Lifetime’s previously announced biopic of singer Michel’le, Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Me, is set to premiere in October. Billboard.com has a 15-second teaser for it, in which the “Something in My Heart” singer removes a parental advisory sticker from her mouth after title cards read: “Behind the men who changed hip-hop is the woman who knows the truth.”
It seems that the TV movie will exist as a counterpoint to last year’s N.W.A. biopic, the box-office smash Straight Outta Compton. While entertaining, that film lionized its subjects and glossed over the misogyny that ran rampant in N.W.A.’s music, and guided the discussion about it back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, when they were considered by many to be “the world’s most dangerous group.”
Days after the release of Straight Outta Compton, VladTV posted an interview with Michel’le in which she explained her absence in the Dr. Dre- and Ice Cube-produced N.W.A. film, despite her crucial role in the World Class Wreckin’ Cru, the group that spawned N.W.A. “Why would [Dr.] Dre put me in it? If they start from where they start from,” she said to VladTV. “I was just a quiet girlfriend who got beat up and told to sit down and shut up.”
It wasn’t the first time Michel’le had spoken out about being abused by her ex, with whom she had a child in 1991, but this time, people actually listened. Journalist Dee Barnes also described being beat up by Dre in a piece that ran on Gawker. In response, Dr. Dre issued an apology to “the women I’ve hurt,” in the New York Times.
Michel’le was also in an eight-year relationship with Death Row Records CEO/founder Suge Knight, whom she said wanted to control her “in every way.” In July, TMZ reported that Knight sent letters to Lifetime asking his privacy be honored and that the Michel’le movie not defame him.
In Surviving Compton, Knight will be played by R. Marcos Taylor, who also played the embattled mogul in Straight Outta Compton. Rhyon Nicole Brown (Lincoln Heights) will play Michel’le.