Surviving Compton – A Review

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I was soooo ready for this movie, I was telling people I couldn’t hang out or be out doing ANYTHING past 6 p.m. on Saturday night.  Yes, it was that serious.  I needed to be in place at least one hour before with my snacks and wine ready to go.  The previews told me everything I needed to know about this movie – it was going to be a no-holds barred biopic of Michel’le’s (the 90s R&B singer known for her breakout album by the same name…her rocky relationship with Dre…and later her marriage to Dre’s nemesis, Suge Knight).

Michel’le felt slighted about the Straight Outta Compton movie that conveniently left her out, when the truth was she was pretty much an honorary member of NWA.  Lifetime came a knockin’….Michel’le answered…and the result was “Surviving Compton”, which premiered on Saturday night.

First off, there are a group of regular “Lifetimers” on Twitter every Saturday night, which is when Lifetime premieres new movies.  I KNEW that this movie was going to not just bring out the regulars..but a whole bunch of other people who were gonna be watching this movie.  I was not prepared for the trending of the movie, Dr. Dre, Michel’le, Straight Out of Compton, NWA, Eazy E and even Jerry Heller.  At one point, at least 7 of the trending topics belonged to this movie.

I don’t want to give away too much of what happened in the movie, but you probably know already.  Michel’le has made no secret of the abuse she suffered at the hands of Dre…and then later at the hands of Suge Knight to a lesser degree.  I also knew first hand that Dre beat the HELL out of Dee Barnes, the host of a popular 90s hip-hop show called Pump It Up because Dee sued the HELL out of him, and he pleaded no contest.  I still was NOT prepared for the graphic violence that was displayed in the movie.  When I tell you my mouth was open for 98% of the movie, I am NOT lying.

I could totally see why Dre did not want this movie made because the Internet OBLITERATED his arse.  His Twitter, IG and Facebook were in shambles because every viewer was a) reading him for filth b) running their car tires over there Beats by Dre (which was about a year or so too late since Apple now owns them and c) cussing him out for what he did to Michel’le.  Dre came off as a deadbeat, drunk arse, pot-smokin’ woman beater with multiple kids, a bad temper, and a penchant for crying.  At one point he beat Michel’le in her damn sleep.  Like who does that?  He broke her nose and I think he knocked out a tooth or seven.  And then HE started crying and she comforted HIM.  Couldn’t have been me.  I have a low tolerance for pain inflicted by a man that is supposed to love me.  I woulda have been out but not before I put something in his food.

She stayed…and endured beating after beating.  What was even MORE troubling was that Dre beat her up in front of everybody – NWA, her friends, Jerry Heller, her makeup artists and stylists, etc.  NOBODY came to her defense other than telling her she needed to leave.  Her grandmother even told her to stay because the beatings meant Dre loved her.  She ended up having a baby with him (he never referred to the baby by his name, and even said he would beat her arse if she wasn’t pregnant with is baby in one scene..and in the next scene, Michel’le came home early to find a woman (that Dre had moved in to the house while she was on tour) naked in her bed – the woman beat HER up)….and at one point, he fired a gun at her with the baby in the house.

Suge ended up helping her get out and into rehab (she got addicted to painkillers, etc. to numb the pain of Dre beating her arse).  You know it’s a rough arse movie when Suge looks like a savior!  Dre had gotten engaged to his now wife while she was in rehab.  Suge had a wife but offered her the role of side chick and in return, took care of her.  Until he broke her jaw and told her to lie and say they were playing football.  Then, he went to prison for thugging.  He ended up sending a security detail to her house, forcing her into an agreement to take care of his affairs and not see Dre, her son, or her grandmother.  He forced her into marrying him (even though he had other women that she knew about) for conjugal visits (I bet that was awful…sex with Suge looks like it would be awful).  Later she found out the marriage was fake because Suge was already married (he lied about divorcing his wife).  She finally got up the strength to leave HIM even after he pulled a gun on her…and finally took back her life.  She ended the movie with an emotional song about still being here.

I thought the movie was EXCELLENT.  I was nervous because you know Lifetime can muck up a biopic.  But ever so often, they get it right – Toni Braxton, Whitney Houston and now this one.  At first, I thought it odd that Michel’le was PHYSICALLY narrating the movie (i.e. showing up in scenes as herself, narrating) but after a while, I got used to it.  I think that may have been the only thing that I would have changed about the movie.  She should have narrated without showing up in the scenes.  All in all though…an excellent job by Lifetime and kudos for Michel’le for finally telling HER side of the story.  Even IF she ends up in a lawsuit that Dre will not win.  There is NO WAY Michel’le is lying – Tichina Arnold (who I didn’t know was her good friend) witnessed the aftermath of the beatings and there were too many details in the beatings that were depicted.  By the way, I ended up hating Dr. Dre and wishing a pox on his house.

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