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If you were to ask Ice Cube, he’d probably agree that in his own classic words the Straight Outta Compton Los Angeles Premiere was “a good day.” A longtime dream birthed in Los Angeles finally came full circle in the city as music legends from the past and present reunited Monday night at the Microsoft Theater.
But with the reunion of legends came a lot of security. All guests were required to walk through metal detectors and five to seven security guards surrounded Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg at all times as they partied in their reserved areas at the L.A. Live Event Deck celebration following the screening. Producer Bill Straus looked around the room and admitted he was, “a bit worried.”
Nevertheless, the premiere went unscathed as Quincy Jones, Berry Gordy, Zayne Malik, Martin Lawrence, Wesley Snipes, Kendrick Lamar, Gabrielle Union, Dwayne Wade, Common, Russell Simmons, Xzibit, Tyrese, Phil Lorde, Christopher Miller and many more celebrated the Universal Pictures film saluting rap group N.W.A. Ask any of the A-list talent in the room, and they admitted they grew up listening to the iconic tracks “F— tha Police” and “Boyz-n-the-hood.”
Guests let loose at the afterparty with multiple spreads of food catered by Wolfgang Puck for a group of what police officers estimated as thousands of attendees. The venue was decorated with old school Chevrolet Impalas while DJ’s spun classic hip-hop hits from N.W.A’s past to Dr. Dre’s recently released album Compton: A Soundtrack.
Snoop Dogg blew puffs of weed while congratulating actor Jason Mitchell who portrays Eazy-E, Cube chatted with Common and Paul Giamatti caught up with his co-star O’Shea Jackson Jr. who shared with The Hollywood Reporter what he was most surprised to learn from playing his father, Ice Cube, in the film.
“I learned courage because when my father left N.W.A he didn’t have a plan,” said Jackson Jr. “I had to watch my father go from the bottom back to the top of his game. I didn’t know that.”
After years of growing up in South Central listening to N.W.A. and becoming close with Cube and Dre, Director F. Gary Gray also admitted what he didn’t know about the two.
“I was surprised to find that Dre and Cube didn’t have that much beef,” said Gray.
Cube confirmed his long journey earlier in the evening when he introduced the screening of the film, sharing the stage with fellow N.W.A members Dre, MC Ren, and DJ Yella as well as Gray and producer Scott Bernstein.
“We never went to film school,” Cube told the audience about his relationship with Gray. “We just used our passion, drive and our hood prowess to get us to this point.”
“Universal understood that we wanted to protect our legacy and they paid attention to that.” added Dre.
“Donna Langley from Universal is the sixth member of N.W.A no doubt,” finished Cube who gave a special shout-out to the Universal Pictures chairman who championed the film that has been 20 years in the making.
The biopic tells the story of the iconic rap group whose music broke barriers while carrying a social message during the L.A. race riots. The film follows the group’s early beginnings from when the late Eazy-E (who died of complications from AIDS in 1995) housed N.W.A under his Ruthless Records with manager Jerry Heller (played by Giamatti) to Dre growing his own Aftermath records and billion-dollar empire, and of course, all of the women who entered in and out of the men’s lives along the way.
Mitchell told THR he’s floored by the large amount of support for the film, but believes it couldn’t be released at a more relevant time, given the recent violence in Ferguson.
“This movie is changing my life,” said Mitchell. “It’s making it better for me and better for my family but at the same time, the fight that we’re fighting has still not taken a step towards success for us. I really don’t know how to feel about all of it, but I’m praying for Ferguson.”
Straight Outta Compton hits theaters on August 14.
From left to right: Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Marlon Yates Jr., Aldis Hodge and O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Photo by John Salangsang/Invision/AP)
(Photo by John Salangsang/Invision/AP)
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