Dee Barnes has always been adamant in speaking her truth, as unpretty as that has often been. On March 15, the hip-hop journalist tweeted a link to a current GoFundMe page titled “Help Dee Barnes,” revealing she is facing homelessness.
Barnes tweeted, “Thank you to everyone for your prayers, your support, your messages, phone calls and positive vibrations, I am profoundly grateful to you all.”
The hip-hop community did not hesitate to pitch in and contribute, with her combined total — up to $28,000, currently — more than five times the initial goal of $5,000. The GoFundMe description begins with the statement: “Standing in our own truth, not the definitions or the expectations, is powerful, and this is my TRUTH.”
The former “Pump It Up!” host made history becoming the first female rap journalist to have a broadcast television show, but things took a left turn when Dr. Dre assaulted her. In 1991, Barnes had wrapped an interview with Ice Cube, who had said negative things about N.W.A at the time.
Dr. Dre caught wind of the interview and approached Barnes while out at a party; in a 1991 statement, she said the rapper-producer began “slamming her face and right side of her body repeatedly against a wall near the stairway” and allegedly followed her into the girl’s bathroom, grabbed her by the hair and started punching her in the back of her head.
(Her lawsuit against him was settled out of court, with the terms not revealed. Although the assault was dramatized in an early screenplay of the N.W.A biopic “Straight Outta Compton,” it was cut out of the movie. In the documentary “The Defiant Ones” in 2017, Dre finally fully owned up to the incident, saying, “Any man that puts his hands on a female is a f—ing idiot. … It’s a major blemish on who I am as a man.” Barnes’ $22 million lawsuit against Dre was settled out of court in the ’90s.)
Barnes told HipHopDX, “I had never asked for public help before, but I then remembered a long time ago while I was going through the assault trial in 1991, people were sending me checks for my legal fees. I never cashed any of them — not one — but knowing I had that support kept me strong enough to continue to face each court date.”
She then revealed the reality of not having a home. “My goal with the campaign is to regain stability, which is imperative for survivors of any trauma.”
She also used the opportunity to be an inspiration to others who may be going through a hardship in their lives.
The GoFundMe reads: “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.”
Nearly one month after the GoFundMe was created on February 21st, Barnes shared that she was offered her first industry job in 28 years.