E.B. Wright: ‘My Father and N.W.A. Opened Many Doors’
Eazy-E’s daughter talks Straight Outta Compton, early memories of her father, building her own name
“I was just driving to get to a stop to get on the phone with you and was actually pulled over in the car and the cop was actually racist,” says singer/songwriter E.B. Wright, daughter of the culturally iconic Eric “Eazy-E” Wright, sharing her thoughts on the #BlackLivesMatter movement. “I’ve been speaking about this all week and it’s crazy that this actually just happened.”
Despite N.W.A.’s renegade intent to use hip-hop music to fight against systematic injustices of cops in the late ’80s, early ’90s, decades later there are many things that haven’t changed since Eazy-E’s first utterance of “Fuck Tha Police” – not even for the late rapper’s daughter.
Jason Mitchell, who portrayed my father, I honestly don’t think there was anybody that could have done a better job; he was phenomenal.
The name E.B. Wright may not have the same pop as a name like Eazy-E; she doesn’t speak with LA slang nor does she rap, but her outspokenness and intelligence echoes vibes of an emcee often remembered for his leadership qualities.
She’s Eazy-E’s daughter and with the release of Straight Outta Compton, she’s reminded of her own roots and just how big of a legacy N.W.A. left upon the world.
WHAT DID YOU REALLY THINK ABOUT STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON, GIVEN THAT YOU HAVE AN INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE STORY BEING EAZY-E’s DAUGHTER? Overall I thought it was incredible. It’s shot really well; the acting is amazing. Jason Mitchell, who portrayed my father, I honestly don’t think there was anybody that could have done a better job; he was phenomenal. You know my father passed when I was young and I texted [Mitchell] after I saw it for the first time, and told him that all my life I’ve been kind of hearing stories about my dad, but everything that I imagined, I literally watched him play out on the screen. That was amazing for me.
THERE ARE OF COURSE ASPECTS ABOUT EAZY-E THAT THE FILM MAY NEVER BE ABLE TO CAPTURE, LIKE HOW HE WAS TO YOU AS A FATHER. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE THE WORLD TO KNOW BEYOND HOW THE PUBLIC SAW HIM, IN A WAY ONLY YOU CAN DESCRIBE. He was absolutely amazing. Fun, loving, I spent a lot of time with my dad, lived with my dad, even hanging out in his office. I was literally his little mini-me, even with being a girl he had me everywhere with him and I can just remember him being very playful and smiling a lot. He did pass when I was four so there’s not too much that I can recall other than him just being a good dad. I don’t think at the time I understood that he was Eazy-E. I didn’t really get that, I started realizing exactly the impact that he had on music and the world itself probably around the age of nine years old.
I have a lot of father’s traits, like being an entrepreneur, being a visionary, being smart from my dad, but I don’t do the same music, etc….I still want to honour that and try to be an individual at the same time.
LET’S TALK ABOUT YOU – YOU HAD AN INTERESTING JOURNEY IN THE MEDIA LANDSCAPE. HOW DO YOU BALANCE HONOURING YOUR FATHER’S LEGACY WHILE ESTABLISHING YOURSELF AS AN INDIVIDUAL? IS THAT DIFFICULT FOR YOU? You know what, it kind of is. People think that I kind of have it easy with being Eazy-E’s daughter and it really isn’t. It’s probably a little harder for me because I do have such an iconic father, but I don’t have him here with me to be able to go and really open doors for me or make phone calls and ask for favours, or anything that other kids of famous people might be getting. I don’t have that. Also the things I’m doing in life, I am so much different from my father in the sense of my music and that I’m a girl. I’m not a rapper, I’m not actually from Compton, we grew up completely different. A lot of people expect me in everything that I’m doing, to try to be like my father and I have to really explain, I’m not my dad. I am my father’s daughter, but I do have my own interests and my own style and my own way of doing things. I have a lot of father’s traits, like being an entrepreneur, being a visionary, being smart from my dad, but I don’t do the same music, etc. It’s not easy not having him here. But I don’t ever want to steer away from being Eazy-E’s daughter – that is absolutely amazing. I still want to honour that and try to be an individual at the same time.
PEOPLE MAY HAVE GOTTEN THE IMPRESSION THAT YOU’RE SPOILED OR BOSSY BASED ON YOUR PAST MOMENTS ON MTV, IS THAT THE REAL YOU? I’d like to talk about that one because first of all, I was 15 years old, I was throwing a $100,000 party and I got a lot of negative stuff from that, but a lot of positive stuff as well. MTV has a lot of fans everywhere and even fans of my father in other countries got to see his child. A lot of them didn’t even know that he had a daughter or child at all, so that part of it was amazing. As far as being the spoiled brat, I like to remind people that it was the premise of the show; it is a TV show. So a lot of that was played up. I remember when they came to film it, I did a test shoot and they actually told me I was too nice. So they told me I wasn’t going to be able to finish the “Sweet 16” because that’s not what the show was about. So I’ve been acting since I was little, I’ve been in drama classes my entire life, went to UCLA for acting, I’ve been in all that, so I said, you know what, let’s do this. I had a good time with it, I know there was a lot of negative stuff from it with people saying, ‘oh my God, Eazy-E’s daughter is a spoiled little bitch,’ but I’m really not.
Back then we didn’t have social media and everybody didn’t have a voice, they had to be the voice. They had to use their gift to be able to stand up for what was right. The movie shows a lot of the police brutality, a lot of racism, things that are still happening to this day.
WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR MUSIC, WHERE DO YOU GET THE INSPIRATION? Everything, I’ve been doing music my entire life. I started writing poetry when I was younger and I actually got my musical talents from my mother’s side. A lot of people think because I’m Eazy-E’s daughter that it came from my dad, but when people see this movie they’ll actually see that he didn’t even start off as an artist, he started off as a business man, investing in Ruthless Records and N.W.A., taking that risk because he believed in it. He wasn’t an artist; he was convinced to be an artist. On my mother’s side, most of my family is all musical. My great-grandfather sang backup with Sammy Davis Jr., played drums, everybody sings. I got that from my mom’s side. I’ve more so been influenced by my mother.
LOOKING BACK AT N.W.A., AS A PERSON FROM THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN, WHAT IS IT ABOUT WHAT THEY DID THAT MAKES YOU THE PROUDEST? The proudest for me would be standing up for what they believed in, being a voice for the people. I like to say that they’re equivalent to what social media is today. Back then we didn’t have social media and everybody didn’t have a voice, they had to be the voice. They had to use their gift to be able to stand up for what was right. The movie shows a lot of the police brutality, a lot of racism, things that are still happening to this day. You’ll see what they went through and what they fought for and I definitely believe that my father and N.W.A. paved the way for a lot of artists today – opened many doors. People don’t have to worry about explicit lyrics in their music or have to ask if they can do that or be afraid to speak on anything that might be taboo to others to really express their freedom of speech.