The one-time R&B star (1989’s “No More Lies”) dated Dr. Dre in the early 1990s, as he and N.W.A. turned into superstars (they had a son in 1991) and later married Death Row Records mogul Suge Knight, with whom she had a daughter in 2002 (they divorced in 2005).
“Surviving Compton” executive producer Leslie Greif first met Michel’le when she starred on TV One’s “R&B Divas,” which his company, Thinkfactory, produced. Michel’le shared some of her personal stories on the show, which led them at the time to kick around film ideas. But then came “Straight Outta Compton,” which suddenly pushed her story to the front burner.
“There were no women in ‘Straight Outta Compton,’” Greif said. “The only women were objectified girls to be passed around. [Ruthless Records co-founder] Jerry Heller was a friend, and he told me that she was the linchpin between all of these guys. She lived it. Her story is very compelling and rather dramatic, about a woman who grew up in a very difficult environment.”