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Michel'le Has Her Say In 'Surviving Compton'

Lifetime Television

R&B singer Michel'le – former girlfriend of rapper Dr. Dre and wife of record executive Suge Knight – gets her revenge Saturday on her former lovers after being left out of the hit movie, "Straight Outta Compton."

In the opening minutes of "Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Michel'le," which premieres 8 p.m. Saturday on Lifetime, Michel'le explains to the camera:

"Everyone keeps asking me, 'Girl, why you ain't in that movie? You were there.' That movie wasn't about me. That's them telling the story they want to tell. History gets told by the winners. I got my own history, my own story, about a girl from the hood. I'm Michel'le."

Her story isn't pretty – or easy to watch. But it will resonate in the current political climate with discussions about some men feeling entitled to do whatever they want with women.


"Surviving Compton" shows the physical abuse and mental torment Michel'le suffered during her relationships with the rappers and record label owners. They beat Michel'le (Rhyon Nicole Brown "Eight Crazy Dates," "Lincoln Heights") to get their way. They expected her to make their food, serve their guests, raise their kids and be there in bed -- when they stayed there, instead of with their other baby mamas. In her view, Michel'le was contractually coerced into running Death Row Records when Knight was in prison, and forced to marry him after jail because "you owe me." (Before he was jailed for parole violation, Knight had told her: "I gotta wife. You be my lady.")

Michel'le narrates the film, which was shot in Cincinnati in July. (You won't see many identifiable landmarks, except for a Joe's Diner on Sycamore scene and fleeting glimpses of Over the Rhine streets and the Cincinnati end of the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge. To most viewers, the movie will look like it was filmed in Compton.

Credit Internet Movie Database

Brown is impressive as Michel'le, the squeaky-voiced woman whose Minnie Mouse tone vanishes when she belts out a soulful song.  R. Marcos Taylor reprises his "Straight Outta Compton" role as Suge Knight. Relative unknown Curtis Hamilton from Paducah, KY, capably plays Dr. Dre's broad range from sweet lover and creative artist to a demanding, violent, entitled star. Also portrayed in the movie are M.C. Hammer and Eazy-E.

"Surviving Compton" will be followed by a "Beyond the Headlines" show about Michel'le (10:02 p.m.) and "Streets of Compton" (11:02 p.m.) an A&E documentary with interviews with Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Anthony Anderson, Game, Lil' Eazy, The Game and Niecy Nash.

"Surviving Compton" repeats at midnight (12:02 a.m.).