Great Movie, Great Message!
Singer, Michel’le offers her counterargument to F. Gary Gray’s ‘Straight Outta Compton’ movie with her very own Lifetime film ‘Surviving Compton’: Dre, Suge, and Michel’le which premiered Saturday [Oct.15].
Known for her unique and ‘mousy voice’, Michel’le Touissant was the first lady of Ruthless records and powerhouse vocalist destined for entertainment success. Sadly, her personal life with two of hip hop’s notorious men ultimately overshadowed and hindered the singer’s music career.
It was long rumored in the industry, that Miche’le had allegedly left her first love Dr. Dre [whom she’d been with since the age of 17] for death row records CEO, Suge Knight which ultimately sparked the feud between the two men. Michel’le birthed a child for each men and has suffered long time domestic abuse from Dr. Dre and Suge Knight.
Michel’e has remained quiet for close to two decades, and now she gives her account of her relationship and abuse with Dr. Dre and Suge Knight.
In the film, Miche’le delivers a startling ‘tell all’ of her ‘rise and demise’ in the music industry. The story begins with her introduction to rap group ‘NWA’, and the start of her love affair with Dr. Dre.
But all ‘hell breaks loose’ as Michel’le embarks on her first debut album success. There was another side untold. Behind the scenes, Michel’le’s abusive relationship with Dre began to fuel a few months into their relationship when Dre’s alleged alcohol addiction was unfolding. The alarming question on every one’s mind – Why Did She Stay?
Michel’le Was Signed To Eazy-E’s Ruthless Records And Dr. Dre Produced Her First AlbumThere were so many shocking and disturbing moments in the film particularly the abuse she suffered at the hands of men who were twice her size, and physically dominating. In one scene Dr. Dre comes home drunk, heads to the couple’s bedroom and starts to punch Michel’le in the face repeatedly as she screams and blood runs from her nose.
Flushed with anger and guilt, Dre sobbs in her his own anguish afterwards and a terrified Michel’le doesn’t run, or call the cops – she coddles him in the bed instead because she was taught by her Aunt Mimi and mother – that no matter how smart of a woman she’d become, if a man hits her, it is she (the woman) who must ‘fix it’ .
” People Always Think That Domestic Abuse Is Something You Live With And Get Over. But No. You Have Mental Scars ” – Michel’le
Despite Dre’s numerous infidelities, conceiving children with other women since the start of their relationship, Michele’le suffered in silence as the abuse became more violent. Everyone in their ‘inner circle’ was an eye witness including ruthless records music manager ‘Jerry Heller’ .
To cope with the abuse, Michele began to self-medicate with alcohol and prescription drugs of all kinds [ Xanax, Vicoden, Ambien etc.] She’d rather be ‘NUMB’ and endure the abuse, then be alone. Michel’le detoured in a downward spiral – fast.
I really thought I was watching the Tina Turner story all over again. Michel’le admits that she suffered five solid black eyes from her relationship with Dre, and til this day she has bruise scarring on her ribs and neck from the many moments he threw punching blows at her stomach. Dre would also squeez her throat with his fingernails as seen in another scene when Michel’le was recording her chart topping single ‘Something In My Heart’.
The abuse allegedly occurred in public during studio sessions, on video sets, and at house parties gatherings where their friends attended; a relatable tale of Dre’s temper and aggressive assault encounter also noted by hip hop journalist, Dee Barnes.
” I’m Watching Myself, When I Watched Them Portray Me And Dr. Dre And It Touched Me In A Different Way. It Was A Very Eye-Opening Experience. I Didn’t See It That Way [at the time]. I Thought It Was Just Normal For Me ” – Michel’le
As Dr.Dre’s career bloomed, Michele was hitting rock bottom but Dre still had extreme influence and power over Michel’le and signed the two over to Suge Knight’s death row records. After six years, and child with Dre, Michel’le went off to rehab – with a full expense paid by SK, and recovered from her addiction.
When she returned from rehab, Dre was engaged to marry another woman, and Michel’le fell into the arms of Marion ‘Suge’ Knight. The man she once feared, suddenly became her saving grace and although Suge was married, Michel’le role as the ‘side chick’ offered better perks, security, and power than she received when she was with Dre.
Sadly, Michele’le also suffered physical abuse from Suge Knight. As shown in one gruesome scene, the death row CEO dislodges her jaw following a verbal dispute. Suge had bore witness to Michel’le’s abuse with Dre, so the initial empathy he’d given her was part of his plot to ‘be with her and a macho payback to Dre’. The abuse allegedly stopped once she became pregnant with his child, but Suge continued to play on Michel’le’s vulnerability.
The singer was threatened to marry Suge in jail and was paid 30k a month to run death row records while he completed his five year jail sentence. Michel’le was restricted from seeing family members. It was not until the ‘demise of death row’, when Michel’le learned through the courts that her five year marriage to Suge [1996-2001] was NOT legally binding as Suge was still legally married to his first wife the entire time.
It was at that moment, a sober Michel’le faced with enormous debt and legal fees – reclaims her power and walks away from it all.
Michel’le ‘Survived Compton, Dre & Suge Knight.
Approximately 4 out of every 10 non-Hispanic Black women (43.7%), 4 out of every 10 American Indian or Alaska Native women (46.0%), and 1 in 2 multiracial non-Hispanic women (53.8%) have been the victim of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
These rates are 30%-50% higher than those experienced by Hispanic, White non-Hispanic women and Asian or Pacific non-Hispanic women.
One Love PLUMS!