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Straight Outta Compton: How much am I allowed to like this and the music it contains?

On Friday, I went to visit my parents/see my nieces/spend time with my little brother. Said little brother and I went to the movies, 'cause that's one of the only things there is to do in my hometown. When we got there, there was a quick debate about what movie to see.

"Let's see Vacation."
"I already saw that, and it's got a 27% on RottenTomatoes."
"Oh. Then...Ricki and the Flash?"
"Aliiiice, let's see The Man From U.N.C.L.E., I already saw that too and it's hilarious."
"We're not seeing a movie you've already seen. We are going to watch Meryl Streep as an aging rock lady, or whatever that movie's about."
"Let's just see Vacation."
"You said you've already seen it AND it has 27%!"
"Fiiiiiiiiine."


So we bought tickets for Ricki and the Flash, and then the second our tickets were torn, I saw that the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton was playing in the theater next door at the same time, annnd we ended up seeing that. So. I apologize, filmmakers, for my money going to help Meryl Streep's career when she doesn't need it at all, but we really didn't know until we headed into the theater. Little Brother didn't even want to see it, because he said the trailer was "stupid," but I said it was probs gonna be more culturally enriching than Ricki and the Flash.




I got conflicting FEELINGS about this movie. Meaning I thought it was pretty well done (some of the actors felt cast more for resemblance than talent), but it glossed over the more problematic parts of N.W.A., so it pretty much solely made them look like heroes. Which they have a right to do! It's Ice Cube & Dr. Dre's movie, and it's about them, so they can do what they want. Also it was already a 2 hour 15 minute (+ previews) biopic, so....maybe we didn't need more. But the SECOND the movie was over, I turned to my brother and said ".....do you want to listen to NWA on the way home?" And yes, yes he did. And while their music is fan-damn-tastic, it's also reeeeeeeeeally derogatory towards women.


So I spent the weekend listening to N.W.A., Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, and Snoop Dogg, and kind of...ignoring the fact that women are completely and totally objectified in all their music, meaning legit treated like objects and Less Thans, and I want to ignore it by being like "Well, that was the world in which they grew up," but that can't be true, because the movie shows Dr. Dre's mom, and she seemed pretty kickass. So. Hm.

There's also the whole thing about white privilege and HOW ridiculous is it for me as an Ann Taylor-wearing 30-year-old white girl to be listening to N.W.A. on the morning commute to my office. IT FEELS SUPREMELY NOT ALLOWED. Like "Look at me, co-opting the parts of a culture that I want to while not doing anything to help the South Side. SHOULD I help the South Side?? Is that patronizing? Maybe! Ahhhhh!"

If we skip over these questions and focus once more on the movie: it does an excellent job of putting things like Fuck Tha Police in context. My previous assumption would've been "Oh, you guys are trying to look badass." But the scene leading up to that song's creation was done so well, by the time Ice Cube started screaming into the recording studio's mic, the whole theater felt he was completely justified and that this needed to be said

It's also completely possible the movie makes some claims about N.W.A.'s importance that are kind of but not totally justified. Which I would have no idea about, as evinced by this conversation with Oldest Brother:


I'd see the movie. Then tell me whether I'm allowed to listen to Ice Cube a whole lot, because that is definitely what I've been doing.

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