Civil rights activist and author Kevin Powell blasted the Los Angeles Police Department and other agencies that had ramped security at the movie "Straight Outta Compton" over the weekend for "profiling" black films, and he slammed the filmmakers for omitting sexism by the rap group N.W.A.
Last week, the LAPD announced that it was working with theater owners to increase policing at certain theaters screening the film about controversial rap band N.W.A. And Universal Studios said that it would help reimburse theaters for the cost of extra security.
Powell pointed out to CNN on Saturday that this was not the first time police had singled out movies about rappers.
"You know what, there were shootings at the 'Batman' screenings, we know about what happened in Colorado," he noted. "There were shootings at the 'Trainwreck' screening. We cannot racially profile movies."
"We don't want to racially profile people, we shouldn't racially profile films," he Powell insisted. "Yesterday, when I saw 'Straight Outta Compton' -- black, white, Latino, Asian, multiple generations of people. They were all very peacefully seeing the film. So we've got to really think about what we're saying when we make those kind of statements."
Powell also said that the filmmakers had been wrong to omit anti-woman comments made by rappers in the movie.
"This is an opportunity to really examine, not just race in our country, but also violence against women and girls," he said, adding that incidents where Doctor Dre abused women "really happened."
"Ice Cube, now in his forties, still refers to women by the B-word," Powell observed. "We've got to make progress. If we're going to talk about racism in America, which this film talks about, we also have to be willing to talk about sexism, which is equally oppressive to half the population in this country and on this planet."
"And I think that's the glaring omission in the film," he continued. "But I actually disagree with the director, F. Gary Gray, when he said that these are stories that are side stories. A woman's life is not a side story. And we as men, if we're serious -- not just black men, but all men -- if we're serious about addressing any kind of inequities, we have to talk about the things that women deal with."