Watch Part One of our dynamic conversation with Dee Barnes.
2023 marks the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop, a genre and a culture that has changed the world. As we celebrate hip hop’s past achievements and innovations, we must also keep it real with ourselves about our high tolerance for violence against women and the way we continue to collectively silence the women who tell their truth about surviving that violence. 2022 ended with Megan Thee Stallion, another powerful Black woman in our community, having to fight for her truth.
Dee Barnes is a journalist and MC who, at 19, hosted Pump It Up!, a hip-hop show on Fox integral to the real-time archiving of the genre’s development. “Pump it Up!” ran a segment that year where Ice Cube, who had parted ways with Dr. Dre and fellow N.W.A. bandmates over a royalties dispute, spoke about the tension between them. The clip allegedly angered Dr. Dre to the point that, when he encountered Barnes at an album launch party, she says slammed her face into a brick wall in the venue restroom. The incident left her with recurrent migraines. While Dr. Dre went on to see enormous artistic and business success, Dee Barnes was blacklisted from the industry and ultimately spent three years unhoused.
Dee Barnes sits down with Dawn Richard, a singer/songwriter and artist relations director at Hip Hop Caucus, to discuss how our community can ensure that the talented women, like Dee Barnes and Michel’le, who made hip hop into the powerhouse that it is only to be sidelined, are celebrated with the fanfare their contributions deserve. Hip hop’s next 50 years will be stronger when every voice has a mic.