The Astonishing Arrogance of Dr. Dre
On Saturday, Dr. Dre had the astonishingly bad judgment to publish an Instagram post riffing obnoxiously on the college admissions scandal involving celebrities like Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman.
“My daughter got accepted into USC all on her own. No jail time!!!” the post bragged alongside a photo of Dre and his daughter celebrating her admission to USC. This post would have been cocky, obnoxious and unbecoming under the best of circumstances.
As Donald Trump’s toxic Twitter feed conveys, there’s no good time for the incredibly wealthy and powerful to brag unapologetically about how awesome their lives are. The 99 Percent doesn’t want to hear that shit.
Bragging about his family’s academic success is obnoxious. What made Dre’s Instagram post insanely hypocritical and dishonest as well as insufferable is that Dre and mentor Jimmy Iovine donated 70 million dollars to USC, the university that accepted Dre’s daughter.
People will seemingly do anything for seventy million dollars. For seventy million dollars, the Holocaust Museum would probably host a Mel Gibson Appreciation Week. For seventy million dollars, Trump would probably spend a solid week tweeting nothing but effusive praise for Hillary Clinton. Donate seventy million dollars to even a good, reputable, prestigious university and they’ll be so obscenely grateful that they’ll slap your name on a building. That’s exactly what happened when that seventy million dollar donation led to the creation of the Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation.
How arrogant and deluded do you have to be to very publicly flaunt your child’s ostensible academic triumph in getting accepted to a school you donated tens of millions of dollars to? Did Dre really think nobody would draw a parallel between celebrities paying a disreputable academic “fixer” to get their child into a school in an illegal and unethical fashion and Dre and his longtime business partner throwing massive amounts of cash at a college his daughter would eventually matriculate at in a scheme that’s not technically illegal but sure looks ethically shady from the outside?
Dre deleted the post, understandably, but the damage was done. Instead of playfully ribbing Loughlin and Huffman and other celebs and big spenders caught up in the scandal, Dre just made himself look like a world-class asshole, a narcissistic phony with the unmitigated gall to brag about his daughter getting into school “all on her own”, albeit with maybe just a little bit of help from that seventy million donation.
Dre’s bragging about his daughter’s college admission pales in comparison to the infamous incident in 1991 when he viciously abused rapper and television personality Dee Barnes. A Rolling Stone article written by Alan Light around the time describes the attack thusly: “(Dre) picked (Barnes) up by her hair and "began slamming her head and the right side of her body repeatedly against a brick wall near the stairway" as his bodyguard held off the crowd with a gun. After Dr. Dre tried to throw her down the stairs and failed, he began kicking her in the ribs and hands. She escaped and ran into the women’s rest room. Dr. Dre followed her and "grabbed her from behind by the hair again and proceeded to punch her in the back of the head."
The incident scarred Barnes irrevocably. The Hip Hop lifer similarly attracted attention for something she posted online recently but it was not to brag unbecomingly about a child’s admission into an exclusive college. No, Dee Barnes, a woman who was viciously attacked by one of the most successful and influential musicians of the past half century posted this message to Go Fund Me because she was in danger of becoming homeless unless she received emergency help: "Standing in our own truth not the definitions or the expectations is powerful, and this is my TRUTH...Yes, I did post the link to my PayPal, CashApp and GooglePay accounts asking for help because I am in the process of being evicted. This page was created as an emergency fund to stop the process and the subsequent legal fees. Even though I am facing extreme financial hardship, I keep my head up. I know who I am, I know my worth and I know I'm not alone. Everyone is dealing with their own different struggles. Some of us less fortunate than others. It may sound cliche but things will turn around in your favor, this is the balance of life ups and downs, so stay strong, and count your blessings, not your problems. I have the sincerest gratitude for your help and thank everyone for your love and support.”
That just breaks my fucking heart. I don’t expect the world to be fair. I don’t expect the world to be kind. But there’s something about the cruelty and injustice of Dre and Barnes’ respective situations that seems particularly appalling.
So help Dee Barnes if you can over at https://www.gofundme.com/dee-barnes and you might want to think twice about supporting Dre with your money or your fandom. He may be a preeminent musical genius but he’s a pretty terrible human being, something his regrettable Instagram post made achingly clear.
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