Dee Barnes Calls Out Grammys For Honoring Dr. Dre With "Global Impact Award"

Dr. Dre has previously apologized for assaulting Dee, a music journalist, in 1991. However, she says Hip Hop protects abusers.

BYErika Marie
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Collage Maker-08-Feb-2023-09.56-AM

At this year's Grammy Awards, the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award was given to the Aftermath mogul, but Dee Barnes wasn't applauding the honor. Dre's award was a part of The Recording Academy's Black Music Collective, and while fans believe he deserved the tribute, Barnes recalled her experience with the Rap giant back in 1991. It was then that the music journalist was in the thick of her career, often interviewing some of Rap's most influential voices. At 19, she hosted the Hip Hop show Pump It Up! On the show, she highlighted the then-tension between N.W.A. and Ice Cube.

Barnes alleged that Dre confronted her about a segment on her show. She previously detailed the ordeal, stating, "He picked me up by my hair and my ear and smashed my face and body into the wall… Next thing I know, I'm down on the ground, and he's kicking me in the ribs and stomping on my fingers." More recently, Barnes spoke with Rolling Stone about the incident and seeing Dre receive an award holding his name.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK--OCTOBER 08: Host Dee Barnes (aka Sista D) and MC Lyte (aka Lana Moorer) appear backstage at the "Sisters In The Name Of Rap" concert and television special at The Ritz on October 8, 1991 in New York City. (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives)
Read More: Dee Barnes Is “Triggered” After Dr. Dre’s Wife Denied Restraining Order

"Everybody wants to separate the art from the artist, and sometimes that’s just not possible," said Barnes. "Most people without a knowledge of [Dr. Dre’s] history are going to say, 'Oh, he must deserve that. He must be such a great person for them to put an award in his name.' But they named this award after an abuser. It wasn’t just a one or two-time thing; these are choices."

Barnes recognizes that Dre may not be the same person she interacted with. "I don’t know. I’m not around him anymore. I haven’t talked to him. But to name an award after someone with that type of history in the music industry, you might as well call it the 'Ike Turner Award.' She also mourned watching the Grammys Hop Hip tribute. Barnes mentioned that she and Dre can't be in the same space. "I was thinking, 'I would’ve been there. I would’ve been there on the red carpet." She believed she "would’ve been interviewing some of those artists.' In fact, I’ve interviewed most of them before.

Radio Personality Dee Barnes arrives at the Hennessy and Honey Collective party at The Vanguard on October 29, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Maury Phillips/WireImage)
Read More: Dr. Dre Addresses And Apologizes For Dee Barnes Incident

She also addressed the blacklisting she received after reporting the incident to the police. Further, Barnes is working on a documentary about her experiences in the industry. However, several artists have shunned speaking with her. "The blacklisting I’ve faced still feels active, and it took me a long time to accept that," she also revealed. "For the longest time, I was like, 'That’s not what’s happening. It’s not that.' But it’s definitely that. I see it. I’ve had plenty of people who will support me privately, but they don’t want it to be publicly known because of their business associations, dealings, or whatever."

"I’m not the bad guy, but I am made into the villain," Barnes added. "Very much like how they did Megan Thee Stallion during the trial against her attacker, Tory Lanez. I watched what happened to my little sister Megan, and it just was heartbreaking to me because we have not changed in all these years."

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About The Author
Erika Marie is a seasoned journalist, editor, and ghostwriter who works predominantly in the fields of music, spirituality, mental health advocacy, and social activism. The Los Angeles editor, storyteller, and activist has been involved in the behind-the-scenes workings of the entertainment industry for nearly two decades. E.M. attempts to write stories that are compelling while remaining informative and respectful. She's an advocate of lyrical witticism & the power of the pen. Favorites: Motown, New Jack Swing, '90s R&B, Hip Hop, Indie Rock, & Punk; Funk, Soul, Harlem Renaissance Jazz greats, and artists who innovate, not simply replicate.