Why I won’t be seeing Straight Outta Compton until it comes on Netflix

by Byron Crawford


The main reason I won’t be seeing Straight Outta Compton this weekend is because who’s got $10 or $15 to see a movie that doesn’t look like it’s very good, when there’s plenty of good movies I can watch for free — using my little brother’s Netflix password — in the comfort of my own home?

Shit, I could get my own Netflix password and watch movies all month long for less than it would cost to go see Straight Outta Compton this weekend. Granted, so many of the movies you see on Netflix are kinda no name brand. But you cant see hardly anything in the theaters these days other than comic book movies, and I’m not one of these grown-ass men who get all excited about watching comic book movies.

I prefer films that are only interesting to, or appropriate for, adults — possibly both!

Going to see a black-interest film the weekend it’s released, best case scenario, you’ll be in there with people talking back to the screen, people who packed a picnic lunch, and groups of 18 or 20 people who show well into the first act, at which point you’ve already been sitting there for upwards of an hour watching Sprite commercials with Drake in them and trailers for films you couldn’t possibly be interested in seeing.

But there’s always the slight possibility you’ll get shot. I hate to implicate my own people in such a horrible — and horribly stereotypical — crime, but let’s keep it real. This is something that’s been known to happen. Shooting at the screen to signal your appreciation of a film hasn’t been a “thing” since the days of Boyz N the Hood and Menace II Society, but then there haven’t been very many good “hood” films since then either.

Earlier this year, my mom was at a showing of the movie Selma that was shot up in my native Creve Coeur, MO (not exactly the kind of place you’d expect a movie to get shot up, at least when I was living there). She’d already left the theater and was on her way home when it happened, but a family friend was there, seeing another movie, and was forced to stick around until the wee hours of the morning while 5–0 investigated.

I’ll spare you a rundown of recent instances of white people shooting up theaters other than to state that I’m actually more concerned with white people shooting up a movie, at this point, and that this is the kind of cultural appropriation that I’m loathe to complain about. I’d rather no one shot up movie theaters, but better them than us, I guess.

I read earlier today (i.e. Thursday, when I have to write these things) that the studio releasing Straight Outta Compton, Universal, has agreed to reimburse theaters that have to hire extra security this weekend. But in a statement to the media in which this was announced of course they were quick to point out that this is not about race.

Translation: Universal is expecting this film to be big. It seems as if they’ve invested quite a bit of money into promoting it. Or maybe that’s a reflection of the kind of sites that I visit on the reg? But there’s concern that some theaters won’t want to book Straight Outta Compton, for fear that it might attract a certain “element.” This weekend in particular, they need it to be playing on as many screens as possible.

I’ve seen a few people state that they won’t be going to see Straight Outta Compton as a matter of protest, because it glosses over the fact that Dr. Dre famously beat the brakes off of Dee Barnes and who knows how many other people, and probably all kinds of other shit that Dre and Ice Cube would rather people not know about. I get notifications for people commenting on my famous Medium article Beatings by Dr. Dre, so I’ve been subjected to this for the past few weeks.

The article, which had already been read by half the people on the Internets, has now been read by the other half of the people on the Internets, thanks in part to an article at Gawker that rehashes the Dee Barnes. Because 1991 was such a long time ago, there’s an abundance of people who have no idea that Dre once put a shoe on a woman, in public, even though it was well publicized at the time.

And it’s the kind of crime that, like Bill Cosby’s various activities, is way less acceptable now than it was back then, for a number of reasons.

1) More white people know who Dr. Dre is.

Dr. Dre was one of the top artists of the 1990s, but The Chronic didn’t drop until late 1992. The Dee Barnes incident happened in 1991. Niggaz4life dominated the Billboard albums chart in ‘91, but I think it sold primarily to the kind of white guy who bought those Guns N Roses Use Your Illusion albums. “Nuthin’ but a G Thang” was the true crossover moment.

2) The Internets outrage industry.

The Internets are all about finding horrific crimes against women committed by famous men, or failing that, obscure men linked to famous institutions. Last year it was Bill Cosby, Woody Allen, Conor Oberst, a fraternity at the University of Virginia, so on and so forth. Some of these are things that happened decades ago, and some of them didn’t really happen. They were uniform in that they drove a shedload of pageviews.

Last year was also the year that Dr. Dre supposedly became the first hip-hop billionaire, and it was in the course of writing an article about that that I stumbled upon the various domestic violence accusations. That would have been as good a time as any for this story to reach critical mass, but that would have required the corrupt tech media to put forth more effort than they were willing to, or pay a black guy to explain this to them. It just wasn’t possible.

There may have also been concern that Apple, which acquired Dre and Jimmy Iovine’s Beats Electronics, is the biggest corporation there ever was. A week ago today, Dre dropped the most highly anticipated rap album of all time, and now he’s got this huge movie coming out. Think about it: The Internets hardly ever miss an opportunity to accuse a man of a crime against a woman, and they never miss an opportunity to shit on a black man who’s trying to do something with his life.

And yet, I go to Pitchfork (to use an example — this is just as true for many an SJW-run site), a site that once ran an article about there not being enough black people at a Belle and Sebastian show in Glasgow, Scotland, and all I see is a big, glossy feature on the making of Compton: A Soundtrack, for which they were provided access to many of the kids who performed on the album. The key word there of course being access.

Take it easy on yourself,


Byron Crawford is the author of seven books, including No Country for Black Men, and the sender of the free, weekly email newsletter Life in a Shanty Town.

Originally published at tinyletter.com.

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Byron Crawford

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Best-selling author of The Mindset of a Champion, Infinite Crab Meats and NaS Lost http://amazon.com/author/byroncrawford @byroncrawford

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