women have the right to tell their story. We have the right to talk about our oppression...even if it's sometimes at the hand of black men. If you don't want to acknowledge the problem (you're obviously apart of it), then just be quiet and sit back. However, don't try to discredit black women and falsely accuse them of bringing down black men to make yourself feel better. Because then I'm forced to pose the question: do you actually want justice and equality for all, or do you just want the power and freedom to oppress without consequence in the same way that our oppressors do?