Dee Barnes Calls Out Grammys for Naming Award After ‘Abuser’ Dr. Dre

(L-R) Dee Barnes and Dr. Dre (Credit YouTube/Huffington Post and CBS)

Veteran music journalist Dee Barnes is criticizing the Grammy Awards for naming a new honor after hip-hop pioneer Dr. Dre.

The rapper and producer, real name Andre Young,  received the inaugural Dr. Dre Global Impact Award during the 2023 Grammys on Feb. 5, for his “multitude of achievements” in the music industry.

But Barnes, one of several women who accused the rapper of abuse earlier in his career, has called out the Recording Academy for naming the award “after an abuser.”

“Everybody wants to separate the art from the artist, and sometimes that’s just not possible,” Barnes said in a new interview with Rolling Stone. “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.”

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She went on to say Dr. Dre has a history of abuse, which the music industry overlooks.

“It wasn’t just a one or two-time thing; these are choices. The first time, it’s maybe a mistake. The second time, okay. The third time, it’s a choice,” she said.

“I’m not saying he is the same person now, though. 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 continued.

Barnes has deep roots in the industry. She was a member of the West Coast female rap duo Body & Soul. She worked as an on-air personality at Los Angeles radio station KDAY, and hosted the music television show, Pump It Up!

She told Rolling Stone she was blacklisted in the industry after speaking out about being attacked by Dr. Dre in 1991.

“I shouldn’t have to suffer by not being able to exist in a space and in a culture that not only did I grow up in but that I contributed to in a major way,” she said. “Is this about his feelings? Is this about his legacy? Or is it about ego and toxic masculinity? What is it about? My whole history has been erased — as an artist, as a music journalist, and as a television host. All some people see is the [1991] incident.”

Barnes detailed the 1991 incident in an op-ed she wrote for Gawker, saying Dr. Dre assaulted her at a Hollywood record release party.

At the time of the assault, Dr. Dre was still a member of N.W.A. The rapper was angry at Barnes because of an interview she did on Pump It Up! Barnes said Dre tried to throw her down a flight of stairs, slammed her head against a wall, kicked her, and stomped on her fingers.

Dr. Dre was charged with assault and battery. He pleaded no contest and was given a $2,500 fine, and two years of probation with community service.

Barnes filed a civil suit against him and the two sides settled. Dr. Dre later apologized.

The journalist has said she continues to suffer migraines as a result of the attack. In 2019, she revealed she was struggling to find work and had become homeless.