I can only begin by saying that I loved this movie!
Before I forget, I want to give Paul Giamatti a shout out because it seems that I'm enjoying several of my favorite television and film moments with him right now from "Downton Abbey" to "Saving Mr. Banks" and now "Straight Out of Compton."
That being said, I survived watching "Staight Outta Compton" with a fairly mixed crowd of black and white folks in Kentucky no less. If there was additional security, I never noticed it and while I made sure to make a note of the exits, no violence jumped off. I wasn't worried about black people or gangs - I was worried about random violent rednecks. But nothing happened except that people laughed in all the right places and there were many sniffles in the end and a lot of booty shakin' in the seats to the stellar soundtrack.
The story will be unfamiliar to people who only know NWA as a group who supposedly targeted the police when in truth, they were targeted by an American government who has never been comfortable with black people speaking up about our oppression.
But to to those of us who have been NWA fans from the very beginning, there were some endearing and fun moments in this movie to enjoy, discuss and reminisce over.
We see the beginnings of the small nuances that spawned the East Coast - West Coast beef. There are cameos from Snoop Dogg and Tupac on the come up - but we see that they were stars in the making from the very beginning.
However it's the inner workings of NWA that are the meat of this story.
Who knew DJ Yella was so damned funny and real? We've always known that MC Ren was the underrated talent - never got as much attention, but was always a steady presence with the flows that hardcore fans recite like scripture
And we always knew Easy E was the brains of the operation - but we never knew he was so damned nice - never wanting to believe the worst of anyone. That Eric Wright survived the streets of Compton, dope life and an epic beat down by Suge Knight - and still refused to sign over his company - only to succumb to complications from HIV/ AIDS is a tragic irony.
Ice Cube becomes the unmitigated star he never knew he was in the beginning - but he stayed true to himself and made the right changes in his life at the right times.
And Dre? We all know Dre was a genius but that man was so far ahead of his time....he dragged a whole nation kicking and screaming into the future while providing us with the dopest sounds of a generation.
If Dr. Dre is the hero of the story then Suge Knight is definitely the villain. Suge Knight is one scary person in this movie and the fact that he is on trial for murder at the time of "Compon's" release only underscores the fact that he may be just as dangerous in real life.
Dr. Dre's "Aftermath" came at the high price of a public, personal and professional holocaust. He put his entire past on an altar of sacrifice. But he was wise beyond his years and knew when to alter his path, let go of the past and build a gleaming future.
The social and political implications of NWA in America are more relevant than ever. When the President of the United States has been called "arrogant" more times than I care to count and the open hostilities of racism run rampant in our law enforcement throughout the country, there is very little distance between the oppression by law enforcement that inspired the statement FTP, which was memorably scrawled on a monument in Missouri, and #BlackLivesMatter. Both are resounding calls that still needs to be answered and accounted for by America today.